ICMA Lecture: ‘Patriarchal Lectionaries of Constantinople’ with Professor Robert Nelson, 19 February 2014

ICMA at the Courtauld Lecture 2013/14
Series made possible through the generosity of Dr. William M. Voelkle

Wednesday 19 February 2014
5.30pm, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Professor Robert Nelson (Robert Lehman Professor, Department of the History of Art, Yale University): Patriarchal Lectionaries of Constantinople

The Greek Gospel lectionary, containing those passages read during the liturgy and arranged according to the church calendar, has long been of interest to art historians. Earlier attempts to study it did not produce lasting results until the basic text of these manuscripts began to be explored. That research has gathered momentum in recent years, thanks especially to the work of Professor John Lowden, and has coalesced around the concept of the Patriarchal lectionary, created for the use of Hagia Sophia during the eleventh century. This lecture will look further into history of that lectionary before, during, and after this period.

Robert Nelson studies and teaches medieval art, mainly in the Eastern Mediterranean. He was the co-curator of Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2006-2007. His book, Hagia Sophia, 1850-1950, 2004, asks how the cathedral of Constantinople, once ignored or despised, came to be regarded as one of the great monuments of world architecture. Current projects involve the history of the Greek lectionary, illuminated Greek manuscripts in Byzantium and their reception in Renaissance Italy, and the collecting of Byzantine art in twentieth-century Europe and America. The last involves the publication of the letters between Royall Tyler and Robert and Mildred Bliss, the founders of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., which has just begun to be published online.


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