Writing on Medieval Doors: The Surveyor Angel on the Moissac Capital (ca. 1100)

Abstract : Monumental texts have often been placed at the entrance to medieval buildings. Façades and doors are adorned with epigraphic inscriptions that underscore the importance of passageways and architectural joints through graphical representations. In this way, the physical act of passing through doorways is accompanied by the material experience of writing. In western Middle Ages, most inscriptions on religious buildings dealt with symbolic aspects of the architectonic elements they were painted or carved on. According to John 10.9 (Ego sum ostium. Per me, si quis introerit, salvabitur, et ingredietur et egredietur et pascua inveniet) they refer to Christ, the door to salvation,1 but more generally to the sacredness of the Church or " door of Heaven " (porta coeli), as can be seen on each side of the western portal of the Saint-Pierre-de-l'Isle church (Saintonge, France, 11 th century): Haec est domus Dei et porta coeli (fig. 1 a–b).2 They reinforce the separate, distinguished features of ecclesial spaces and act as a portal between both indoor and outdoor and the sacred and profane loci.3 In this way, writing functions as both border and walkway between one space and another. Text gives this door the appearance of being a contact point and a bridge, inviting the reader to cross the threshold while connecting the spaces through writing.
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Irene Berti; Katharina Bolle; Fanny Opdenhoff; Fabian Stroth. Writing Matters Presenting and Perceiving Monumental Inscriptions in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, De Gruyter, pp.285-308, 2017, 〈10.1515/ 9783110534597-0012〉. 〈https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/484185〉
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Vincent Debiais. Writing on Medieval Doors: The Surveyor Angel on the Moissac Capital (ca. 1100). Irene Berti; Katharina Bolle; Fanny Opdenhoff; Fabian Stroth. Writing Matters Presenting and Perceiving Monumental Inscriptions in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, De Gruyter, pp.285-308, 2017, 〈10.1515/ 9783110534597-0012〉. 〈https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/484185〉. 〈halshs-01579658〉

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