Gems in the Sky: Bridging Astronomy and Magic in the Lapidario of Alfonso X

Fall 2021 Grant Recipient

Graduate Student

María del Rosario Cornejo (Art and Architectural History) My dissertation focuses on the Castilian translation of the Lapidario (or Lapidary), a manuscript commissioned by King Alfonso the Wise (1221-1284), identifying the origin, medicinal, and magical properties of stones and their relation to a degree of a Zodiac sign. Alfonso the Wise is famous for supporting groundbreaking developments in astronomy and for commissioning Castilian (Spanish) translations of scientific treatises developed by Arab and Jewish astronomers.These  undertakings express his political ambitions and his sense of curiosity. My dissertation analyzes how artists created multiple viewing paths for experiencing both the magical properties of stones and the images which depict them. I analyze the text and image relationship using the distinction between the implied and actual reader associated with reception theory and the notion of ductus.