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Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 4:30pm to 5:30pm

Olin Library, Room 107
Olin Library, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

In the rapidly changing world of the early Middle Ages, depictions of the cosmos represented a consistent point of reference across the three dominant states—the Frankish, Byzantine, and Islamic Empires. As these empires diverged from their Greco-Roman roots, cosmic imagery created a web of visual continuity, though local meanings of these images varied greatly.

Using thrones, tables, mantles, frescoes, and manuscripts, Benjamin Anderson, assistant professor in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, will show how cosmological motifs informed relationships between individuals, especially the ruling elite, and communities. His new book Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art (Yale University Press, Feb. 2017) is the first to consider such imagery across the dramatically diverse cultures of Western Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic Middle East.  Anderson will discuss the distinctions between the cosmological art of these three cultures and the importance of astronomical imagery to the study of art history.

This event is sponsored by Olin Library, part of Cornell University Library's Chats in the Stacks series.

Light refreshments served.

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Event Type

Author Appearance, Lecture, Presentation


Cornell University Library, Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences, History of Art and Visual Studies, Olin Library


cascal, art, pawprint, Religion, history, Cornell University Library, CUL, architecture, book talk, Medieval studies, Byzantine art, archaeocal, cashum


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Lynn Bertoia

Contact Phone

(607) 255-4144


Benjamin Anderson

Speaker Affiliation

History of Art and Visual Studies

Disability Access Information

Open To

Free and open to all

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