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Viewing Heaven: Rock Crystal, Reliquaries, And Transparency In Fourteenth-Century Aachen, Claire Kilgore May 2017

Viewing Heaven: Rock Crystal, Reliquaries, And Transparency In Fourteenth-Century Aachen, Claire Kilgore

Theses, Dissertations, and Student Creative Activity, School of Art, Art History and Design

This thesis examines reliquaries and objects associated with medieval Christian practice in fourteenth-century Aachen. The city's cathedral and treasury contain prestigious relics, reliquaries, and liturgical items, aided by its status as the Holy Roman Empire's coronation church. During the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (r. 1349-1378), reliquaries, pilgrimage, and architecture reflect late medieval interests in vision, optics, and transparency. Two mid-fourteenth century reliquaries from the Aachen Cathedral Treasury, the Reliquary of Charlemagne and the Three-Steepled Reliquary, display relics through rock crystal windows, in contrast to the obscuring characteristics of earlier reliquaries. Not only do the two ...