The first session was about “images of the word” - an exploration of images in ancient bibles and sacred books. We were presented with beautiful images from various old bibles and Books of Hours from different European countries.
There were striking images such as the ones from a 12th century Bible moralisée (moralised bible) showing on the same page an image of the creation of Eve (being pulled out of the ribcage of Adam) and just below a representation of the Crucifixion with Christ hanging on the cross and a female figure (presumably Mary) being pulled out of his chest.
Petra explained how typology influenced art in sacred books, Christ being the new Adam and Mary the new Eve and the creation story being echoed in the Crucifixion story. We also noticed that the donors who commissioned the production of these books probably appeared themselves in the book, alongside biblical characters, but in more modern outfits. Petra talked about “being in the book” as spiritual involvement.
The audience especially enjoyed the last image that was shown: a page from the Almogavar Hours (Spanish early 16th century) showing a desolate landscape and three empty crosses. The eye was drawn to the cross in the middle where a lonely crown of thorns was hanging, a powerful image inviting the observer to meditation and spiritual reflection. (NH)