Saints in Medieval Christian Art

The powers of saints were believed to extend to their images. By Dr. Wendy A. SteinResearch AssociateDepartment of Medieval Art and The CloistersMetropolitan Museum of Art Since early Christian times, hundreds of men and women have been revered in the Church and identified as saints. Their lives were held up as models of exemplary behavior,[…]

Hieronymous: Saint Jerome and the Lion

The Golden Legend often blends traditional stories about the saints with historical facts, as seen in the account of St. Jerome’s life. Everyone loves a picture of a medieval lion. The Twitter hashtag #notalion celebrates how amusingly unrealistic they often look, frequently resembling cuddly housecats more than the king of beasts. In medieval manuscripts, lions[…]

Pilgrimage by Proxy: A Medieval Guidebook for Pilgrims to the Holy Land

The text is a detailed account of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Mount Sinai, originally written by the Franciscan friar Niccolò da Poggibonsi. A recent addition to our digitised collections [at the British Library] is a unique 15th-century guidebook for pilgrims to the Holy Land. Almost like a late medieval Lonely Planet guide for a[…]

Magical Uses of Imagery in Ancient and Medieval Byzantine Art

These images were sometimes augmented with texts that were used for protective or healing purposes. Introduction Christianity was central to the outlook and personal identity of the average Byzantine; nonetheless, there is abundant physical evidence that some types of popular religious or “magical” practices were widespread from late antiquity to the end of the empire.[…]