The Paul Mellon Centre has now released seven episodes of a new podcast series, British Art Talks, which are permanently available across our website, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Each episode features new research and aims to enhance and expand knowledge of British art and architecture. Please see the full list of episodes below.
Medieval related podcasts include:
“What Will Survive Of Us Is Love”: Memory And Emotion In Late-Medieval England, Jessica Barker
Jessica Barker explores the gesture of joined hands on medieval tomb monuments. Medieval tombs often depict husband and wife lying hand-in-hand, immortalised in elegantly carved stone: what Philip Larkin would later describe in his celebrated poem, An Arundel Tomb, as their ‘stone fidelity’.
These gestural monuments seem to belong to a broader tendency towards ‘expressivity’ in late-medieval sculpture. Whereas the figures on Romanesque portals stare back at the viewer impassively, their Gothic counterparts beam with radiant smiles, wipe away bitter tears or grimace and gurney with uncontrolled rage. The nature and significance of this shift has been much debated in recent years, in particular the extent to which the heightened representation of emotion was designed to provoke an equivalent emotional response.
This talk explores these ideas through the gesture of joined hands on medieval tomb monuments. I first address the issue of why hand-joining tombs are almost entirely restricted to a fifty-year period in England, before going on to place these amorous effigies in dialogue with wedding rings and dresses, changes to matrimonial ritual, and the new economic opportunities offered to widows. What emerges is the careful artifice beneath their seductive emotional surfaces: the artistic, religious, political and legal agendas underlying the medieval rhetoric of married love.
Listen the podcast to here.
The English Carthusians And The Art Of Abstinence, Julian Luxford
Julian Luxford discusses the art and architectural dimensions of Carthusian life. The Carthusian order was founded in the late eleventh century in France. It spread rapidly and widely, and experienced great popularity during the later Middle Ages, when dozens of new charterhouses were founded against a background of sharp decline in monastic foundation in general. The main reason for Carthusian popularity was the order’s consistent adherence to the eremitic precepts and form of living established by its founding fathers. Manifest holiness generated a powerful reputation and patronage to match. The Carthusians also proved adaptable, managing to integrate into urban environments from the thirteenth century onwards without seriously compromising their principles.
This talk covers the art and architectural dimensions of Carthusian life with particular reference to the ten foundations of the order’s English Province. While these monasteries are all largely destroyed, enough survives to give a clear picture of the distinctive layout and elevation of their essential buildings and the sorts of embellishment they received. A fairy large number of Carthusian books and documents has also come down to us, some containing illumination, drawings and seals. Examples of this material that illustrate Carthusian ritual, customs and spirituality will be selected for discussion.
Listen to the podcast here.
Over the upcoming weeks questions are invited for the British Art Talks speakers related to the topics of their podcasts. Email or submit a question via social media and answers will be published on the Paul Mellon Centre website on the dates below:
Friday 3 July
Friday 17 July
Find out more information about all the podcasts here.