Gold Against the Body: Gold Surfaces and Their Limits, Medieval to Early Modern
Alison Wright, UCL
5:00pm, 43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD
The myth, famously invoked in Goldfinger, of the human body suffocated by being coated in gold exemplifies the fascination and danger attached to the idea of an ‘excess’ of gold, especially in respect to human skin. In this lecture the slippery boundaries of when, where and for whom gold surfaces might be deemed excessive will be explored in relation to European art, especially Italian, of the 14th to early 16th centuries. The discussion of gold in representation is generally dominated for this period by Alberti’s overturning of the value of gilding on the painted surface. This talk will argue rather for the multiple economies of gold in art with reference to broader visual and material traditions, and focus especially on gold’s complex relation to the human body.
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.
The Murray Seminar series will continue next autumn term.