Plastic Icons: The Modern Holy Card as the Descendant of the Medieval Illuminated Manuscript

By Kenneth DiMaggio.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 23, 2017 $US5.00

Palm-size and often laminated, Catholic holy cards depict a saint and usually represent that man or woman during the significant moment in their sainthood. On the back of these cards is either a brief biography of this saint or a prayer to this figure. Yet the iconography of these images seems to link back to the larger illuminated religious manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Many of the more traditional saints of modern holy cards are represented in biblical or medieval garments and may also be represented in a symbolic or allegorical landscape. Some saints are portrayed with animals or even fantastic creatures. Other iconographic elements might include florid borders, golden halos, flames, and other images that reinforce the modern Catholic holy card as the descendant of the medieval illuminated manuscript.

Keywords: Catholic Holy Cards, Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts, Icons, Saints

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 23, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 865.987KB)).

Kenneth DiMaggio

Professor, Humanities Department, Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA