Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Bibles en images: Visual Narrative and Translation in New York Public Library Spencer ms. 22 and Related Manuscripts

Finch, Julia A. (2012) Bibles en images: Visual Narrative and Translation in New York Public Library Spencer ms. 22 and Related Manuscripts. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (3MB) | Preview


This dissertation examines New York Public Library Spencer ms. 22, a fourteenth-century French Bible en images (narrative picture Bible), and its relationship with the picture Bible of King Sancho VII of Navarre (Amiens, Bibliothèque municipale ms. 108), completed in the year 1197. Previous scholarship on these manuscripts has described Spencer 22 as a copy of Sancho’s Bible, based on the close similarity of visual narrative content and iconography found in Spencer 22 and its predecessor. The range of aesthetic and linguistic differences between the manuscripts, however, signifies a process more akin to translation, a term that better expresses the relationship between Sancho’s Bible and Spencer 22, as well as the specific needs of its patron, Jeanne II of Navarre.
I consider the production of Spencer 22 in three contexts. The first is the patronage of Jeanne II of Navarre prior to and shortly after her coronation as Queen of Navarre in 1329. In preserving the visual narrative content of a known royal manuscript, Spencer 22 is a visual referent to Sancho’s Bible that aligns Jeanne II’s political interests with her Navarrese ancestor to solidify her legitimate claim to the throne. The second context is the translation of the visual narrative between Sancho’s Bible and Spencer 22, with a focus on Spencer 22’s materiality. The stylistic translation of Spencer 22’s images into a format more familiar to a fourteenth-century audience, along with the addition of written text in French, is more than a superficial change, it is a sophisticated re-presentation of the visual narrative of Sancho’s Bible for audiences familiar with the interaction of text and image on the manuscript page in both religious and secular works. Finally, and more broadly, the third context is the reception of biblical visual narrative in fourteenth-century France. As a case study, these manuscripts and the terms visual translation and translatio imaginis (translation of images) can help us to better understand the transfer of text-to-image and image-to-image narrative content and the variations on literacy in fourteenth-century France that supported these conventions for medieval readers.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Finch, Julia
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairStones, M.
Committee MemberBlumenfeld-Kosinski, Renaterenate@pitt.eduRENATE
Committee MemberHarris, Ann Sutherlandash@pitt.eduASH
Committee MemberRobertson,
Committee MemberWeis, H. Anneweis@pitt.eduWEIS
Date: 31 January 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 October 2011
Approval Date: 31 January 2012
Submission Date: 8 December 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 282
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: medieval literacy, visual literacy, medieval France
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2012 20:52
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:55


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item