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The Art of the Slender Line





Abstract: This article examines aspects of Dr. Françoise Henry’s work on early Irish Christian art, particularly abstractive qualities found in illuminated manuscripts of the 5th to 7th centuries, which she claimed were a key in revealing knowledge of contemporary medieval Ireland, that the fusion of cultures between the existing indigenous people of Ireland and the incoming Christians was revealed through connections with other intellectual artforms, including music and literature. However, the relationship between Christian iconography and liturgy has not yet been fully explored. Work by recent scholars is widening discussion on these manuscripts not simply to ascertain their contemporary religious meaning but also to analyse their place in early medieval society as a whole, and to incorporate the modern viewer as an integral part of interpretation.

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