Color photograph of Erene Rafik Morcos standing outdoors alongside medieval architecture

Erene Rafik Morcos

Samuel H. Kress Foundation/Donald and Maria Cox Rome Prize
September 6, 2021–July 22, 2022
PhD Candidate, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University
Project title
Mirroring the Reflections of the Soul: The Greco-Latin Psalter
Project description

At the intersection of language and art, mirrored translations of texts with distinct alphabets and phonological valences blur the boundary between text and image. My project investigates the Psalter as a visual field with a focus on how scribes, artists, and readers accommodated the multilingualism that frequently appears in this literary genre. Written in the first-person singular I, Greco-Latin psalters reflect the multilingual reality and complex identities of their medieval owners. This initiative studies the trajectory of these parallel psalters with consideration of their production and visual argument. As a poetic anthology of the innermost reflections of the soul, the Psalms also pose a representational challenge: verses of entreaty, thanksgiving, lament, and praise are not readily rendered into images. Thus, when figural illustration attempts to negotiate this compromised layout in two thirteenth-century case studies, I consider the dynamics of two texts trying to share a single image.