Classical inspiration in medieval art by Walter Oakeshott

By Walter Oakeshott

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The Lindisfarne artist, however, was copying a picture that was comparatively new, a picture which, if not the Ezra itself, was something close to it, in — THE NORTHUMBRIAN RENAISSANCE which the type as shown Yet when that Is in the Rossano Gospels. said, is a number of questions remain unanswered. the Ezra picture {47a) an Italian original or a of such decisive Northumbrian copy Both views have been held. What seems almost 2in original? is 35 had been considerably altered from the furniture in particular and another picture the contrast between the Ezra in same book, which represents an enthroned Christ, supported by two archangels, in a glory made up of concentric patterns.

The interlaced patterns to be found in Northumbrian manuscripts {46b), Anglian Crosses and later Irish art are very varied, and different types have different parentage. The animal interlaces come, through Anglo-Saxon work, from north-eastern Europe and ultimately from Scythia. The ribbon interlace and knot, on the other hand, are part of the inheritance of late Roman decoration and they are found in the eastern Mediterranean regions as on a Coptic textile now in the in North Italy of the Lombardic Victoria and Albert Museum {44a) period, and on many late Roman mosaic pavements.

Whereas in the little narrative drawings of the St. Augustine Gospels (yb) we were inclined to see not much more than a strip cartoon, these panels, Jacob tearing his hair when the coat is brought to him, or welcomed at last in Egypt by who down moving. The work has its limitations. The artist differentiates Israelites from Egyptians or Midianites in dress or in facial type. But between Israelite and Israelite there are differences only of pose. These same qualities, and these limitations, are characteristic of an ivory fiyxiSj in Berlin, Joseph, stoops to kiss his head, are profoundly CLASSICAL INSPIRATION IN MEDIEVAL ART 30 here illustrated from a cast number of {42c).

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