Institut für Kunstgeschichte



Romanesque and Gothic Representations of the Sacred Object Treasury

This dissertation investigates the iconography of the treasury in northern European art of the Romanesque and Gothic periods, with an emphasis on visual representations of relics and reliquaries. The project presents four case studies: the decoration of High Medieval relic treatises; a corpus of images linking existing treasuries with imagined collections such as the Arma Christi (weapons of Christ); the winged altarpiece as an image, a three-dimensional object, and a container for treasury objects; and fifteenth-century Heiltumsblätter (relic sheets) and Heiltumsbücher (relic books) that visually enumerate relic collections in a way that recalls the textual inventories compiled by churches and monasteries. While recent studies of Byzantine and Western medieval visual culture have stressed the ways in which images made the sacred present to viewers, this project seeks to understand how sacred matter is variously mediated through visual representation.


Julia Oswald, M.A.