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The Passional of Abbess Cunegund: protagonists, production and a question of identity

Vlček Schurr, Jennifer S. (2009) The Passional of Abbess Cunegund: protagonists, production and a question of identity. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This work aims to place the manuscript of the Passional of Abbess Cunegund, NKČR XIV. A. 17, 30 x 25 cm, parchment, Prague, 1312-1314, National Library of the Czech Republic, in its religious, social, historical and artistic context. The thesis examines the physical construction of the codex and the dating is discussed. I reflect on the role of this manuscript in its general Benedictine context and as having been commissioned by Cunegund, a patroness who was both Abbess of the Convent of St. George, in Prague, and a royal princess. As abbess she had a clear objective of expanding the scope of the convent library, and to this end she commissioned this manuscript which reflected the new religious attitudes that were sweeping across Europe. The quality of the illustrations of the Passional set this codex apart from others that have survived from the convent library, and herald the arrival of Gothic art in Bohemia. Cunegund’s personal influence is apparent in the commission, reflecting her upbringing by Poor Clares prior to her political marriage and her eventual return to the Benedictine order. The manuscript’s elaborate dedication page illustration on fol.1v stimulates a consideration within the thesis of the main personages involved in the production of the Passional: Abbess Cunegund and the convent sisters, the Dominican Colda who was the author of two sections of the manuscript and Beneš, the scribe. The final chapter of this thesis challenges the assumption that the scribe and artist of the Passional were one and the same. Presenting hitherto unobserved evidence, the case is made for two separate masters, scribe and artist, cooperating in the making of the manuscript. Finally, the suggestion is made that the artist may have been primarily a wall painter rather than a manuscript illuminator. This thesis is presented as introductory research, purposefully exploring only the categories expressed in the title, that is the “Protagonists, Production and a Question of Identity”, in their religious context, and thus providing an original perspective on the Passional of Abbess Cunegund.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Cunegund, Czech Manuscript, Prague, Benedictine, Benes, Colda
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: Gibbs, Prof. Robert
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Mrs Jennifer Susan Vlček Schurr
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-1575
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:42
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1575

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