Paroma Chatterjee

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

20082009 Forum on Change

Paroma Chatterjee

Art History

Ph.D., University of Chicago

Shifting Images: A Novel Byzantine Aesthetic

I explore the significance of visual change in the formation of a novel aesthetic for images in twelfth-century Byzantium. Accounts of miracles, rituals, and the trials of icons reveal that ‘change’ in this period was a much debated, often vaguely defined, but unanimously accepted component of the most charismatic images in Byzantium. Sometimes, visual change was manifested as physical movement on the part of the icon’ at other time, change was experiences as a purely subjective phenomenon on the part of the viewer, leading to much controversy over the definition of a ‘true’ religious image. This project requires the study of Byzantine images and documents, as well as an understanding of theories of motion, stillness, word and image, concealment and revelation, and narrative. The ultimate goal is to explore the ways in which Byzantine icons – were regarded as shifting, moving entities in Byzantine image theory and viewing practices.