Franziska Geibinger



Franziska Geibinger, BA MA, born in 1991, studied art history at the University of Vienna from 2011-2017, majoring in visual media of the Middle Ages, preservation of historical monuments/museum studies and decorative principles of the Baroque and Historicism. Since October 2017 she is a freelance doctoral student. In addition, she is employed in the guest service of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. During her studies she also worked as a tutor (for the course 'Academic Working' and as a lecture tutor for Prof. Dr. Michael Viktor Schwarz).

Research interests: Middle Ages; Visual Media, Functions; Hagiography; Iconography; Cult of Saints; Mary Magdalene; Narratives.

Current research project: Functions of a scene. The elevation representation of the hairy Mary Magdalene as a ‘cult image’. 
My research focuses on the legendary elevation scene from the life of Mary Magdalene. During the seven canonical hours the saint, covered with hair, was raised by angels to receive heavenly food. Throughout the whole of the late Middle Ages, this representation not only became a unique feature of the saint but is also found as a central cult image in altarpieces, miniatures, wall paintings and so on. The geographical focus of the doctoral thesis to be written is mainly on Central and Eastern Europe, especially Italy, Germany and Poland. The works from these countries show a strong emphasis on the elevation representation and innovative approaches. Objects from France, Spain, etc. will be included in the study for comparative purposes. The time frame extends from the end of the 13th century to the first half of the 16th century. This period covers the beginning of the artistic elaboration of the legendary scene up to the gradual decline of this specific form of depiction of the hairy Magdalene and her elevation. The analysis of the functional type ‘cult image’ will form one part of my doctoral thesis. However, the artistic interpretations of the elevation scene are varied and show different functional types. A categorisation of the works, according to their respective functions, is intended to structure the wealth of material in a profitable way. The classification includes, in addition to the ‘cult picture’, on the one hand those representations which were produced as part of a Magdalene cycle. They therefore do not stand alone and are to be understood in the context of the narrative association. Especially in the Italian area there are numerous wall paintings with different accentuations on different elements of the vita. The second allocation includes the elevation scene as a representation of Magdalene herself or as a visualisation of her significance in the history of piety. A similar category is that of the scene as an ‘expanding commentary’. It differs in the additional interpretative level in context to another textual or pictorial component. A comprehensive analysis of the technical and functional development of the elevation scene is the main objective of my doctoral thesis.