Neta Bar-Yoseph Bodner, MA
Medieval copies of the Holy Sepulchre in Italy
My research focuses on monumental translations of the Rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre to Pisa. The case studies, from the 11th to the 14th centuries, are enduring monuments to active connections between Pisa and the Holy Land at the time of the buildings conception. They reflect a local fascination with Jerusalem and a longing to possess it in some way. The dialogue brought about by these buildings, however, is not only with the Holy Land but with other Italian cities – the Pisan commune eager to express its superiority over the others by monumentally expression what they perceived as their inherent affinity with the sanctity of Jerusalem. The expression of these local desires through the adoption of far off spaces is a dichotomy that makes the translations fascinating. They are an architectural text to self-definition (of the commune at large, of individual institutions and of individuals) and local aspirations as much as they are translations of and homage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. In fact, they show that these two seemingly opposite veins of focus are hard to separate and that they complement, rather than contradict, each other.
Publications in relation to topic
"Strategies of Sacred Transfer - Competing Means for Translating Holy Sites to Tuscany", in: Between Jerusalem and Europe: Essays in Honour of Bianca Kühnel, ed. Hanna Vorholt, Renana Bartal (Expected to be published by Brill in the series ‘Visualising the Middle Ages’ in 2015).
"The Baptistery of Pisa and the Rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem – a re-consideration", in: Visual Constructs of Jerusalem, ed. Bianca Kuehnel, Galit Noga-Banai, Hanna Vorholt (expected to be published by Brepols in the series 'Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages' in 2014).
'San Sepolcro and the Baptistery: Two Medieval Copies of the Holy Sepulchre in Pisa', in: Art, Space and Mobility: Pisa and the Mediterranean Summer School Proceedings Max-Planck-Institut, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz ed. Gerhard Wolf (Pisa: ETS, 2013) forthcoming.
"Meeting Jesus (and Oneself) in Vienna: the Kalvarienberg of Hernals", in: Configuring Social Meaning: Reflection on Memory and Identity in Europe ed. Irit Dekel and Heidmarie Uhl (Jerusalem: EF, 2013) forthcoming.
The Pilgrimage Path from Stephansdom to Hernals: Walking to 'Jerusalem' from Vienna (Jerusalem: SPECTRUM, 2013) forthcoming.
‘The Kreuzweg of Vienna: Local History and Universal Salvation’ in: From the Industrial Revolution to World War II in East Central Europe, Europa Orientalis vol.12 ed. Marija Wakounig and Karlo Ruzicic-Kessler (Vienna: Universität Wien, 2011), pp. 225-239.
'Transcending Geography: the Architectural Transportation of Sanctity from the Holy Land to the Home Land', in: United in Visual Diversity. Images and Counter-Images of Europe, ed. Benjamin Drechsel and Claus Leggewie, (Innsbruck: Studium Verlag, 2010), pp. 238-249.
Lectures in relation to topic
‘Between the Temple Mount and the Holy Sepulchre: Architectural Translation of Jerusalem to Twelfth-Century Pisa’, in: CAA Annual Conference Session, Jerusalem: Medieval History and Sanctity through the Eyes of Many Faiths, New York, 13-16.2.2013
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Pisa built monuments that evoke Jerusalem and its sacred sites. The memory of the destroyed Temple, the memory of Christ’s Anastasis and the link of the Muslim Dome of the Rock to both were transported to Pisa along with the shapes of their physical memorials. The paper outlines how the three-way tension between the loca sancta in Jerusalem was translated to Pisa through architectural reproduction. It shows that by representing Jerusalem in Pisa, the commune was representing itself as Jerusalem of Solomon’s day, of Christ’s era, of Constantine’s heritage and of the Crusader conquest and victory over the infidels, and it argues that Pisa used the architectural representation of Jerusalem to promote itself not only as a religious but also as a political, a military and a cultural centre.
‘The Baptistery of Pisa and the Anastasis Rotunda: A Reconsideration’, in: Visual Constructs of Jerusalem, International Conference, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 14-20.11.2010
The Baptistery of Pisa has long been known to be one of the most accurate medieval copies of the Rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Despite the many similarities, there are, naturally, some divergences in Pisa from the plan and section of Jerusalem as it was in the twelfth century. These have been noted and seen as following the general tendency in the Middle Ages for selective copying. Yet a close reading of the Baptistery’s architecture, both in plan and in section, hints that the divergences are deliberate and occur only when they add symbolic value. They seem even more conspicuous in light of some previously unmarked similarities of architectural elements that coincide exactly with those in Jerusalem, but whose placing is deliberately changed in Pisa. The changed location of some elements is a reflection of their significance and symbolism. This paper reassesses the relationship between the Baptistery and the Holy Sepulchre, its motivation and its significance.
‘The Kreuzweg of Vienna: Local History and Universal Salvation’, in: Annual Meeting of the Centers for Austrian Studies, Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung, New Orleans, 28-20.10.2010
The parish church of Hernals became a strong centre of reformation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries until 1619 when the leaders of the parish were arrested, the treasury confiscated and the services returned to Catholic faith. In order to re-verify the church under Catholicism, a Jesuit named Karl Musart initiated the erection of a ‘Way of the Cross’ from Vienna to Hernals in 1639. Seven stations were erected with texts and images relating to the Way of the Cross and the Passion in Jerusalem, and culminating in a large copy of the tomb of Christ just outside the parish church.
What was it about the experience of the stations and the Sepulchre in Hernals that made it immediately popular, despite the path and Sepulchre being fabricated from nil and removed both in time and place from the Passion story?
This paper analyzes the use of space and image as tools to create emotion and communal identification in the Hernals Kreuzweg. It asks how and why this place was sought out for the purpose of becoming a newly fabricated site of Christian pilgrimage, despite having no prior claim to sanctity, no link to any religious story and no relic of any significance. The characteristics of the Hernals pilgrimage experience are analyzed in comparison to pilgrimage to the Holy Land, showing how different tools were used to create a different message and how the suffering of Christ was utilized to create a very personal, communal, contemporary (to the seventeenth century) and yet, universal experience.
‘The Church of Santo Sepolcro, Pisa’s Baptistery and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’, in: Research of Visual Art in Memory of the Late Robert H. Smith, Symposium of Research Students, Faculty of Humanities and the History of Art Department, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 16.6.20
This paper examines the significance of the circular and the octagonal shapes in Christian architecture through the example of two Pisan churches. It analyzes the octagonal Santo Sepolcro in light of the European sepulchral tradition, and especially imperial mausoleums, and in light of the connection between the octagon and death and Resurrection. Compared with this tradition the Pisan baptistery is shown as innovative in discarding the octagonal floor plan traditional to Italian monumental baptisteries and adopting the round shape of the Holy Sepulchre as a different means of expressing the symbolism of the Resurrection.
‘Transcending Geography: the Transportation of Sanctity and Memory from the Holy Land to the Home Land’, in: New Perspectives in Memory Studies: Rethinking Movement, Representation and Materiality, Austrian Academy of Sciences and IKT, Vienna, 11-13.10.2009
This paper compares mnemonic practices in Austrian Kalvaria with current mnemonic practices used in the film industry. It argues that despite the differences in period, medium and motivation there are similarities between both strategy and effect.
‘Santo Sepolcro’, in: Pisa and the Mediterranean Summer School, Art, Space and Mobility, Max-Planck-Institut, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Pisa and Sardinia, 18-26.9.2009
In 1113 Pope Paschal II recognized the knights of S. Giovanni di Gerusalemme as an independent religious military order – the Knights Hospitaller. The order began building a grand complex south of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and simultaneously founded a complex housing some of the same functions in the city of Pisa by the river Arno. The complex in Pisa comprised a hospital, rooms for pilgrims, knights’ quarters and the Church of Santo Sepolcro. It was the main priory in Tuscany and served pilgrims and volunteers wishing to join the Crusades on their way to the Holy Land. An inscription on the base of the bell tower states that Diotisalvi is the author of the work, an attribution questioned by some scholars. The existence, within the Hospitaller complex, of a centralized church dedicated as a Holy Sepulchre (Santo Sepolcro) is not rare and was a salient feature of many Templar and Hospitaller compounds in twelfth-century Europe. Yet Santo Sepolcro is a specifically Pisan product, influenced by specific historical circumstances, and is analyzed in this paper as such.
‘Pisa Baptistery’, in: Pisa and the Mediterranean Summer School, Art, Space and Mobility, Max-Planck-Institut, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Pisa and Sardinia, 18-26.9.2009
According to two inscriptions the baptistery of Pisa was founded in 1153 and designed by the architect Diotisalvi. The building of the baptistery began simultaneously with the building of the final stages of the Crusader renovation of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, completed around 1161. The chronicler Bernardo Maragone notes a surge in construction of the baptistery in the early 1160s, after the completion of the Holy Sepulchre.
Scholars have noted that the baptistery of Pisa is the most accurate known medieval copy of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (Krautheimer, Ousterhout, Boek, Angiola, Smith, Cristiani, Cardini and others). The less examined question of why the twelfth-century baptistery of Pisa was fashioned in the shape of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and which phase it embodies, is addressed in this presentation through historical, theological and psychological spectrums, in light of the involvement of Pisa in the First Crusade and of Pisa’s perception of itself as liberator of the Holy City.
Other activities in relation to topic
‘Space and Significance: How Does Architecture Engender Meaning in the Religious Experience?’, in: Disruptions, 8th Evening of Open Short Lectures, 12Dakot and the Secular Yeshiva, 10.7.2012
‘The Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem: An Ongoing Architectural Dialogue with Europe’, Guest Lecture for Students of Education at David Yellin Collage, 23.5.2012
‘What Makes a Place Holy?’, in: Mind Tours, Open Lectures and Tours Marking Jerusalem Day at the Hebrew University, 17.5.2012
‘Visiting Jerusalem and Taking It Home’, Lecture for Arizona University Alumni, 30.10.2011
The idea of linking a site to the events that occurred at it is not a banal one. The concept that a place becomes holy because something of importance happened there underlies the sanctity of the sites in Jerusalem. This lecture discusses the art and architecture that was created at these and other sites, making them memorials to the events of the Old and of the New Testament, and leading to the dawn of the age of pilgrimage. It discusses the theological basis for the acts that pilgrims carried (and still carry) out when arriving in Jerusalem, such as the translation of relics. The idea of transporting sanctity through touch led to the practice of relics and their transportation. These souvenirs from the Holy Land were presented to the communities ‘back home’, who then touched containers with earth, water, oil and so on from Jerusalem as a way of experiencing the sanctity of Jerusalem elsewhere. The precious relics were sometimes housed in churches built especially for them, sometimes built similarly to those at the loca sancta. The second part of the talk considers the multiplication of the Way of the Cross, the Holy Tomb, Golgotha, Mount Zion and other sites all over Europe and later America, including the role of ideas instilled in the fourth century in the practice of later transportation and multiplication of the holy sites.
Study trips to Austria
2-6.2.2011: Study trip to Vienna for archive and library work, as well as documentation of the Kalvarienberg of Hernals. The primary and secondary material collected in this excursion has been used to write a paper on the subject, which will be published in 2013 as part of the SPECTRUM publication series.
25-30.5.2011: Study trip to document the Kalvarienberge of Linz, Gmunden, Traunkirchen, Bad Ischl and Klagenfurt. The images and sketches obtained in this trip are being uploaded to the SPECTRUM database, as well as being studied as comparisons with the Hernals Kalvarienberg.