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Aesthetics of Sibylline Prophecies – Studies on the Materiality and Mediality of Prophetic Knowledge in the Visual Arts

Subproject by Mira Becker-Sawatzky

The art-historical project analyses modes of depicting sibyls during medieval and early modern times in Europe, taking into account the variety and diversity of media and materials configuring sibyls and their portrayals – in fresco painting, illuminated manuscripts, engravings or goldsmithing, on canvas, stained glass windows or choir stalls.
It examines the ways, in which the momentum of sibylline prophecies is made tangible and perceptible and in which the characteristics of the artworks’ respective media and materiality configure the sibyls’ knowledge and its transfer. Furthermore, an investigation of the prevailing discursive framings coining the different images is decisive for the comparative case studies.
With a transcultural and diachronic perspective the project sets out to explore ars and scientia of premodern sibyls in their aesthetic multidimensionality, to grasp the interwoven stories of their depictions and to discuss the ‘oikonomies of knowledge’ contextualizing these images.