Conference: ‘(In)Materiality in Medieval Art’, 14th Jornadas Complutenses de Arte Medieval, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 11th and 12th November 2021

Ovid’s aphorism ‘Materiam superabat opus’, evoked throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, reveals the special consideration given to skill, technique and craft in the artistic creation processes. Thus, ingenuity and mastery have been privileged qualities in our approach to works of art, according to a restricted vision assumed by Art History as a discipline. However, both the aesthetic reflections and the documents related to artistic commissions in the Middle Ages show the great importance given to the material and sensory aspects of artefacts and monuments. In line with this perception, once again valued in light of the material turn of the discipline in the last decades, the 14th Jornadas Complutenses de Arte Medieval propose to focus on materiality as an essential factor in the artistic production, as well as on the poetics of immateriality and the intangible condition of the aesthetic experience.

Beyond the technical analyses, which in recent decades have allowed us to reconsider common places in the study of the medieval artistic production, this congress aims to establish transversal debates in order to open up new perspectives. In this sense, the material conditions of artistic production (properties, supply, cost, transport or technology, among others), as well as their reflection in the written sources –from technical treatises to documentary and literary references– will be discussed. On the other hand, the congress will address issues related to the sensorial features of the medieval works of art and their relationship with intangible aspects, such as the material and chromatic qualities, the incidence of light, the acoustic and olfactory effects, and the impact of the natural environment. The poetics of the materials, their meaningful uses, and the symbolic values ​​of the immaterial will have room in the debates. Likewise, it will be of interest to consider new interpretative concepts, such as transmateriality and transmediality, which may include the morphological transformation of elements across different materials, the transfer and circulation of ornamental patterns, or the physical traces of mental, invisible or transient phenomena. Contributions that address non-hegemonic and / or under-treated practices and media in historiography are especially welcomed.

Proposed topics:

– Material conditions of artistic creation.

– Underrated practices and media.

– Poetics and semantic uses of the material and the intangible.

– Cultural history of materials.

– Sensoriality and immateriality.

– Transmateriality and transmediality.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Miquel Àngel Capellà Galmés (Universitat de les Illes Balears), Vincent Debiais (CRH – Centre national de la recherche scientifique), Beate Fricke (Universität Bern), Ruggero Longo (Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte), María Teresa López de Guereño Sanz (Universidad Autónona de Madrid), José Miguel Puerta Vílchez (Universidad de Granada), Laura Rodríguez Peinado (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Elisabetta Scirocco (Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte), Noelia Silva Santa-Cruz (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Ana Suárez González (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela), Jorge Tomás García (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).

Click here to register.

Published by charlottecook

Charlotte Cook graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in European History from Washington & Lee University in 2019. In 2020 she received her Master’s degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, earning the classification of Merit. Her research explores questions of royal patronage, both by and in honor of rulers, in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England. She has worked as a researcher and collections assistant at several museums and galleries, and plans to begin her PhD in the autumn of 2022.

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