Zchomelidse: The Medieval Image and Concepts of Authenticity
This book-project examines the notion of the authentic and the processes of authentication in medieval art. It aims to shed light on the construction, reception, and theoretical grounding of authenticity in connection with three different categories of artistic media, head-reliquaries, icons, and imprints on cloth or seals. I advance the thesis that the specific conceptuality of medieval art was tightly connected with a negation of the mimetic principle, the main category for creating an “authentic” image in antiquity and in the early modern period. This shift led to the development of different strategies for representation, such as stylization and abstraction. Rather than studying different modes of representation, this study is dedicated to the very validity of representation in the Middle Ages. My focus on rituals of authentication and their magical implications investigates the visual and performative strategies of constructing truth and its reception.