This lecture considers depictions of the Virgin Mary enthroned, with the Christ Child on her lap and accompanied by angels or saints, in Byzantine and medieval Roman art. In such images both Mother and Son are shown in hieratic frontal poses. Since the icon is said to derive from early representations of the Adoration of the Magi, a few examples are first examined that are linked to that iconography. This is followed by a consideration of images of the Virgin and Child enthroned with attendant angels, which survive in Byzantine art from the sixth to the twelfth century. Although these icons are similar in composition, they often differ in important details, which enable a clearer interpretation of their meaning and historical significance. The last part of the paper discusses depictions of this theme in medieval Rome. While there are some images which are very like those in the Byzantine world, there are also some with significant variations. In particular, the Virgin Mary is often represented in the gold or purple robes of a princess or queen, with elaborate and regal jewellery. These Roman images of 'Maria Regina' are considered in their historical, liturgical and doctrinal contexts. They culminate in the vision of the Coronation of the Virgin in the late thirteenth-century apse mosaic of S. Maria Maggiore.
20 p. (p. 5-24)
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