CFP: ‘The Traces of the Colorful Souls: Visual & Material Arts in the Chromatic Middle Ages’, 2-4 March 2022, Madrid, deadline: 1 February 2022

Organised by: Medieval Colors Network. Universidad Complutense de Madrid (CAPIRE Research Group), Freie Universität Berlin, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Università di Bologna, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Helsingin Yliopisto.

In recent years, the research of the chromatic reality of the Middle Ages has received increasing attention from specialists in different academic disciplines. Fortunately, the vision of a dark and monochrome Middle Ages – propagated by nineteenth-century historiography – is gradually being banished from the collective imagination thanks to important actions for the transfer of scientific knowledge in the media, informative books, and fiction creations. A large number of medieval artworks that are preserved today in museums, cathedrals, or churches bring us to the present time important data about the technical composition or the material creation processes associated with colors. Likewise, the understanding of the different dimensions of medieval colors has important implications that go beyond the purely material and are connected with the sensory experience of medieval men, true colorful souls whose life experience connects the use of certain colors with emotional and sensory values.

The Conference ‘The Traces of the Colorful Souls: Visual & Material Arts in the Chromatic Middle Ages’ aspires to become a meeting point and a forum for reflection on medieval colors and their importance in the life of the time (Art History, Aesthetics, Technology, Sensory Studies, Philosophy, Restoration, Artistic Technology, Linguistics, Psychology, Optics, etc.) trying to promote a more complete vision of the colorful souls of the Middle Ages. For this reason, a series of thematic lines are proposed around which different conferences and free communication sessions will revolve, all having as their central concept color in the Middle Ages:

  • The artistic and documentary dimension of medieval colors, traceable through documentary sources, treatises, artist’s books, as well as evidence of chromatic uses in the diversity of the arts.
  • The material dimension of medieval colors, evoked through the study of pigments, materials, dyes, and chromatic elements that served to give color to different artifacts and works.
  • The technical dimension of medieval colors, materialized in the plurality of uses in numerous artistic media and supports, such as illuminated manuscripts, polychrome in stone, wood, panel, or canvas, as well as the study of color in the diversity of the sumptuary arts, such as stained glass, enamels, ceramics, mosaics or textiles.
  • The symbolic dimension of medieval colors, reflected in the social and extra-semantic uses and values ​​conferred on the chromaticism of spaces, clothes, and objects for daily or festive use, both in the sacred space and in every day or court environment.

The paper proposals are to be sent by participants to the Organized Committee before February 1st 2022 in English, French, Italian or Spanish, through an online form.

The Conference will take place in Madrid (Spain) and the communicators must be able to manage their own journey to the event.


Published by Dr Julia Faiers

Julia Faiers received her PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2021. She wrote her thesis on the art patronage of Louis d’Amboise, bishop of Albi from 1474 to 1503, under the supervision of Professor Kathryn Rudy. Her postdoctoral research includes the nineteenth-century reception of medieval art and architecture, and late-medieval female art patronage in France. Julia gained a First Class Honours degree in art history at the University of St Andrews (1995). She won a British Academy Award to study for her MA in German Expressionism at The Courtauld under the supervision of Dr Shulamith Behr (1997), and spent almost twenty years working as a journalist before returning to academia in 2016.

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