Monthly Archives: July 2016

CFP: Art and Ideology in the Twelfth-Century Western Mediterranean (NYC, 14 October 2016)

Call for Papers: Art and Ideology in the Twelfth-Century Western Mediterranean

A Symposium at Bard Graduate Center, New York City, 14 October 2016

Supported by the Trehan Fund for Islamic Art and Material Culture
co-sponsored by the Spain-North Africa Project

In the twelfth century, new powers emerged throughout the Western Mediterranean, from the Almohads of North Africa to the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. In the Iberian Peninsula, upstart rulers with broad ambitions emerged in both Muslim and Christian territories. New city-states appeared with the dissolution of the Almoravid Empire in al-Andalus, and older kingdoms, including Castile-León and Aragon, began massive expansions under rulers who claimed imperial titles. “Art and Ideology in the Twelfth-Century Mediterranean” explores how the rulers of this region deployed art (conceived in the broadest sense) to legitimate new claims, how they asserted their authority through the construction of palatial and liturgical spaces, and what kinds of objects their kingdoms produced, traded, or coveted. We will investigate how these rulers looked to imperial and caliphal precedents and rivals for models, how they elaborated on these models, and which communities of artisans and workmen they drew on.

The aim of the symposium is to consider art and ideology in the Western Mediterranean as an integrated region where culture and religio-political ideologies cut across the geographic, ethnic, and religious lines that are so often used to divide it. Art and material culture provide a powerful lens for considering and clarifying the sometimes-hidden connections in this region, since the movement of objects and craftsmen rarely ceased at the edges of the cultural zones and traditions later fostered and imposed by nation-state institutions and modern scholars. We will explore how examining the broader region affects our understanding of its component kingdoms, and, following recent scholarship, seek to establish a theoretical framework for understanding the imbricated world of the medieval Western Mediterranean.

The symposium will feature several keynote lectures by scholars who work on Sicily, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula from Christian and Islamic perspectives, followed by a panel of shorter papers by junior scholars. We welcome proposals of 20-minute papers for this panel from PhD students and those within three years of the PhD, considering these topics from any disciplinary perspective.

Potential topics for presentation include (but are not limited to) questions such as the following:

  • How were art and architecture deployed by rulers and aspiring rulers and their courts?
  • How are articulations of politico-religious power visible in architectural construction and decoration?
  • What artisanal communities participated in the production of new spaces and what was the nature of their relationship to political power and patronage?
  • How were legitimating strategies mirrored across cultural and political boundaries and how is this visible in material culture and its circulation?
  • How were old patterns adopted and transformed by those engaged in new political endeavors and projects?
  • How did groups not clearly associated with the dominant religious identities and evolving orthodoxies  (e.g. Jews, Mozarabs, and Kharijites) participate, and how was their cultural production affected by the political and demographic transformations of the twelfth century?
  • How did people who were traditionally marginalized, including slaves and women, participate in programs of cultural production?
  • How were new ideas of crusading/jihad manifested in material culture?

Please submit your 300-word proposals via emaito by Friday, July 29.

Final drafts for pre-circulation are due October 1.

CFP: The Virgin as Bridge: Cultural Exchange and Connection through Images of the Virgin Mary, ICMS, Kalamazoo, May 2017

CFP: The Virgin as Bridge: Cultural Exchange and Connection through Images of the Virgin Mary

International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 11-14 May 2017

Organizers: Diliana Angelova (University of California, Berkeley) and
Amanda Luyster (College of the Holy Cross)

Across the medieval Mediterranean and beyond, people of many faiths and backgrounds sought the succor of the miraculous virgin and mother, Mary. Christians venerated Mary as the holiest figure of Christianity after Christ, the one thanks to whom the divine mystery of the Incarnation was fulfilled. The Koran also hailed her as chosen by Allah. Converts to Christianity from paganism or Islam were often said to be motivated by their great love of the Virgin. Byzantine churches were incomplete without her image in the holiest of holies, the apse of the sanctuary. In the West, the grandest Gothic cathedrals rose in her honor. Objects such as the thirteenth-century Freer canteen, as well as shared shrines, suggest that Marian images could be appreciated by audiences professing different faiths. Images of the Virgin acted as a shared touchpoint between people of many different backgrounds, socio-economic strata, and faiths.

This panel invites 15-20 minute papers that focus on the capacity of the Virgin to act as a bridge or cultural mediator: between regions, between genders, between political factions and cities, and between belief systems. Panel participants could focus on representations of the Virgin as well as references to religious practices associated with images of the Virgin. Icons, cult centers, personal objects such as jewelry, metalwork more broadly, manuscripts, monumental sculpture, wall-painting, architecture, as well as practices associated with all of these, might be considered.

The deadline for paper proposals is September 15, 2016.

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 organizers, Diliana Angelova and Amanda Luyster, at and

All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions.

CONF: Journeys of the Soul: Multiple Topographies in the Camposanto of Pisa (Pisa, 1–2 September 2016)

Conference: Journeys of the Soul: Multiple Topographies in the Camposanto of Pisa

Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore
September 1-2 2016
Palazzo della Carovana, piazza dei Cavalieri 7, Sala Azzurra

Organizers: Michele Bacci (Université de Fribourg), David Ganz
(Universität Zürich), Rahel Meier (Kunsthistorisches Institut Florenz)

The construction of the Camposanto in Pisa, begun in the late 1270s, resulted in an innovative type of monumental cemetery. Generously dimensioned and surrounded by a prestigious shell of white marble, the new cemetery of the cathedral complemented both the dome and baptistery as a third monument of equal ranking. Placed directly beside one of the city gates, the cemetery complex constituted an astonishing Portal of the powerful seaport. Great artistic expenditure was continued on the inside: the high walls of the four wings were decorated with frescoes of heretofore unknown dimensions, thus creating one of the most impressive painted spaces of the Late Middle Ages. The Camposanto provided the municipal audiences with a place of burial which eclipsed that of the popular mendicant church cemeteries.

The aim of the conference is to illuminate the Camposanto venture as an innovative interaction between the two artistic mediums of architecture and mural painting and the funerary utilization of the space. The guiding concept of “Journey” allows us to consider perceptions of burial as an entry into an otherworldly Journey, as well as journeys to holy and otherworldly places, which are invoked in the iconographic program of the frescoes. Following this concept, the conference will focus on a long Pisan tradition of spatial interweaving of locations within the Mediterranean Region –  in particular the holy sites of Palestine – which were diversely linked to Pisa through overseas trade, by military participation in the crusades and through its position as starting point and place of passage for pilgrimages.

Recent research projects have emphatically illuminated a widely circulating practice of “site-relics” and “site-transfer” in the medieval West. Pilgrim’s ampoules with lamp oil and stones from the holy sites were media for the creation of composite places which superimposed the local topography and the Terra Sancta sites of memory. Transfer processes and the adoption of foreign locations were already abundant in the older constructions of the cathedral area in Pisa: the Dome itself was built on the occasion of the victory over the Saracens ruling in Sicily and to commemorate the seminal myth of the second Rome. The baptistery begun in the 11th Century cited the forms of the Anastasis in Jerusalem.

The project of the Camposanto can be understood as a further development of this topographic memory. In this context, the narratives about the sacred earth, which was allegedly spread throughout Camposanto, played a central role. The notion that sacred earth could be spread in a cemetery can be understood as an innovative advancement of older models of site transfer. Source evidence suggest that these legends were greatly enriched over the centuries, although they already circulated in nuce at the time the cemetery was founded. These stories also motivated the innovative designation of a cemetery as „campus sanctus“. It is a key purpose of the conference to consider the interplay between the sacred substance of earth, the fictive spaces within the murals and the burial practices within the cemetery.

Thursday, September 1
09:00    Greetings
09.10    Introduction by Michele Bacci (Fribourg) and David Ganz (Zurich)

09:30    Neta Bodner (Jerusalem): A Reading of the Camposanto’s Role among the Monuments of the ‘Piazza’
10:30    Margherita Orsero (Lausanne): La parete dipinta sulla piazza: sequenze, strati pittorici, incongruenze
11:30    Coffee break
12:00    Lorenzo Carletti (Pisa) and Francesca Polacci (Siena): Senza cornice: lo spazio dell’arte negli affreschi del Camposanto tra ricezione e storia materiale
13:00    Lunch break
14:30 Visit to the Camposanto (Carlo Giantomassi/Donatella Zari)

16:00    Rahel Meier (Florence): Between Flesh and Blood. The Early Construction History of the Camposanto in Pisa and its Relation to the so-called Terra Santa Legend
17:00    Coffee break
17:30    David Ganz (Zurich): Sacred Earth, Panoramatic Spaces. The Early Fresco Decoration of the Campo Santo

Friday, September 2
10:00    Friederike Wille (Berlin): “Mirandoti intorno”: Visual evidences in Campus sanctus
11:00     Coffee break
11:30     Alessandra Malquori (Florence): L’immagine della morte e l’edificazione attraverso l’immagine nelle Storie degli anacoreti del Camposanto di Pisa
12:30    Lunch break
14:00    Visit to the Laboratorio di Campaldo (Carlo Giantomassi/Donatella Zari)
16:00    Roundtable discussion with Michele Bacci (Fribourg), Ottavio Banti (Pisa), Antonio Caleca (Pisa), Chiara Frugoni (Pisa), David Ganz (Zurich), and Mauro Ronzani (Pisa)
17:00    Coffee break
17:30    Conclusion by Michele Bacci
18.00    End of Conference

CFP: Light and Darkness in Medieval Art, 1200–1450, ICMS, Kalamazoo, May 2017

Call for Papers: Light and Darkness in Medieval Art, 1200–1450 (I–II)

International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 11-14 May 2017

Sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art

(Convenors: Stefania Gerevini and Tom Nickson)

Separation of Light and Dark, Sarajevo HaggadahLight has occupied an increasingly prominent role in medieval studies in recent years. Its perceptual and epistemic significance in the period 1200-1450 has been scrutinized in several specialised research projects, and the changing ways in which light and light-effects are rendered and produced in the arts of the Middle Ages, particularly in Byzantium and Islam, are routinely evoked in literature. However, scholarship on these topics remains fragmented, especially for the Gothic period, and comparative approaches are seldom attempted. New technologies of virtual reconstruction and changing fashions of museum display make it an opportune moment to consider these issues in a more systematic manner.

These two sessions will investigate how perceptions of light and darkness informed the ways in which art across Europe and the Mediterranean was produced, viewed and understood in the period 1200–1450. In the late 12th century a key set of optical writings was translated from Arabic into Latin, providing new theoretical paradigms for addressing questions of physical sight and illumination across Europe. At this time theologies of light also gained renewed popularity in the eastern Mediterranean – particularly as a result of the Hesychast controversy in Byzantium, and in connection with Sufi notions of divine illumination in Islam. What correlations can be traced between theories of optics, theologies of light, practices of illumination, and modes of viewing in the Middle Ages? Are there similarities in the ways different religious or cultural communities conceptualised light and used it in everyday life or ritual settings?

These sessions invite specialists of Christian, Islamic and Jewish art and culture to explore the status of light in broader discourses around visuality, visibility and materiality; the interconnections between conceptualizations of light and coeval attitudes towards objectivity and naturalism; and the ways in which light can articulate political, social or divine authority and hierarchies. The session will also welcome papers that address such broad methodological questions as: can the investigation of light in art prompt reconsideration of well established periodizations and interpretative paradigms of art history? How was the dramatic interplay between light and obscurity exploited in the secular and religious architecture of Europe and the medieval Mediterranean in order to organise space, direct viewers and convey meaning? How carefully were light effects taken into account in the display of images and portable objects, and how does consideration of luminosity, shadow and darkness hone our understanding of the agency of medieval objects? Finally, to what extent is light’s ephemeral and fleeting nature disguised by changing fashions of display and technologies of reproduction, and – crucially – how do these affect our ability to apprehend and explain medieval approaches to light?

Proposals for 20 min papers should include an abstract (max.250 words) and brief CV. Proposals should be submitted by 16 September 2016 to the session organizers: Stefania Gerevini ( and Tom Nickson ( Thanks to a generous grant from the Kress Foundation, funds may be available to defray travel costs of speakers in ICMA-sponsored sessions up to a maximum of $600 ($1200 for transatlantic travel). If available, the Kress funds are allocated for travel and hotel only. Speakers in ICMA sponsored sessions will be refunded only after the conference, against travel receipts.

CFP: Monumental Failures (Session, International Congress on Medieval Studies)

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.15.50 PMCall for Papers: Monumental Failures

International Congress on Medieval Studies

May 11-14, 2017

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan

International Center for Medieval Art, Student Committee

In 1284, part of the choir of Beauvais cathedral dramatically collapsed during construction. This event would go on to alter the plan of one of the most ambitious building projects of the Middle Ages. Like Beauvais, greater and lesser failures throughout the Middle Ages served as the inspiration, motivation, and impetus for artistic change and development. Given the nature of failure, unsuccessful creations do not always leave a lasting mark. Nevertheless, the impact of failure is evident in subsequent artistic creation. Because of this relative obscurity, “failure” has seldom been explored in a field focused on the great artistic achievements of the past.

We hope to address this lacuna by offering an opportunity for young scholars to present research on the less-than- successful endeavors of medieval artisans, both large and small. We invite papers engaging with various incarnations of failure (alteration, incompletion, destruction, rejection, collapse, etc.) as approaches to artistic production or interpretation.

The Student Committee of the International Center for Medieval Art involves and advocates for all members of the ICMA with student status and facilitates communication and mentorship between student and non-student members.

To propose a paper, please send a 300 word abstract, C.V., and completed Congress Participant Information Form (available here: to Dustin Aaron ( and Katherine Werwie (

Deadline: September 10

CFP: Ritual, Performance, and the Senses (AVISTA Medieval Graduate Student Symposium, March 23-24, 2017)

Call for Papers: Ritual, Performance, and the Senses
AVISTA Medieval Graduate Student Symposium
University of North Texas
March 23-24, 2017

Deadline: 1 February 2017

The proliferation of images painted onto monumental structures, the illuminations of manuscripts, the intricacies of ivory carvings and the construction of architectural sculpture in the Medieval Period evince a highly visual culture. As such, medieval scholars have focused heavily on visual reception theory to ascertain the role of the visual within the fabric of medieval society.  Key to many studies is the pivotal role of rituals within the society, particularly in terms of how the medieval person would have absorbed their culture, namely the other senses. As performances would have involved not only the visual, but also the tactile, the aural, gustatory and olfactory, the combination of the sensory experience created a transitory environment within – or outside – the architectural structures that delineated the medieval world.

Ritual and the beginning of performative drama not only created a sensory experience but served to support pre-conceived societal distinctions. From the most exclusive performance, the mass, to the most public ritual, the intercity procession, rituals both enforced and challenged the social barriers of the time. As such, the development of rituals have a history all their own, from the most mundane acts of lay piety shown through blessings, to dramas focused on the lives of the saints and the life of Christ, to the most important feast days, and to the imperial rituals associated with the temporal sphere. Rituals were not confined only to the monastic or ecclesiastical environments, but permeated all segments of society.

The 2017 AVISTA Medieval Graduate Student Symposium at the University of North Texas invites papers from all disciplines and all medieval eras on any topic, but preferences those that address topics of ritual, performance, or sensual experience. Such topics may include but are not limited to:

  • The interconnected use of the senses
  • Ritual history
  • The notion of Medieval Performance Art
  • Lay ritual/noble ritual
  • Manuscript as a performance
  • Sensual props, cues, and rubrications
  • Societal divisions created by rituals
  • Architecture as stage and backdrop
  • Processional routes/pilgrimages
  • Music and sensual stimulation
  • The archaeology of the senses
  • Landscape and topography of performance
  • The language of the senses
  • Sensual cosmology
  • Sensual deprecations

Send papers to: Dr. Mickey Abel (

Conference: The Rood in Britain and Ireland c.900-c.1500 (University of York)

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.51.31 PM2-3 September 2016

King’s Manor, University of York

Keynote Speaker: Dr Julian Luxford, Reader in History of Art, University of St Andrews


The rood – understood as the cross itself, and/or the image of Christ crucified – was central to the visual and devotional culture of medieval Christianity. By the late middle ages, a rood was present in monumental form, either painted or sculpted, at the east end of the nave of every church. Yet roods in numerous other forms could be found in ecclesiastical contexts: as images, in various sizes and media – in manuscript illumination, on textiles, and in stained glass. Images of the rood were also to be found within domestic, civic, and military contexts, from the bedroom to the battlefield.

Following recent scholarship that has focused on early medieval roods (Sancta Crux/Halig Rodseries, 2004-2010), and considered monumental roods on the Continent (Jacqueline Jung’s The Gothic Screen, 2013), this conference will bring together established academics, early career and emerging scholars, to share new research and foster debate on the forms and functions of images of the rood in Britain and Ireland c.900-c.1500.


Friday 2nd September:
11:30 – 12:50 Session 1
Dr Jane Hawkes (York): Approaching the Anglo-Saxon Sculpted Stone Cross: Rood, Crucifix, Icon?

Heidi Stoner (York): Viking Crucifixion: The Development of the Iconography of the Rood in the Insular World

14:00 -15:20 Session 2
Dr Meg Boulton (York): The Place of the Cross: (re)assessing the Iconography and Significance of Two Late Saxon Roods

Dr Kate Thomas (York): Praying Before the Cross in the Late Anglo-Saxon Church

15:50 – 17:10 Session 3
Sara Carreño López (Santiago de Compostela): Stone Crosses in Public Spaces: Irish, British, and Galician Cases

Dr Małgorzata Krasnodębska-D’Aughton (University College Cork): The Cross of Death and Life: Franciscan Ideologies in Late Medieval Ireland

17:30 Keynote Lecture
Dr Julian Luxford (St Andrews): Answering Crosses: The Rood and Relativity in Post-Conquest England

Saturday 3rd September:
10:00 – 11:20 Session 4
Dr Lucy Wrapson (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge): Heralding the Rood: Material Hierarchies on Late Medieval English Rood Screens

Dr Philippa Turner (York): The Rood in the Late Medieval English Cathedral: The Black Rood of Scotland Reassessed

11:50 – 13:10 Session 5
Dr Zachary Stewart (Columbia): Roods, Screens and Spatial Dynamics in the Late Medieval English Parish Church

Sarah Cassell (University of East Anglia): Framing the Rood: Fifteenth-Century Angel Roofs and the Rood in East Anglia

14:10 – 15:30 Session 6
Daniel Smith (University of Kent): The Rood and the Doom: Interconnections between the Passion and the Last Judgement in Late Medieval Text and Image

Dr Hollie Morgan (University of Lincoln): ‘As I Lay Me Down to Sleep’: In Bed With Jesus in Late Medieval England

15:30 – 16:15 Roundtable Discussion

For registration and more information, see: