Monthly Archives: July 2015

Speaking Sculpture: Images and their potency (Kalamazoo 2016 session)

IMG_1913CFP: Session at the International Congress on Medieval Studies
University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, May 12 – 15, 2016

Deadline: September 15, 2015

Speaking Sculpture: Images and their Potency

Lloyd de Beer, British Museum
Julia Perratore, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Do sculptures speak? Can they listen? Are they able to read, sing, and engage with other sculptures, or the architecture of their surroundings? If so, is this connected to their context and placement? How do these questions affect the way in which we view sculpture and its performativity?

In seeking to answer these and related questions, this session will address the manifold ways in which sculpture could potentially address its viewers, and, by extension, listen. The interactive nature of much medieval art, and particularly sculpture, suggests that viewers’ engagement with mute three-dimensional images could extend to an imagined oral/aural exchange. Sculptural evocations of speech were carved onto the body, in the parted lips of the Virgin or the emphatic gesture of a saint. They could also be engraved across the unfurled banderole of a prophet or in the titulus of a capital. In other instances, a sculpture might seem to take part within a multisensory experience of space or ritual, as the figures of a narrative frieze might be activated by music. Alternatively, an image may simply stay silent and listen, as a cult statue might amid the prayers of the faithful. Impressions of speech in medieval sculpture have even carried over into historiography, as attested by the “speaking reliquaries” of the German tradition. The papers of this session may approach issues of speech and listening in a variety of ways, considering a wide range of sculptural forms, materials and techniques across the medieval period as a whole.

Overall, this session aims to contribute to the many lively scholarly discussions on the interactivity and performativity of sculpture current in the field of medieval art. It also responds to a number of recent studies on the role of the body in medieval experiences of art and architecture, particularly with respect to ritual and devotion. More broadly, the topic’s inherent interdisciplinarity aims to draw new perspectives and methodologies to the study of a body of material that has long been approached solely through traditional art-historical methods. It is hoped that by presenting this session at Kalamazoo, which attracts scholars from many disciplines and periods, a number of presenters from different backgrounds may be gathered, igniting a dynamic discussion on the nature and power of images in the medieval world.

Please send a one-page abstract and completed Participant Information Form to Julia Perratore ( and Lloyd de Beer ( by 15 September.

Kalamazoo 2016: Gendered Spaces (sponsored by Hortulus)

Llangattock Hours, Getty Museum

Llangattock Hours, Getty Museum

CFP, ICMS (“Kalamazoo”) 2016: Gendered Spaces Hortulus-sponsored session Session organizer and presider: Melissa Ridley Elmes, co-editor of Hortulus The concept of gendered spaces—areas in which particular genders and types of gender expression are considered welcome or appropriate while other gender types are unwelcome or inappropriate—is a key element in the study of human geography. Gendering spaces is one way in which social systems maintain the organization of gender, and can preserve and dictate the accepted norms of gendered behavior, as well as relationships and hierarchies between men and women. Studying gendered spaces—environments, landscapes, and other places that have been designated specifically for “men” or for “women,” as well as the “public-private” divide often defined with men in public and women in private spaces, for example—can provide us with important knowledge of the ways in which the spaces we inhabit reinforce our cultural positions from a gendered perspective; for instance, how such spaces serve to segregate or to unify, to reinforce or subvert traditional forms of masculinity and femininity. This understanding, in turn, can shed light on existing power structures and the conflicts and issues that arise between men and women in a given culture. This session seeks to examine the subject of gendered spaces from a medieval vantage point, considering ways in which medieval society powerfully shaped and sought to control ideas of masculinity and femininity through the public and private spaces that were designated for men and women and how those spaces were used. We hope to attract an interdisciplinary panel of papers including studies from historians, art historians, and literary scholars that will extend our thinking about gender in the medieval period. The session shares a theme with our Fall, 2016 issue of Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies, and we hope to be able to publish in that issue some of the papers delivered in this session. As our journal mission is to support the professionalization efforts of graduate students, the session is organized, presided over, and comprises papers given by current graduate students. Abstracts, brief bio, and participant information form to Melissa Ridley Elmes ( by September 15, 2015.

‘Transforming Male Devotional Practices’ from the Medieval to the Early Modern (Hudderfield, 16-17 September 2015)


Extended call-for-papers submission deadline: July 20th, 2015
Conference date(s): September 16, 2015 – September 17, 2015

This conference is co-hosted with the Universities of Reading and Liverpool Hope. It aims to explore the social, economic and spatial factors underpinning the changing way ordinary men demonstrated their commitment to God and the church(es) in a period of significant turmoil. Papers that address English male devotional experience from historical, literary, gender studies and material culture perspectives are welcomed. Suggested themes include:

  • Religion and Society: Domestic piety and lay/household Catholicism.
  • Material Culture and ritual objects.
  • The economy of piety: indulgences, relics and paying for piety.
  • Personal and public piety: Continuity and change over the medieval and early modern periods.
  • Devotional reading, writing and performance.
  • Geography, place and space in Catholic piety.

It is anticipated that selected papers will be published as part of an edited collection.

Please send proposals to:

Leeds 2015 Art History session: Grisaille, Shades of Meaning in Late Medieval Manuscripts

proxySession: 1702

Grisaille: Shades of Meaning in Late Medieval Manuscripts

Thursday 9 July 2015: 14.15-15.45


Sophia Rochmes (Department of History of Art & Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara) and Anna Russakoff (American University of Paris)


Anna Russakoff, American University of Paris

Grisaille, or imagery in monochrome tones of grey, proliferated in late-medieval Northern Europe. This session explores grisaille, with a particular focus on its appearance in manuscripts, in an effort to better understand this enigmatic artistic phenomenon. The papers will present a series of case studies, and will consider issues of technique, iconography, artistic identity and collaboration, relationships between artistic media, patronage, and reception.

Paper 1702-a

Disappearance of Colors in 14th-Century Manuscripts: The Personifications in Question (Language: English)

Bertrand Cosnet, UFR d’histoire, histoire de l’art & archéologie, Université de Nantes

Paper 1702-b

Prayer in Shades of Grey: A Grisaille Book of Hours from the Lyonnais Workshop of Guillaume Lambert (Language: English)

Elliot Adam, Centre André Chastel, Université Paris-Sorbonne – Paris IV

Paper 1702-c

Prester John’s Painters: European Grisaille Illuminations in Late Medieval Manuscripts from the Ethiopian Royal Court (Language: English)

Verena Krebs, Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Paper 1702-d

Case by Case: A Look at Manuscripts that Combine Grisaille and Full Color (Language: English)

Elizabeth Moodey, Department of History of Art, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

Chiaroscuro as Aesthetic Principle, 1300-1600 (Bern, 29-30 April 2016)

Taddeo Gaddi, Annunciation to the Shepherds, Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence, c.1330

Taddeo Gaddi, Annunciation to the Shepherds, Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence, c.1330

Chiaroscuro since Leon Battista Alberti’s De pictura (1435) has been one of the central subjects characterising painting and sculpture in practice and theory in Italy. Primarily, it concerns the articulation of plastic qualities, the formulation of relief, both in painting and sculpture. In the northern tradition, too, chiaroscuro has been highly valued. Through chiaroscuro, the textures of materials and the structural fabric of their surfaces, including their eye-catching highlights, have been evoked. Chiaroscuro goes hand in hand with an intensification of optical qualities.

In the Cinquecento, the significance of chiaroscuro underwent an
important change. The evocation of plasticity and corporeality through a chiaroscuro that created relief was now in part replaced by a tonally defined chiaroscuro, which focused on pictorial  qualities. This is the case, for example, in the Clair obscur prints, which developed in both, northern and Italian art. These different uses of chiaroscuro are each linked to differently grounded aesthetic commitments.

Within the context sketched above, we want to understand chiaroscuro as
a distinctive aesthetic principle. Our chronological focus is on the
period from 1300 to 1600.

The following sections are envisaged:

– chiaroscuro and monochrome painting
– chiaroscuro in the context of drawing and prints
– chiaroscuro and sculpture
– chiaroscuro in the art of Leonardo da Vinci

Further relevant proposals may be added: suggestions will be gladly

Interested scholars are cordially invited to present their researches
and ideas in the framework of the conference. Please send your abstract
(max. 300 words) for a c. 20-minute presentation together with your
Curriculum Vitae by August 15, 2015 by email to:

Presenters will be contacted in September 2015.