John Mitchell

Lombard Legacy: Cultural Strategies and The Visual Arts in Early Medieval Italy

Cloth bound

24 x 17 cm
644 pp. 294 illus.
Publication: October 2018
ISBN 978 1 904597 34 6



Book Description

Using the great south-Italian monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno, one of the best preserved monasteries of the earliest Middle Ages, as a case-study and heuristic paradigm, John Mitchell has engaged in a wide-ranging examination of the ways in which visual culture was developed and deployed by ambitious states and institutions in early medieval Europe.

The present volume includes studies on the cultural dynamics of Italy and its contribution to the visual complexion of Europe in the period, as well as essays on many aspects of the artistic culture of San Vincenzo, including a series of papers on the display of script in the physical fabric of the monastery and the prominent role it played in its self-image.


  • Introduction
  • Cultural Agenda and Artistic Paradigms: L’arte nell’Italia longobarda e nell’Europa carolingia
  • Artistic patronage and cultural strategies in Lombard Italy
  • The uses of spolia in Longobard Italy
  • The Lombard origins of Carolingian art and the westwerk at Corvey
  • Müstair and Italy: the Wall-Paintings in the Monastery-Church of St. Johann in their European Context
  • The Arts at San Vincenzo al Volturno: San Vincenzo al Volturno
  • The display of script and the uses of painting in Longobard Italy
  • San Vincenzo al Volturno: The archaeology of the arts and magic at an early medieval monastery
  • The crypt reappraised
  • The crypt and its painted decoration
  • Spatial hierarchy and the uses of ornament in an early medieval monastery
  • A word on ornament and its uses
  • Portaits, the cult of relics and the affirmation of hierarchy at an early medieval monastery: San Vincenzo al Volturno
  • Cult, relics and privileged burial at San Vincenzo al Volturno in the age of Charlemagne: The discovery of the tomb of Abbot Talaricus (817-3 October 823)
  • The early medieval monastery as a site of commemoration and place of oblivion
  • Monastic guest-quarters and workshops in the early Middle Ages: the example of San Vincenzo al Volturno
  • A carved ivory head from San Vincenzo al Volturno; An early medieval enamel
  • A set of sword-belt mounts or iron inlaid with silver and associated bridle furniture
  • Script about the cross: The tombstones of San Vincenzo al Volturno
  • Blackened Epitaphs: The Sack of San Vincenzo, 10th October 881
  • The San Vincenzo Community in Capua
  • Index

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