CFP:  ‘Art Binds Communities in Medieval Europe’, IMC Leeds 2023, deadline 22 September 2022

“L’opera non sta mai da sola, è sempre un rapporto” (The artwork never stays alone, it is always a relationship). This enlightening sentence by the Italian art historian Roberto Longhi (1950) emphasizes how every artwork is embedded in a network of relationships with other artworks and the social context where it is placed.

Since Joachim Wollash (1965), medieval historians have already formulated the category of “Verbände” (associations) or “Verbandsbildung” (creation of associations) for monastic orders. However, art historians can helpfully extend this concept to the relationships between artworks and demonstrate how they materially express and reinforce networks (“Verbände”) not only within monastic orders but in all kinds of communities, both religious and lay.

We aim to organise two sessions intended to investigate how entanglements among medieval artworks, here understood broadly (book illuminations, paintings, sculptures, buildings, etc…) channelled existing social networks within communities, e.g., monastic, and mendicant orders, lay confraternities, guilds and foreigners sharing the same homeland.

Papers will focus on cases that analyse the production, organization, and decoration of either sacred spaces or objects in different areas of Medieval Europe as vehicle for relationships, for reflection of the attachment of people to places and culture, and for the creation of a new shared history that transcends differences.

Papers on any topic regarding these issues in Christian western and eastern areas c. 300–1500 (Late Antiquity to International Gothic) are welcome. The fields where these themes may be addressed may include, but are not limited to:
– Spatial networks, architecture, and liturgical installations
– Patronage
– Artistic practices
– Circulation of objects, models, and artists
– Iconographic and/or stylistic entanglements

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words along with your short CV and the information below (required by IMC) by 22 September 2022 to Gianluca del Monaco (, Fabio Massaccesi (, and Maddalena Vaccaro (

Information to include with abstract and short CV:
• Full name
• Email address
• Postal address
• Telephone number
• Affiliation details (department, institution)
• Title (e.g. Dr, Ms, Mr, Mx, Professor etc)

Organized by: Gianluca del Monaco (Università di Bologna), Fabio Massaccesi (Università di Bologna), Maddalena Vaccaro (Università degli Studi di Salerno).


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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