Demons and Diversity in León

In: Medieval Encounters
Pamela A. Patton Index of Medieval Art, Princeton University

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This article examines a wall painting of the temptation of Saint Martin in the so-called Panteón de los Reyes of San Isidoro in León, focusing on its unorthodox portrayal of Satan as an Ethiopianized, dark-skinned figure wearing a robe reflective of Fatimid textile traditions. Tracing the scene’s divergent sources within the complex network of images, texts, and ideas then circulating in León, it argues that the unusually configured image constituted an innovative, intervisual response to the concerns of a palatine viewership that in the first decades of the twelfth century remained preoccupied with its own dynastic and political position, both within the Leonese kingdom and with reference to its wider European sphere.

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