The Uta Codex: Art, Philosophy, and Reform in Eleventh-Century Germany

The Uta Codex: Art, Philosophy, and Reform in Eleventh-Century Germany

by Adam S. Cohen
     
 

Created at the behest of the abbess Uta, it is not only one of the most beautiful of Ottonian manuscripts but also one of the most complex. The collection of liturgical readings is preceded by four full-page frontispieces illustrating the Hand of God, Uta dedicating the codex to the Virgin and Child, a Crucifixion, and Saint Erhard (the convent’s patron saint

Overview

Created at the behest of the abbess Uta, it is not only one of the most beautiful of Ottonian manuscripts but also one of the most complex. The collection of liturgical readings is preceded by four full-page frontispieces illustrating the Hand of God, Uta dedicating the codex to the Virgin and Child, a Crucifixion, and Saint Erhard (the convent’s patron saint) celebrating Mass. Four evangelist portraits accompany the readings from each Gospel. In this groundbreaking study, Adam Cohen provides comprehensive explications of the codex’s renowned illuminations as well as the first thorough investigation of its historical context.

Cohen shows that the lavish miniatures, among the most elaborate pictures of the Middle Ages, use figures, ornaments, Latin tituli, and geometric schemata to fashion visual exegeses of great range and complexity. Through consideration of questions of function, patronage, and program, Cohen also demonstrates that the codex commemorates the abbess Uta’s efforts to reform conventual life and education. The Uta Codex will be of interest to scholars of medieval art as well as those exploring questions of women, monastic culture, and intellectual life in the Middle Ages.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Cohen’s study proves to be exemplary in many ways. Not only does he provide convincing detailed analysis of texts and images, but he can also unearth important links to the cultural context and illuminate the purpose and function of this important codex. The publishing house is to be lauded for the excellent plates and figures which leave a clear impression of the outstanding accomplishment of all the artists involved in the production of this work.”
—Dr. Albrecht Classen, Mediaevistik

“This is an enjoyable and important book which never fails to be both serious and sympathetic. Nobody who studies Regensburg and its manuscripts, or Ottonian Art more generally, in the future will be able to bypass it.”
—Henry Mayr-Harting, Catholic Historical Review

“A tour de force, Cohen’s work should not be overlooked by anyone interested in art history or women in the monastic culture and intellectual life of the eleventh century.”
—John W. Bernhardt, Early Medieval Europe

“Those quibbles aside, Adam Cohen has written an impressive and important book that will significantly affect our understanding of Regensburg illumination specifically and Ottonian art in general. It represents a vital contribution to the study of liturgical manuscript illustration in the Middle Ages and is all the more valuable by virtue of its appearance in English.”
—Karen Blough, Medieval Academy

Booknews
US scholar Cohen presents a thorough study of the sumptuous Gospel lectionary made for the Niederm<:u>nster convent in Regensburg, Bavaria, and named after the abbess, Uta, who commissioned it. Explicating the codex's renowned illuminations and exploring its historical context, he shows that the elaborate miniatures use figures, ornaments, Latin titiuli, and geometric schemata to fashion visual exegeses of great range and complexity. He also argues that it commemorated the abbess' efforts to reform convent life. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780271019598
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Publication date:
07/28/2000
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.81(d)

What People are saying about this

Lawrence Nees
The Uta Codex is a serious scholarly work of high merit, a welcome addition to the study of Ottonian art. This profoundly researched study is well written and well illustrated, making it a stimulating and learned work from which I gained many insights.
—(Lawrence Nees, University of Delaware)

Meet the Author

Adam Cohen has taught at the University of Texas–Austin and the University of California–Berkeley, and has worked in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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