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Anna Konya // Eucharistic imagery in the Late Gothic wall paintings of Transylvania (c. 1440-1530)

In the study of medieval church interiors it is an intriguing question how the choice of iconographic themes is adapted to the function of the liturgical space where they appear. From a liturgical point of view, the most important space of the church was the sanctuary, where the Eucharistic ritual took place. In my thesis, I examine the relationship between the iconography of the wall paintings decorating the sanctuaries and the Eucharistic ritual and devotion, through the example of the Late Gothic wall paintings in Transylvania.

I aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of this so far little-studied material, focusing on the following issues:

– The production of the wall paintings: studying artistic interaction, stylistic influences and connections; searching for sources and models of the compositions (especially prints), examining how the models are adapted to the genre of wall painting.

– Analysing the Eucharistic imagery in the sanctuaries: studying the selection of themes, their way of representation, meanings and associations; the correlation between their iconography and placement in the liturgical space; studying patterns of decoration, and complete iconographic programs. Studying wall paintings imitating architectural elements and winged altarpieces; examining the role of the trompe-l'œil technique as a possible strategy to suggest the concept of Real Presence.

– Historical context: examining how the choices in wall painting decoration can be explained and interpreted in the context of what the written sources reveal about the Eucharistic cult and devotion and the patronage of the wall paintings.

I would also like to reconsider the generally held notion that this period would have been one of decline for the genre of wall painting, and outline the Central European connections of the Transylvanian material in a comparative perspective.