Beinecke Fellow Glenn Peers presents “The Mandylion’s Marital and Martial Message Machines.”
Byzantine precursor to the Veronica, the Mandylion was a self-portrait believed to be made by Jesus and sent to Abgar, king of Edessa (now Urfa in southeastern Turkey), with the apostle Thaddaeus. By the tenth century, the focus of this talk, the Mandylion was a message of the media dominance of representation under the new Christian dispensation. Wedding veil, battle mask, weapon of mass destruction, and king maker, it was these things and more as the material, figural media of earthly power and of union with the divine.
Glenn Peers is professor in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University and emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a fellow at the Hebrew University Institute for Advanced Study in Jerusalem, a Whitehead Professor at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His publications include Orthodox Magic in Trebizond and Beyond: A Fourteenth-Century Greco-Arabic Amulet Roll and Byzantine Things in the World, which accompanied an exhibition he guest-curated at the Menil Collection, Houston. At the Clark, he will be working on a study of the post-human and media theory in Byzantine culture.
This prerecorded lecture is publicly available February 26 through June 15.
Image: Mandylion (copy) with fourteenth-century cladding (with later additions), Church of San Bartolemeo degli Armeni, Genoa, Italy