Workshop: Shades of Purple – Purple Ornament in Medieval Manuscripts, Zurich 25.11. – 26.11.2021

Recent advances in the technical analysis of purple colorants have spurred new interest in the aesthetics of purple ornament in medieval manuscripts. This most prestigious embellishment associated with imperial splendor underwent stunning transformations between the 8th and the 11th century. Purple dyes (mostly produced from lichens) were not only used to color the entire parchment surfaces of sacred books, but purple colorants were also used selectively to highlight specific texts, pages and miniatures corresponding to the content, topology, imagery, and script of individual manuscripts. Various techniques and methods were employed to create multi-sensory purple textures, combining shades of purple from red to dark blue and evoking different purple-colored materials such as silks and porphyry. This two-day workshop at the Chair of Medieval Art History at the University of Zurich will explore a range of questions about the materials and semantics of medieval purple manuscripts. Registration required by Nov. 22, 2021. Continue to the program.