In the KdiH all manuscripts are arranged according to their specific subject matter – regardless of date, genre or author of the respective text. This approach makes possible the presentation of illustrated manuscripts in the context of related codices and the identification of consistencies or breaks in the formation of a subject’s iconographic tradition. At the same time, the KdiH provides a take on the way medieval illuminators and scribes understood and handed down their subject matter.
Art History and Literary Studies conventionally understand a ‘subject’ (Fr. matière) as textual or iconographic subject matter developed over a long period of time. Texts and images from different points in time can be assigned to a specific subject if they are thematically similar. Subjects can be based on literary or historiographic traditions (e.g. Dietrich von Bern, song books or Tristan), but they can also relate to pragmatic texts such as prayer books, technical or medical texts.