Picturing Number: Visualizing Quadrivial Concepts in the Central Middle Ages


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


History of Art


This dissertation examines medieval notions of the efficacy of images through the study of the graphic elements (pictures, figures, complex schemata) that populate manuscripts devoted to the arts of the quadrivium—arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. It considers these objects in the context of their production and use in the monastery and cathedral schools: centers of learning for the whole of the educated class, lay and ecclesiastical. It examines a corpus of visual and textual material assembled from a great number of seldom-studied manuscripts, one that permits investigation of period-specific ideas on a range of integrated issues: relations between word and image, the nature of cognition, the quality of intellectual sight, and pictorial strategies for representing the sensible and incorporeal.