Uccelli paradisiaci e spazio sacro
Note intorno a paradisi terrestri e celesti
Late antique and Byzantine imagery is pervaded by birds of various species. Several kinds of birds inhabit literary gardens from the second to the fourteenth centuries as well as late antique mosaics of churches. While the association of birds with the terrestrial paradise is quite straightforward, the one with a celestial, heavenly paradise is much less immediate. Here, I will explore the role of birds in this latter case in particular. Through the analysis of a few chosen examples of monumental decoration, manuscript illumination, portable objects and sculpture, I will address the use of birds in the creation (and visualization) of the sacred in the earthly realm.