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In the beginning: Theories and images of creation in Northern Europe in the twelfth century

Abstract

The twelfth century witnessed a phenomenal explosion of interest in creation theory, an interest that was accompanied by an equally phenomenal increase in creation imagery of almost 900 per cent over the previous century. Often taken at face value by scholars as straightforward creation scenes or as the unique iconographical expressions of various patristic or contemporary writers on creation without reference to the larger, on-going dialectical struggles of which these writings and the artworks were a part, these images should instead be seen as active factors in the process of forming elite opinion as a prelude to conditioning public opinion on a broader, lower level. © Association of Art Historians 1999.

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