Monthly Archives: September 2015

Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art, Autumn Term 2015

Lukas%20schildert%20Madonna_detail%20schets800[1]The Department of History of Art at Birkbeck presents a series of seminars on medieval and renaissance art, supported by the bequest established in memory of Professor Peter Murray, the Department’s founder.

Thursday 22nd October
Dr. Robert Maniura, Rogier van der Weyden, Portraiture and Flesh

Thursday 19th November
Dr. Laura Jacobus, Four Weddings and a Funerary Chapel: a brief ‘herstory’ of the Arena Chapel

Thursday, 10th December
Dr.Juliana Barone, Leonardo da Vinci in Seventeenth-Century France

All seminars are held at 5pm at Birkbeck’s School of Arts (43, Gordon Sq., London, WC1H OPD) in Room 112, and are followed by refreshments.

Magic and Magicians in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age (The University of Arizona, Tucson April 28 – May 1, 2016)

df516222e12a072ca5ced4a7862d3668[1]2016: 13th International Symposium on Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Arizona

Organizer and Chair: Dr. Albrecht Classen
University Distinguished Professor
Dept. of German Studies, 301 LSB, The University of Arizona
520 621-1395;;

Magic and the magician are two critically important aspects of cultural epistemology, challenging and contributing to the world of science, undermining it at the same time. Who was the magician, what did s/he do, how did s/he operate, how did society view him/her, and what does the topic addressed here mean for our own world in reflection upon the past?

This is a self-sustaining academic symposium. Participants are expected to secure travel funds and other resources to cover their costs (housing, registration) from their home institution.

Registration: $90. This will not only cover the conference, but also provide you with a free copy of the subsequent volume, for which I will do intensive research together with all contributors.

Selected papers will be accepted for publication in a planned volume (de Gruyter; see my webpage on Fundamentals, under “Middle Ages,” right hand side navigation bar). Each contributor to the volume will receive a free copy and can negotiate with the publisher reduced prices for any of the volumes in our series.

For anyone interested in joining the symposium as part of the audience, please contact the organizer. Student participation will be most welcome.

Languages accepted at the symposium: English, French, German, and in exceptional cases Spanish. Non-English papers must be accompanied by a good English summary available as a hand-out. Abstracts of all papers will be posted well ahead of the symposium.

Hotel Accommodations: A special arrangement has been made with Riverpark Inn,  $72/night (plus tax [12.05%] plus $2 per night). Price subject to change. Within the USA, call: 1-800 551-1466, refer to “Dept. of German Studies/Magic and the Magician in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Time,” or to my name (Classen).  Local number: 520 239-2300. Transportation to and from the symposium (at the University of Arizona), will be provided by means of the new streetcar ($4./day).  For international guests, please fax your reservations to: 011- 520-239-2329.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: January 31, 2016, but feel free to send an inquiry even after that date, to

Typical Venice? Venetian Commodities, 13th-16th centuries (3-6 March 2016)

095L12230_6GNHR_1[1]Call for Papers

Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venice, Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza,
March 3 – 06, 2016
Deadline: Oct 31, 2015

Organizer: Dr. Philippe Cordez (ENB-Nachwuchsforschergruppe “Premodern
Objects”, Department Kunstwissenschaften, LMU Munich) and PD Dr.
Romedio Schmitz-Esser (Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venice)

What are “Venetian” commodities? More than any other medieval or early
modern city, Venice lived off of the trade of portable goods. In
addition to trading foreign imports, the city also engaged in intense
local production, manufacturing high quality glass, crystal, cloth,
metal, enamel, leather, and ceramic objects, characterized by their
exceedingly rich forms and complex production processes. Today, these
objects are scattered in collections throughout the world, but little
remains in Venice itself. In individual instances, it is often
difficult to tell whether the objects in question were actually made in
Venice or if they originated in Byzantine, Islamic, or other European

This conference focuses on the question of how Venice designed and
exported its own identity through all kinds of its goods, long before
ideas about the city were propagated by, shaped through and crystalized
in images (the countless, largely standardized vedute). We especially
invite papers that address the following questions:
What was the relationship between raw commodities like wood, stone,
wool or foodstuffs, which varied in their degrees of value, and
specifically artistic products? Where do luxury goods that were
processed in Venice, such as medicines, spices, or pigments, fit into
the picture? What was the relationship between portable objects that
could be acquired and the city’s other, inalienable riches, such as
architecture and church treasures?
How could Venetian merchants, craftsmen, or artists generate a specific
set of expectations with respect to their wares and what kinds of
organizational and aesthetic strategies were used to meet these
expectations? What role did the Senate play, for instance, by imposing
import bans? What did travelers expect from Venice and what did they
find? Where and how were commodities from Venice received elsewhere?
What was perceived to be and labeled as “Venetian,” from medieval
“Orientalism” in the city to the “façon de Venise” in the whole of
Europe? Finally, can Venetian “commodity” concepts be reconstructed and
to what extent can similarities and differences be identified between
Venice and the commodity cultures of other cities in the Mediterranean
and in Europe?

Expected contributions could address “Venetian” commodity categories
and object groups individually or in relation to each other or in
relation to larger, overarching issues. Papers written from the
perspectives of the history of art, economy, law, literature or other
historical sciences are welcome.
Travel and accommodation costs will be defrayed. Speakers will be
invited to participate in an anthology on the same subject following
the conference. The working languages are mainly English and Italian,
but papers in German and French will also be considered.

Please send an abstract (one page) and a short CV to

The deadline for abstract submissions is 31.10.2015.

Medieval Charm: Illuminated Manuscripts for Royal, Aristocratic, and Ecclesiastical Patronage (Florence,

6a00d8341c464853ef017ee99f8105970d-500wiISI Florence, International Studies Institute, Via della Vigna Nuova
18, 50123 Firenze, October 20, 2015

Medieval Charm: Illuminated Manuscripts for Royal, Aristocratic, and
Ecclesiastical Patronage // Fascino medievale: manoscritti miniati per
i sovrani, l’aristocrazia e il clero
International Conference // Convegno Internazionale

Organized by Stefano U.Baldassarri, Francesca Marini, Florence Moly

Among the main goals of this conference at ISI Florence is increasing
knowledge of medieval and Renaissance illuminated books, especially
luxury manuscripts.

As part of investigating issues linked with the iconography, patronage,
collection, production, exchange, and costs of illuminated manuscripts,
the papers will focus on topics such as:
– The making of illuminated manuscripts and the collecting habits of
European courts, including the Visconti-Sforza in Lombardy, Alfonso V
of Aragon, and Charles V of France.
– Luxury books commissioned by either aristocrats or clergy in
Catalonia, and those produced for such important ecclesiastical
institutions as the Opera del Duomo in Florence.
– Iconographic themes that medieval and Renaissance culture considered
crucial to religious ideology, such as Paradise from the Divine Comedy
illustrated by the Sienese Giovanni di Paolo.
– Finally, an evaluation of female patronage of illustrated manuscripts
through examples such as The Book of Hours of Joana of Castile, and the
so-called «Alphabet» of Mary of Burgundy.

The conference will thus adopt a variety of scholarly approaches to
promote a fruitful interdisciplinary exchange stimulating dialogue on
the social and economic background of luxury manuscripts in medieval
and Renaissance Europe.

To this purpose, particular attention will be given to the role played
by the patrons who commissioned such works, their manner of choice for
the artists and the iconographic programs used on the basis of the
specific historic and geographic contexts for the splendid illuminated
manuscripts of the period.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015 / Martedì, 20 ottobre 2015

Welcome remarks
Stefano U. Baldassarri (Director, ISI Florence)

Keynote speech
Giovanna Lazzi (Biblioteca Riccardiana)

Session 1
Chair: Gert Jan van der Sman (Istituto Universitario Olandese)

Florence Moly (Université du Temps Libre, Perpignan)
La culture des élites: la collection Visconti-Sforza de Pavie et leurs
grands connaisseurs, du chancelier ducal à l’historien moderne

Gennaro Toscano (Institut National du Patrimoine, Paris)
Una passione per i libri: la committenza di Alfonso V d’Aragona detto
il Magnanimo (1396-1458)

10.45 Coffee break

Francesca Marini (ISI Florence)
«Larghi d’oro in oro per parte di miniatura»: i costi della miniatura
tra ‘400 e ‘500 a partire da alcuni codici per l’Opera del Duomo di


13.00 Lunch break

Session 2
Chair : Sonia Chiodo (Università degli Studi, Firenze)

Annette Hoffmann (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz)
The Great Feast: Courtiers and Crusaders in Charles V’s «Grandes
Chroniques de France»

Josefina Planas (Universitat de Lleida)
Manoscritti miniati in Catalogna durante gli ultimi secoli del
Medioevo: promotori, artisti e centri di creazione artistica

Bette Talvacchia (University of Oklahoma)
Paradise Emblazoned and Embodied in Giovanni di Paolo’s Illumination of
Dante’s «Commedia»

Eberhard König (Freie Universität, Berlin)
Books for Women Made by Men? The Hours of Juana la Loca in London (Add.
Ms. 18852) and the So-called «Alphabet» of Mary of Burgundy


Concluding remarks

International Studies Institute, Florence
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell’Arte, Firenze
Biblioteca Riccardiana, Firenze
Universitat de Lleida
Crédit Agricole – France

Pardon our Dust: Reassessing Iconography at the Index of Christian Art (Kalamazoo 2016 sessions)

index-christian-art[1]The International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS) at Western
Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 12 – 15, 2016
Deadline: Sep 15, 2015

Pardon our Dust: Reassessing Iconography at the Index of Christian Art

51st International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 12-15, 2016
Deadline: September 15, 2015

Organizers: Catherine Fernandez and Henry Schilb (Index of Christian
Art, Princeton University)

The Index of Christian Art (ICA) at Princeton University houses the
largest archive dedicated to the study of medieval art in the world. It
was founded by Charles Rufus Morey in 1917. Created with the intention
of cataloguing all known works of medieval art according to subject
matter, the Index developed over the course of the twentieth century
into an ever-expanding resource for the study of iconography. Although
the archive originated as a physical catalogue, the information
contained in the subject files began migration to an online database in
1991.  Now in its ninety-eighth year of existence, the ICA has embarked
on yet another conceptual and technological upgrade that will embrace a
more capacious understanding of medieval iconography through improved
functionality while preserving the knowledge amassed by Index scholars
during the previous century. Ever mindful that the ICA depends on the
scholarship of medievalists in order to maintain the database for our
researchers, we will sponsor two sessions that underscore this fruitful
reciprocity. As we reassess how specific fields are used within our
records, we seek the input of scholars who are actively engaged with
themes related to medieval iconography in the broadest sense of the
term. By focusing on issues related to the medieval program and
ornament, the panels address categories that currently merit further
consideration as fields of inquiry within the database.

We invite papers that explore new interpretive approaches or
historiographical analyses as a means to stimulate a lively
conversation on the ICA’s mission as an iconographical archive in the
twenty-first century. In mirroring the Index’s wide geographical and
chronological spectrum, we welcome proposals that explore any artistic
media produced during the Middle Ages in the Byzantine East and the
Latin West. Papers may consider specific case studies or address more
theoretical concerns.

I: Program
As Michel Pastoureau has observed, the concept of “program” as an art
historical term has been anachronistically applied to the study of
medieval art. The notion that an assemblage of images adheres to a
conceptual unity governed by the explicit wishes of an individual or
corporate patron remains a source of debate in the iconographic
interpretation of any number of monuments, manuscripts, or individual
objects. We seek papers that consider the advantages and limitations in
using the idea of “program” as an interpretive approach. We welcome
proposals that investigate themes related but not limited to the role
of patronage and iconography of medieval art works, the question of
iconographic unity in monuments, and the disjuncture between the
textual and the visual in the scholarly ekphrases of “programs” in
medieval art.
II: Ornament
Ornament occupies an ambiguous position within the study and
classification of medieval iconography. Recent scholarship, however,
has underscored the significance of ornament as a bearer of meaning. We
welcome proposals that investigate the role of ornament as an
iconographic element within works of medieval art. Topics of interest
include the iconographic function of vegetal ornamentation, the role of
ornament as a frame for narratives and portraits, the use of decorative
motifs as expressions of archaism or “foreignness,” as well as new
approaches in the language of describing medieval ornamentation.

Please send the abstract of your proposed paper (300 words maximum), CV
with current contact information, and completed Participant Information
Form, available at to the

Catherine Fernandez ( and Henry Schilb

Deadline: September 15, 2015

Material Processes and Making In Medieval Art (Kalamazoo 2016 session)

making-the-ms[1]The International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS) at Western
Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 12 – 15, 2016
Deadline: Sep 15, 2015

Art historians traditionally focus on the finished work, yet attention
to the creative process of making allows us to consider how medieval
builders and artisans constructed monuments, made objects, and planned
workflow for large-scale projects. Furthermore, this line of inquiry
allows us to consider spatial planning and haptic encounters. The use
of new technologies such as digital reconstructions, laser scans, 3D
printing, and other imaging tools provides scholars with the
opportunity to understand the conceptual processes of art making in the
Middle Ages as never before through reverse engineering.

Recent art-historical scholarship has reintroduced interest in the
materiality/object-ness of medieval art and architecture and attendant
somatic responses. Analysis of the processes of making is fundamental
to this renewed interest in the relationship between materiality and
human experience of the art object. Together, these inquiries will
yield new insights into the social, economic, political, and practical
conditions of production.

For this session we are interested in presentations that investigate
the process of making medieval art and architecture and what these
processes tell us about medieval artistic production. We welcome papers
that explore questions such as:
• What can art historians learn from studying creative processes?
• What are the methods of design to finished product?
• How did masons and artisans revise work in progress or finished work?
• Why are some materials selected over others?

Paper proposals should consist of the following:
• Abstract of proposed paper (300 words maximum)
• Completed Participation Information Form available at:
• CV with mailing information and email address.

Meredith Cohen:
Kristine Tanton:

Information about the conference, including proposal submission forms,
may be found at

“Reassessing Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies: Representations of Secular Power in Word and Image” (Kalamazoo 2016)

k6168[1]Since its publication in 1957, Ernst Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two
Bodies has achieved canonical status in the field of medieval history.
This sweeping account of medieval political theology describes how the
king came to be perceived as a gemina persona, possessing both a “body
natural” (material and mortal) and a “body politic” (immaterial and
immortal). While art historians frequently cite the book in their
analyses of medieval iconography, many scholars have criticized
Kantorowicz’s study for a variety of perceived faults, in particular
for being reductive or anachronistic, as epitomized by its application
of an early modern (Tudor) political theory to earlier centuries. One
of the best-known and most pointed critiques came early on from R. W.
Southern, who accused it of “put[ting] the symbol before the reality.”

This session invites papers that critically engage with Kantorowicz’s
paradigm of the king’s two bodies in order to reassess its benefits
and/or limitations as a means of interpreting medieval texts and
images. The organizers conceive of this panel as an opportunity to
interrogate Kantorowicz’s methods and conclusions, to examine the
utility of the “two bodies” as a hermeneutic paradigm, and to consider
the implications of this provocative book for twenty-first-century

While all of the selected papers will address articulations of secular
power, a variety of approaches is possible. Questions and issues might
include: regional specificities in the expression of power; the
differentiation in the perception of power as embodied by female versus
male rulers; the conspicuous presence or conspicuous absence of sacred
references in courtly texts/images/objects; the formation of royal
identity and the legitimization of new or contested rulers; religious
language, symbolism, or imagery in diplomatics; the pragmatic and/or
legal function of images of power; shifts in imagery and meaning across
time; the role of likeness and naturalism (or, conversely, of
abstraction) in identity formation; etc. Submissions from historians
and art historians are encouraged.

Proposals should include the following:
1) a one-page abstract
2) a completed Participant Information Form (PIF)
3) a CV with email, mailing address, and phone number

Please forward proposals to the organizers:
Melanie Hanan, Fordham University,
Shannon L. Wearing, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, by 15 September 2015.