Vidal Mayor - The illustration of a legal manuscript


Funded by the Austrian Academy of Science, DOC fellowship,
Duration: October 2017 - September 2020

Scholarship holder: Mag. iur. Kristina Koglaer, BA MA
Supervision: O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Viktor Schwarz

Already in the 13th century law in book form was a widespread, European phenomenon. Around 1300 the Vidal Mayor (Ms. Ludwig XIV 6, J. Paul Getty Museum) was written and illuminated. In my dissertation project (working title: Vidal Mayor - The illumination of a legal manuscript in comparison to the images of the Corpus iuris civilis) I focus on the illustration of this Aragonese legal manuscript.

Central questions concern the purpose of the manuscript, the identity of the commissioner and the functions of the individual illumination levels (miniatures, images in the margins). For a better understanding I will also compare the Vidal Mayor with manuscripts containing the Corpus iuris civilis by focusing on (similar) representations of comparable legal content. To answer all these questions, a partly interdisciplinary approach will be used, which is composed of art and legal history. However, art historical considerations are always the focus of the dissertation project.

The methodological approach is based on the investigation of the relationship of the text and the images, iconographic analyses, the investigation of the layout as well as the structure of the book illumination. In addition to the comparison of the manuscripts as a whole, individual pictorial elements are also compared. They include people, gestures, objects and architectural elements.