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This conference seeks to explore the ways in which women patronised and interacted with monasteries and religious houses during the late Middle Ages, how they commissioned devotional and commemorative art for monastic settings, and the ways in which these donations were received and understood by their intended audiences. The artistic donations of lay patrons to religious institutions has become a fruitful area of study in recent years, but the specific role played by women in these networks of patronage has been subject to less thorough scrutiny. Similarly too, the interests of female patrons have often been considered separately from the contexts of the places to which they made their donations, without a thorough consideration of their very different status from their male counterparts and how this shaped their pursuit for commemoration and memorial after death and their reception as patrons by monastic houses and religious institutions.
The speakers will consider these issues and to think about the placement of objects and works of art commissioned by women within religious buildings, the devotional practices and beliefs of various religious orders, the physical materials of donations, and the ways in which female patrons situated themselves within monastic spaces. Was there a dialogue between these benefactors and the religious institutions they patronised? What can such donations tell us about the role and position of women in late medieval society and the ways in which they used religious patronage to articulate their own status? By examining a category of patrons that was clearly highly aware of a variety of devotional and commemorative practices, this conference seeks to gain a better understanding of art commissioned for monasteries by female lay donors, and how this more broadly reflects the position of women in late-medieval Europe.
10:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks – Nicholas Flory (The Courtauld)
10:05 PANEL 1: Chapels and Devotion – Session chaired by Charlotte Wytema (The Courtauld)
Dr. Giorgia Mancini (University of Cambridge) – At the heart of devotion in fifteenth century Ferrara: female donors in San Giorgio fuori le Mura
Maria Lesimple (University of Grenoble-Alpes/LUHCIE) – Margaret of Austria’s ‘Treasure of Brou’: between Arts, Religion and Politics
Yeidy Rosa (University of Durham) – Hidden and Revealed: Women’s Power, Family Feuds and Jewish-Muslim-Christian Relations through a recently uncovered mural of the Lamentation in the Cathedral of Albarracín
11:05 Discussion – Chaired by Charlotte Wytema (The Courtauld)
11:45 PANEL 2: Patronage choices – Session chaired by Jessica Gasson (The Courtauld)
Dr. Mija Oter Gorenčič (France Stele Institute of Art History) –Women as Benefactors and Art Patrons in Male Medieval Cistercian and Carthusian Monasteries in Present-Day Slovenia
Dr. Diana Lucía Gómez-Chacón (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) – Beyond the Realms of Castile. Queenship, Devotion and Artistic Patronage in the times of Queen Violante of Aragon (1236-1300/01)
12:25 Discussion – Chaired by Jessica Gasson (The Courtauld)
14:15 PANEL 3 Dynastic Concerns – Session chaired by Bella Radenovic (The Courtauld)
Iliana Kandzha (Central European University) – Wives and Widows in aMonastic Space: Kunigunde of Austria (1465-1520) and the Carthusian Monasteru of Prüll
Isabel Barros Felix (Université Catholique de Louvain) – The funerary monument of prince Afonso of Portugal (1390-1400): A 15th century commission by duchess Isabel of Portugal (1397-1471)?
Dr. Richard A. Leson (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) – “Remembering Enguerrand of Coucy”: Jeanne of Flanders’ Memorial Campaigns at Longpont and Laon
15:15 Discussion – Led by Bella Radenovic (The Courtauld)
16:00 PANEL 4 Objects of Devotion – Session chaired by Susannah Kingwill (The Courtauld)
Dr. Bryony Coombs(University of Edinburgh) –Devotion in Text and Stone: Female Authority and Agency in Margaret of Scotland’s Foundation of a Royal Chapel at Thouars and her ‘Speciosissimas’ Book of Hours
Dr. Joni M. Hand (Southeast Missouri State University) – Playing by the “Rule”: Monastic Order and Identity in the Psalter of Bonne of Luxembourg
Amy Neff, Professor Emerita (University of Tennessee) and Anne Derbes, Professor Emerita (Hood College) – Which Remarkable Woman? The Passion Altarpiece for Santa Clara, Palma de Majorca
17:00 Discussion – Led by Susannah Kingwill (The Courtauld)
17:30 Closing Remarks