18th Jan Zsofia Buda ‘The Lady with the book and the closed curtain: iconographical peculiarities in a 15th-century Jewish service book for Passover’ discusses some unusual illustrations in a South German Jewish service book for Passover, finding among other things some surprising similarities with Christian iconography
22 Feb Laura Jacobus ‘”Mea culpa?” Penitence, Enrico Scrovegni and me’ The Arena Chapel in Padua was until very recently thought to be commissioned as an act of restitution for usury, and its frescoes by Giotto as an expression of penitence on the part of the patron Enrico Scrovegni. That view has now been challenged by Laura Jacobus and others. But two of her recent discoveries have the potential to reinforce the established view and undermine her own. What happens when a researcher uncovers inconvenient truths, and what is to be done?
15th March Péter Bokody ‘The Politicization of Rape: Giotto’s Allegory of Injustice in Padua’ suggests that the allegory of Injustice in the Arena Chapel (Padua) by Giotto and the allegory of War in the Palazzo Pubblico (Siena) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti are key allegorical images of rape which can offer critical and politicized representations of sexual violence without sanitizing or eroticizing the act. Their unparalleled representations of sexual violence have implications for a general history of rape and the visual culture of late-medieval Italy.
All this term’s seminars take place in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library) at 5pm. Talks finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and are then followed by discussion and refreshments. We hope to see you there.