The eastern origin of the Utrecht Psalter illustrations
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It is largely agreed that the illustrations of the Utrecht Psalter, dated c. 830 A.D., are copies of a revised version, dated between the sixth and the eighth centuries, of a probable fourth or fifth century archetype. Based on the lively and vigorous illustrations with which the Utrecht Psalter abounds, it is the author's goal to present a sufficient amount of information concerning the illustrations of the Utrecht Psalter to justify a new theory as to their stylistic origin and a more specific geographical locale as their ultimate provenance. By an investigation based on historical facts and art historical comparisons the Utrecht Psalter is related to the artistic orbit of the so-called "Alexandrian" school of art. The three most characteristic elements of the "Alexandrian" style, the treatment of emotion, illusion- ism, and landscape, constitute the basis of the analytical approach by which the manuscript is examined. The same three elements form individual chapters, each of which studies the relations that existed between art works characterized as "Alexandrian" in style and the Utrecht Psalter illustrations. The last chapter deals with a number of art works, all from the city of Thessaloniki, that reveal close affinities with the Utrecht Psalter. It is the purpose of the thesis to utilize those affinities, historical as well as stylistic, and theorize on a new artistic center for the creation of the origin of the Utrecht Psalter archetype.