Talk: Michael Carter, 12th November Relics and monastic identity in late medieval England

Michael Carter, Senior Historian at English Heritage, analyses the importance of relics in the construction of monastic identities in late medieval England. It will focus on two Benedictine (Battle and Whitby) and two Cistercian (Hailes and Rievaulx) abbeys. He will demonstrate that these monasteries used relics to promote and sustain their wider religious role until the time of the Suppression, and that relics were also used to affirm relations between religious houses. Relics and the development of local liturgical observance will also be discussed. Calling upon relic lists, chronicles, heraldry, wills and extant material remains, Michael will also give an idea of the broad range of sources available for the study of the cult of relics at English monasteries, and show that significant material remains unexplored or capable of reinterpretation. The talk is a work in progress, and presents preliminary findings from a projected large-scale study into relics and monasteries in the two centuries before the Suppression.

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The talk takes place on Tuesday 12th November, at 5pm in the History of Art Department (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in The Keynes Library (Room 114).

Like all the seminars, the talk will finish by 5.50pm to allow those with other commitments to leave, and is then followed by discussion and refreshments.  

These talks are supported by the Murray Bequest in memory of the Department’s founder Peter Murray, and are open to all.

No booking required, but if you are sure you are coming it can be helpful to our planning if you let us know here  http://www.bbk.ac.uk/events/remote_event_view?id=8569

New Book: Pleasure and Politics at the Court of France: The Artistic Patronage of Queen Marie of Brabant (1260-1321)

By Tracy Chapman Hamilton

328 p., 37 b/w ills, 140 col. ills, ISBN 978-1-905375-68-4

More Info: http://bit.ly/2ov6q0r

For her commissioning and performance of a French vernacular version of the Arabic tale of the Thousand and One Nights – recorded in one of the most vivid and sumptuous extant late thirteenth-century manuscripts – as well as for her numerous other commissions, Queen Marie of Brabant (1260-1321) was heralded as an intellectual and literary patron comparable to Alexander the Great and Charlemagne. Nevertheless, classic studies of the late medieval period understate Marie’s connection to the contemporary rise of secular interests at the French court.

Pleasure and Politics seeks to reshape that conversation by illustrating how the historical and material record reveals the queen’s essential contributions to the burgeoning court. This emerging importance of the secular and redefinition of the sacred during the last decades of Capetian rule becomes all the more striking when juxtaposed to the pious tone of the lengthy reign of Louis IX (1214-1270), which had ended just four years before Marie’s marriage to his son. That Marie often chose innovative materials and iconographies for these objects — ones that would later in the fourteenth century become the norm — signals her impact on late medieval patronage.

Pleasure and Politics examines Marie’s life beginning with her youth in Brabant, to her entry into Paris in 1274 accompanied by her retinue of courtiers, artists, objects, and ideas from the northern courts of Brabant, Flanders, and Artois. It continues with her elaborate coronation held for the first time in the Sainte-Chapelle the following year, her years as queen of France — often full of intrigue — and her long, productive widowhood, until her death and burial in 1321. With a focus on her Brabantine and Carolingian heritage joined to her status as French queen — often expressed through pioneering styles of heraldry — her commissions included ceremonies, marriage treaties, and intercessions, as well as a stunning collection of jewels, seals, manuscripts, reliquaries, sculpture, stained glass, and architecture that she gathered and built around her. This study also reveals Marie’s regular collaboration with family, friends, and artists, in particular that with the poet Adenet le Roi, women of the French court like Blanche of France (1252-1320), and relatives from the north like Robert of Artois (1250-1302). With this broader view, it also analyzes the dynamics of Marie’s patronage and its impact on contemporary and future women and men of the royal house.

Court, culture, politics, and gender — these are the themes that flow throughout Marie of Brabant’s life and tie together the material effects of a long, pleasure-filled existence enlivened by the politics of Europe on the cusp of a new age.

Scholarship: BAA travel scholarship to April 2020 Romanesque Conference, Hildesheim

The British Archaeological Association has a limited number of scholarships for their 2020 Romanesque Conference in Hildesheim. These scholarships are aimed towards students studying Early Medieval Art History/Archaeology or Architecture, especially those studying Romanesque.

Send a short CV & referee details to jsmcneill@btinternet.com or rplant62@hotmail.com by 15th November 2019.

 

More information about the conference:

The Year 1000 in Romanesque Art and Architecture

Date(s): 14 – 16 Apr 2020

Venue: Hildesheim, Germany

The British Archaeological Association will hold the sixth in its biennial International Romanesque conference series in conjunction with the Dommuseum in Hildesheim on 14-16 April, 2020. The theme is Romanesque and the Year 1000, and the aim is to examine transformations in the art and architecture of the Latin Church around
the turn of the millennium. The Conference will take place at the Cathedral Museum in Hildesheim, with the opportunity to stay on for two days of visits to Romanesque monuments on 17-18 April. The 30 years to either side of the year 1000 witnessed remarkable developments in iconography and stylistic expression. It saw portable devotional statues come into being, the revival of bronze-casting, the reemergence of architectural relief sculpture, and the application of novel, or at least re-understood, architectural forms. In addition to the above, individual papers are concerned with the impact of objects from the Carolingian past and Byzantine present, royal patronage, monastic reform, the organization of scriptoria, ‘authorship’, changes in representational strategies, and regional affiliation.

 

Speakers include Marcello Angheben, Claude Andrault-Schmitt, Michael Brandt, Jordi Camps, Hugh Doherty, Eric Fernie, Shirin Fozi, Barbara Franzé, Richard Gem, Agata Gomolka, Lindy Grant, Cecily Hennessy, Wilfried Keil, Sophie Kelly, Bruno Klein, Florian Meunier, Jesús Rodríguez Viejo, Tobias Schoo, Markus Späth, Béla Zsolt Szakács, Elizabeth Valdez del Álamo, Eliane Vergnolle, Michele Vescovi, Rose Walker, and Tomasz Weclawowicz

Found out more here: https://thebaa.org/event/hildesheim/

CFP: ‘Working Materials and Materials at Work in Medieval Art and Architecture’, 25th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 7 February 2020

RP-P-OB-963 detail

Master of Balaam, Saint Eligius in his Workshop (detail), c. 1440-1460. Engraving, 11.5 x 18.5 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (RP-P-OB-963)

Call for papers: The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 25th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium: Working Materials and Materials at Work in Medieval Art and ArchitectureThe Courtauld Institute of Art, 7 February 2020

Deadline: 22 November 2017

Materials mattered in the Middle Ages. Only with the right materials could artists produce works of art of the highest quality, from jewel-encrusted crosses, gilded and enamelled chalices and ivory plaques to large-scale tapestries, wooden stave churches and stone cathedrals. This conference seeks to explore the qualities and properties of materials for the people who sourced, crafted and used them.

A critical examination of the physical aspect of materials, including stone, wood, metal, jewels, and textiles, can lead art historians to a deeper understanding of objects and their context. Medieval materials did not function as frictionless vehicles for immaterial meaning: materials, their sourcing, trade and manufacture all contributed to the reception and value of the object. In the vein of scholars like Michael Baxandall (The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany, 1980) and more recently Paul Binski (Gothic Sculpture, 2019), this conference asks participants to ground their papers in the messy realities of crafting materials, and to situate the object and its materials within a network of social, political and economic factors.

The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 25th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium invites speakers to build out from the object and consider the ways in which physical materials were used, manipulated and interpreted by craftspeople, patrons and audiences throughout the medieval world (understood in its broadest geographical and chronological terms). The colloquium encourages contributions from a range of backgrounds including but not limited to the art historical, technical, scientific and economic. Speakers are invited to consider the following and related questions:

Sourcing and Trade

  • What economic factors determined the value of medieval materials?
  • How did geography and trade impact the availability and use of materials?
  • How and in what quantities were materials sourced and did that affect the form and function of the art object?
  • How was the quality of materials determined and controlled?
  • Was trade in certain materials restricted to certain classes or groups of people?

Crafting and Making

  • How did the physical and technical requirements of working with different media shape objects for artists and how attuned were viewers to those requirements?
  • What technical virtuosity and experience did different materials demand and how did craftspeople learn and pass on these skills?
  • Did technical virtuosity affect the value of the object?
  • What do we know of the tools craftspeople used? Were the same tools used in different places and in different periods? What effect does this have on the use and shape of materials?
  • Medieval craftsmen occasionally manipulated certain materials to resemble others. Was this process of imitation always obvious to medieval viewers and how did they interpret this?

Function and Manipulation

  • How did the spaces or locations for which objects were intended shape the choice of materials?
  • Did the function of an object determine the materials of which it was made?
  • Were certain materials more attractive to certain patrons than others and why?
  • Do some medieval objects reveal deliberate references to their facture?
  • How did different materials cater to each of the senses?
  • Did materials always matter – is there a competitive/contested relationship between material reality and immaterial imagination?

The colloquium offers an opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the United Kingdom and abroad to present, discuss and promote their research. To apply, please send a proposal of up to 250 words for a twenty-minute paper, together with a CV, to Harry.Prance@courtauld.ac.uk, Nicholas.Flory@courtauld.ac.uk and Charlotte.Wytema@courtauld.ac.uk no later than 22 November 2019.

CFP: Travelling Objects, Travelling People: Art and Artists of Late Medieval and Renaissance Iberia and Beyond, c. 1400–1550, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 28–29 May 2020

CALL FOR PAPERS

Deadline – Friday 10 January 2020

Anonymous Portuguese cartographer, Cantino Planisphere (detail), ca. 1502. Map on parchment, 220 x 105 cm. Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena, Italy. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Travelling Objects, Travelling People aims to nuance our understanding of the exchanges and influences that shaped the artistic landscape of Medieval and Renaissance Iberia. Traditional narratives hold that late fifteenth-century Iberian art and architecture were transformed by the arrival of artists, objects and ideas from France and the Low Countries, while 1492 marked a chronological rupture and the beginning of global encounters. Challenging these perceptions, this conference will reconsider the dynamics of artistic influence in late medieval Iberia, and place European exchanges in a global context, from Madeira to Santo Domingo. Bringing together international scholars working on Spain, Portugal and a range of related geographies, it seeks to address the impact of ‘itinerant’ artworks, artists and ideas, and issues of migration and non-linear transfers of materials, techniques and iconographies.

The theme of ‘travellers’—artists who reached or departed the region, at times more than once in their lives, but also objects and concepts imported and exported—will expand and inflect traditional narratives of late medieval and Renaissance art, underscoring the complexity of global interactions and exchanges which connected the Iberian peninsula to Europe and beyond. Bringing together international scholars working on Iberia and a range of related geographies, the conference seeks to address the impact of ‘itinerant’ artworks, artists and ideas, and to expand the field of analysis beyond Europe to encompass relationships with newly acquired dominions, from Madeira to Santo Domingo.

Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:

  • Iberian artists employed abroad, from the master mason Guillelm Sagrera in Naples, to the sculptor Juan de la Huerta at the Chartreuse de Champmol
  • The close imitation of northern artists in such works as the Portuguese copies of Quentin Metsys’s The Angel Appearing to Saints Clara, Colette and Agnes (early 16th century, Museu de Setúbal / Convento de Jesus, Portugal)
  • ‘Iberian’ objects produced elsewhere, for example Christian ivory carvings made in Goa or Kongo, Afro-Portuguese spoons, and Mexican ‘feather-work’ adopting the vocabulary of northern European late Gothic painting
  • Works made for a non-Iberian audience but purchased and displayed by local patrons.

By encouraging conversations across such seemingly disparate topics and geographies, the conference aims to position the Iberian artistic landscape within the networks of artistic exchange that spanned the medieval and Renaissance worlds, challenging the significance of 1492 as a moment of rupture between the Middle Ages and Early Modern periods.

Proposals are welcome from postgraduate, early-career and established researchers working in all relevant disciplines. Please send a title and an abstract of no more than 300 words together with a short CV and 100-word biography to Costanza.Beltrami@courtauld.ac.uk and Sylvia.Alvares-Correa@history.ox.ac.uk by Friday 10 January 2020.

Papers should not exceed 20 minutes in length. Successful candidates will be notified by 17 February. In the first instance, applicants are encouraged to apply to their home institution for travel and accommodation funding. The organisers hope to provide financial support for travel and accommodation to speakers who require it. This conference is made possible by the kind generosity of Sam Fogg.

Please click here for more information.

New Publication: Kirstin Kennedy, Alfonso X of Castile-León: Royal Patronage, Self-Promotion and Manuscripts in Thirteenth-century Spain (Amsterdam University Press, 2019)

9789462988972_promAlfonso X ‘the Learned’ of Castile (1252–1284) was praised in his lifetime as a king who devoted himself to discovering all worldly and divine knowledge. He commissioned chronicles and law codes and composed poems to the Virgin Mary, he gathered together Jewish scholars to translate works of Arab astrology and astronomy, and he founded a university of Latin and Arabic studies at Seville. Moreover, according to his nephew Juan Manuel, Alfonso was careful to ensure that ‘he had leisure to look into things he wanted for himself’. The level of his personal involvement in this literary activity marks him out as an exceptional patron in any period. However, Alfonso’s relationship with the arts also had much in common with that of other thirteenth-century European royal patrons, among them his first cousin, Louis IX of France. Like his contemporaries, he relentlessly used literary works as a vehicle to promote his royal status and advance his claim to the imperial crown. His motivation for the foundation of the university at Seville was arguably political rather than educational, and instead of promoting institutional learning during his reign, Alfonso preferred to direct the messages about his kingship in the lavish manuscripts he patronized to a restricted, courtly audience. Yet such was the interest of the works he commissioned, that those who could obtain copies did so, even if these were still incomplete drafts. Three codices traditionally held to have been copied for Alfonso in fact show how this learning reserved for the few began to filter out beyond the Learned King’s immediate circle.

Kirstin Kennedy is a curator of metalwork (specializing in silver) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She previously held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at King’s College London, in the Department of Spanish and Spanish American Studies (2000–2003).

Please click here for more information.

BAA Tower of London Study Day, Saturday November 2nd, 2019

The British Archaeological Association Study Day at the Tower of London will enable us to look closely at some recent research, both historical and archaeological, to learn about curating practices and restoration of wall paintings at the tower, and to explore spaces that are often closed to the public.

Provisional programme:

11:30 Introduction (Sally Dixon-Smith)

12:30 Byward Tower Wall Painting (Group A) with Jane Spooner

12:30 Resent Research on the Historic Residential Accommodation at Tower Green (Group B) with Agnieszka Sadraei

1:00 Byward Tower Wall Painting (Group B) with Jane Spooner

1:00 Resent Research on the Historic Residential Accommodation at Tower Green (Group A) with Agnieszka Sadraei

1:30 Introduction to the Royal Lodgings Jeremy Ashbee
1:45 Independent Lunch Break and time to explore
3:00 Chapel of St John and White Tower with Jeremy Ashbee 3:45 Chapel of St Peter with Jessica Barker (in two groups)

 

Places for the Study Day are limited to 20, of which up to 10 are reserved for students.

The cost of the day will be £40 for members. The fee includes a ticket for the Tower of London. The event is free for students, for whom travel grants (to a maximum of £50) are also available.

To apply please e-mail studydays@thebaa.org – by September 20th, 2019.

Please state in the email whether you are a member of the BAA or a student.

All names will be entered into a ballot for the study day and the successful applicants will be notified by September 23rd.