Paris Gregory
Get Paris Gregory essential facts below. View Videos or join the Paris Gregory discussion. Add Paris Gregory to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Paris Gregory
Illustration of the First Council of Constantinople.

The Paris Gregory (BnF Grec 510) is an illuminated manuscript of the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus commissioned in Constantinople by Patriarch Photios I as a commemoration to the emperor Basil I between 879 and 883.[1] The illustrations from the manuscript are held today in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris as part of their collection of Greek manuscripts.

Origin

The Homilies of Gregory was commissioned as a gift for emperor Basil I by the Patriarch of Constantinople Photios I, to both celebrate the triumph of Orthodoxy and to praise the reign of Basil I.[2] The focus on St. Gregory, a fourth century archbishop of Constantinople, is a very deliberate decision made by Photios, who, being a highly educated man was well aware of the connotation of wisdom and devout faith that would be drawn by having a commemorative piece made focusing on the famous homilies delivered by St. Gregory in Nazianzus.[3] Some have speculated as to the reason for devoting a manuscript to an emperor who was most likely illiterate, but the formality of the gesture, and intricate design of the work lend to the idea that this was done as a celebratory gift, and not something Basil I would have actually have been expected to read.[4] Although the high quality of this manuscript does also suggest that it was in fact meant to be enjoyed by patriarchal circles who could read it, and not just the emperor.

Overview

The Homilies are considered by many art historians to be one of the most well preserved and carefully designed Byzantine manuscripts to survive the period immediately following Iconoclasm.[5] Created as a celebration of the triumph of Orthodoxy over Iconoclasm, this manuscript's elaborate design and level of sophistication strongly suggests that it was designed and created in Constantinople by professional artists. Though the text itself is actually a series of homilies delivered by Gregory from the fourth century, many of the illustrations bordering the text have nothing to do directly with sermons themselves, and actually serve as contextual backdrop orchestrated by Photios, to draw parallels between the fall of Iconoclasm and the enduring faith of Greek Orthodoxy. For instance, the council of 381 is illustrated several times throughout the condemnation of the Arian heretics, despite the fact that St. Gregory was never present at that particular meeting.[6] Important segments of text meant to be read carefully are punctuated with large golden symbols, and the paintings throughout are done using colorful tempera. There are also images depicting the raising of Lazarus, the burning bush, Moses and even Gregory with his father in Nanzianzus. These paintings are all done in the quintessential mid-Byzantine style with elongated and stylized proportions on the figures, and heavy symbolism used throughout. This obscure style lends to the idea that Photios was communicating on a level of subtext rather than just completely derivative interpretation.

Background

Though the focus of the manuscript is on the homilies delivered by St. Gregory, the political message being delivered is much more open to interpretation. The parallel between the Arian and Macedonian heresy being carried out in the fourth century, and the tensions rising between the Latin and Orthodox interpretations of the Holy Spirit at the time the manuscript was created is apparent from the offset. Photios was virulently opposed to the Latin interpretation of divinity and was trying to cement the tried and tested wisdom of the eastern Orthodoxy by using the sermons of Gregory, a fellow patriarch who stood defiantly against the rule of Julian, a non-Christian emperor of the fourth century. St. Gregory, who was often depicted with a spade shaped beard and grey hair, was to be a remarkably wise and patient man by his predecessors.[7][8] Using him as the source material to celebrate Basil I was a way of drawing a correlation between conventional wisdom, and a new emperor who was considered by many to be a true successor to Justinian.

References

  1. ^ Brubaker, Leslie Politics, Patronage, and Art in Ninth Century Byzantium: The "Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus in Paris Dumbarton Oaks Papers vol 39 1985 p 1-13 (B.N. gr 510)
  2. ^ Cormack, Robin Byzantine Art Oxford University Press 2000 p 125-127
  3. ^ Brubaker, Leslie Vision and Meaning in Ninth-Century Byzantium Cambridge University Press 1999 p 106-107
  4. ^ Brubaker, Leslie Politics, Patronage, and Art in Ninth Century Byzantium: The "Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus in Paris Dumbarton Oaks Papers vol 39 1985 p 1-13 (B.N. gr 510)
  5. ^ Brubaker, Leslie Politics, Patronage, and Art in Ninth Century Byzantium: The "Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus in Paris Dumbarton Oaks Papers vol 39 1985 p 1-13 (B.N. gr 510)
  6. ^ Brubaker, Leslie Politics, Patronage, and Art in Ninth Century Byzantium: The "Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus in Paris Dumbarton Oaks Papers vol 39 1985 p 1-13 (B.N. gr 510)
  7. ^ Maguire, Henry The Icons of Their Bodies Princeton University Press. Princeton New Jersey copyright 1996 p 34-36
  8. ^ Mango, Cyril The Art of the Byzantine Empire Medieval Academy of America 1986 p 214

Further reading

  • Brubaker, Leslie (1991). "Paris Gregory". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  • Paris Gregory. Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, 2003.

External Links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Paris_Gregory
 



 



 
Music Scenes