Illuminated Manuscript Production in Medieval Iceland: Literary and Artistic Activities of the Monastery at Helgafell in the Fourteenth Century
In this lecture, a number of key aspects of the recently published book Illuminated Manuscript Production in Medieval Iceland(Brepols, 2021) will be presented. By conducting interdisciplinary research that combines methodologies and sources from the fields of Art History, Old Norse-Icelandic manuscript studies, codicology, and Scandinavian history, this book examines the international societal and artistic contexts of book production at the western Icelandic Augustinian monastery at Helgafell (c. 1340–1400) and beyond.
Equally, the book explores the broader European contexts of manuscript production in medieval Iceland, comparing the similar domestic artistic monuments and relevant historical evidence of Norwich and surrounding East Anglia in England, northern France, and the region between Bergen and Trondheim in western Norway. In this talk, it will be discussed how these workshops are related to ecclesiastical networks, as well as secular trade in the North Sea, which became an important economic factor to western Icelandic society in the fourteenth century.
Stefan Drechsler is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Bergen in Norway. He is an Old Norse philologist and art historian with a new philological background in medieval Icelandic and Norwegian illuminated manuscript cultures. He works on textual and codicological compilation strategies in Scandinavian manuscripts, iconography in medieval European book painting (with a particular focus on Iceland and Norway), and on social network analysis data related to vernacular legal texts in western Scandinavia. Furthermore, he works on personal networks related to the making and use of legal manuscripts produced throughout the Scandinavian Middle Ages. Stefan has published a monography, as well as various articles and book chapters on said topics.