The hypotheses proposed about the original arrangement, and therefore about the original function of the Salerno ivories, have been recently summarized, and further discussed with new insights. However, nothing is known of where and how the ivories were produced and assembled before the modern era, as there is no hint as to when and for what reason the original object they constituted was disassembled. This essay attempts to reassess the evidence and present new interpretations regarding the original function of the Salerno ivories, their iconographic program, and the cultural milieu in which the plaques were carved. Their subjects appear connected with the patristic tradition, with arguments of the Church Reform, with cogent theological debates, and with recent political events. A multifaceted iconographic program such as this implies a solid command not only of the Scriptures and Christian exegesis, but also participation in important intellectual debates. At the same time, it reflects a profound intellectual and political self-awareness on the part of the patrons and appears intended to affirm the secular role of ecclesiastical officers. Political stability was achieved in Salerno only in the twelfth century, when the Norman rule was firmly established and archbishops enjoyed exceptionally long appointments. Therefore, I would like to suggest that the Salerno ivories are the artistic output of a cultural environment that matured around the mid-twelfth century, when the city emerged as a major center of political and intellectual activity.

The Hidden Sides of the Salerno Ivories. Hypotheses about the original Object, Program, and Cultural Milieu

DELL'ACQUA, Francesca
2016

Abstract

The hypotheses proposed about the original arrangement, and therefore about the original function of the Salerno ivories, have been recently summarized, and further discussed with new insights. However, nothing is known of where and how the ivories were produced and assembled before the modern era, as there is no hint as to when and for what reason the original object they constituted was disassembled. This essay attempts to reassess the evidence and present new interpretations regarding the original function of the Salerno ivories, their iconographic program, and the cultural milieu in which the plaques were carved. Their subjects appear connected with the patristic tradition, with arguments of the Church Reform, with cogent theological debates, and with recent political events. A multifaceted iconographic program such as this implies a solid command not only of the Scriptures and Christian exegesis, but also participation in important intellectual debates. At the same time, it reflects a profound intellectual and political self-awareness on the part of the patrons and appears intended to affirm the secular role of ecclesiastical officers. Political stability was achieved in Salerno only in the twelfth century, when the Norman rule was firmly established and archbishops enjoyed exceptionally long appointments. Therefore, I would like to suggest that the Salerno ivories are the artistic output of a cultural environment that matured around the mid-twelfth century, when the city emerged as a major center of political and intellectual activity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4651909
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