Author Archives: janagajdos

Book roundup: The Art and Architecture of the Cistercians in Northern England, c.1300-1540, by Michael Carter


The Art and Architecture of the Cistercians in Northern England, c.1300-1540

Author: Michael Carter

Publisher: Brepols

2019, c. 328 pages
ISBN: 978-2-503-58193-4
Retail price: EUR 100,00 excl. tax

A major reappraisal of the art and architecture of the Cistercians in the late Middle Ages.

The Cistercian abbeys of northern England provide some of the finest monastic remains in all of Europe, and much has been written on their twelfth- and thirteenth-century architecture. The present study is the first in-depth analysis of the art and architecture of these northern houses and nunneries in the late Middle Ages, and questions many long-held opinions about the Order’s perceived decline during the period c.1300–1540. Extensive building works were conducted between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries at well-known abbeys such as Byland, Fountains, Kirkstall, and Rievaulx, and also at lesser-known houses including Calder and Holm Cultram, and at many convents of Cistercian nuns. This study examines the motives of Cistercian patrons and the extent to which the Order continued to enjoy the benefaction of lay society.

Featuring over a hundred illustrations and eight colour plates, this book demonstrates that the Cistercians remained at the forefront of late medieval artistic developments, and also shows how the Order expressed its identity in its visual and material cultures until the end of the Middle Ages.


Conference: Innovation in Stone: Medieval Stone Sculpture from the Van Horne Collection, Sam Fogg, London, April 26th, 2019

19155_detail.jpgA symposium to be held in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Innovation in Stone: Medieval Stone Sculpture from the Van Horne Collection’ at Sam Fogg (April 26th, 2019; 4:00 – 6:00 pm).

The exhibition presents stone sculpture, gathered together over several decades by the New York collectors Alexandra and Charles van Horne. Formerly occupying prominent places in other well-known collections, the works reflect van Horne’s fascination with objects that bear a resemblance to modern art of the early 20th century. There are the Romanesque ‘Picassos’, Celtic ‘Modiglianis’ and ancient ‘Henry Moores,’ and a wealth of research material that visualises the links between modernism and medieval art, which modernist artists themselves emphasised.

This emphasis is also reflected in the symposium, which examines stone sculpture from the 12th-century, a time when innovation and curiosity dominated the architectural and sculptural world. There was a tension with and an awareness of the classical past and an anticipation of change, which would be realised in the Gothic period, and it is within this dichotomy that the Van Horne collection is situated. The changes to architecture and sculpture in the 12th century allowed the art of the Middle Ages to let go of its grip on the ancient past and confidently look forward to its own distinctive style. The sculpted heads and architectural fragments, presented together publicly for the first time in the accompanying exhibition, originate in some of the most innovative and influential sites of 12th- and 13th-century Europe: Cluny, Toulouse, Paris, Parthenay. Having been separated from their context, they invite us to imagine the extraordinary sites in which they were invented, and the innovative sculptors who created them.

The lectures and discussions will be followed by a drinks reception and the opening of the exhibition in the gallery on Clifford Street.


4:00 Introduction

4:10 Medieval Sculpture in Multiples: Illuminating Riddles for the Perplexed

(Charles Little, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

4:35 Focillon’s Jongleur or How to Define Creativity in Twelfth-Century Sculpture

(Alexandra Gajewski, Burlington Magazine)

5:00 Discussion

5:10 In-conversation with Charles van Horne

5:40 Discussion

5:50 Concluding Remarks and Introduction to the Show

6:00 Drinks Reception and Exhibition Opening in Clifford Street

Please register on EVENTBRITE. Contact for any further questions.

Lecture: ‘The Battle of Maps: Ottoman-Habsburg antagonism as mirrored in their cartography’, Ferdinand Opll (27th April, 2018, 5pm)


Please join the Architecture, Space and Society Centre (ASSC) for Prof. Ferdinand Opll’s lecture on April 27th at 5pm in the Keynes Library, School of Arts, Birkbeck, 43 Gordon Square.

The Battle of Maps: Ottoman-Habsburg antagonism as mirrored in their cartography (15th – 16th century)

The paper will compare parallel trends in the development of Eastern (Islamic) and Western (Christian) cartography from the Early Middle Ages up to the Early Modern Times. This will lay the basis for a deeper understanding of the use of cartography as a tool in the context of the long-lasting political antagonism and territorial struggles between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs – the Muslim and Christian arch-opponents of the 15th and especially the 16th century. The paper will focus on reciprocal influences as well as deep diversities concerning (carto)graphical evolution in these two opposing camps. This comparative view will shine an interesting new light on the encounters of these two world powers of the Early Modern era and through a prism of oft marginalised medium of mapmaking.

Ferdinand Opll is Honorary Professor of Medieval History and Historical Auxiliary Sciences at the University of Vienna. He is a distinguished, awarded-winning historian and archivist who has authored and co-authored many landmark publications on Vienna’s history and topography. An able and dynamic administrator, as well as scholar, Ferdinand Opll has shaped a number of important institutions: he was the director of the Vienna Municipal and Provincial Archives (Wiener Statdt- und Landesarchiv) between 1989 and 2010; the leader of the Institute Municipal Historical Research of the Ludwig Boltzmann Society (Institut für Stadtgeschichtsforschung der Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft) between 2002-2009, and the general secretary of the Society for the History of Vienna (Verein für Geschichte der Stadt Wien) between 1989-1991. He is an active member of the International Commission for History of Towns.

Conference: Romanesque conference at Cuxa (les journées romanes de Cuxa), July 10 -14, 2017

2017-02-28-2This theme for this year’s Romanesque conference at Cuxa (les journées romanes de Cuxa) is the art and architecture of the great abbeys. Papers are in French and are given in the former west range of the abbey of Saint-Michel de Cuxa, according to the programme below. Booking forms can be downloaded – or via email on

Semaine de conférences et de visites, à Saint-Michel de Cuxa (Codalet, Pyrénées-Orientales, France)

Lundi 10 juillet, ouverture :

Michel Lauwers, Université Côte d’Azur, CEPAM (Nice)
Les complexes monastiques de l’Occident médiéval, laboratoires de représentations et de pratiques spatiales singulières

[2017, année Puig i Cadafalch]
Olivier Poisson, association culturelle de Cuxa
Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867-1956) et Cuxa

visite de l’abbaye : Caroline de Barrau, Olivier Poisson, Emmanuel Garland

Mardi 11 juillet

Christian Sapin, directeur de recherche émérite au CNRS
De Saint-Riquier à Vézelay, l’apport de l’archéologie à la connaissance des monastères

Neil Stratford, membre de l’Institut
Cluny III: autels, choeur liturgique, sépultures

Eliane Vergnolle, professeur honoraire, Université de Franche-Comté
Le chœur de Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire : programme monumental, mise en scène des reliques et liturgie monastique

Christian Gensbeitel, maître de conférences, Université Bordeaux Montaigne
L’église du prieuré clunisien Saint-Eutrope de Saintes, entre culte des reliques et vie monastique.

Maddalena Vaccaro, Università degli studi di Salerno (Italie)
Sous les pieds de la communauté du Mont-Cassin (Montecassino) : espaces architecturaux et décors des pavements.

Mercredi 12 juillet

excursion et visite : abbaye de Lagrasse (Aude), Andréas Hartmann-Virnich, Christian Markiewicz, Nelly Pousthomis,

conférence sur place : Anna Orriols, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Entre souvenir et prestige. Commémorations visuelles dans les abbayes catalanes (XI-XII siècles).

Jeudi 13 juillet

John McNeill, University of Oxford (Grande-Bretagne)
Trois grands monastères clunisiens en Angleterre: Lewes, Castle Acre et Wenlock

Pio Pistilli, Università di Roma “La Sapienza” (Italie)
Architecture bénédictine au Sud de l’Empire. L’adaptation de l’église abbatiale de Farfa à l’époque préromane.

Cécile Treffort, Université de Poitiers, CESCM
Fonder, construire, consacrer une abbaye en Poitou et Saintonge à l’époque romane

Andreas Hartmann-Virnich, Heike Hansen, Aix-Marseille Université (LA3M), Götz Echtenacher, architecte
A la recherche du chœur perdu : Saint-Gilles-du-Gard et Montmajour

17h communications de jeunes chercheurs :

Marie-Pierre Bonetti, doctorante, Aix Marseille Université (LA3M)
Entre innovation et tradition, deux siècles d’architecture romane à l’abbaye Saint-Victor de Marseille.

Anaël Vignet, doctorant, université de Poitiers
L’abbaye de Saint-Amant-de-Boixe

Julie Gonzalez, Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (LITEM)
L’iconographie de l’Enfer et des gueules dévorantes au Moyen Âge. Histoire
d’une forme et de sa représentation.

18h Assemblée générale de l’Association culturelle de Cuxa

Vendredi 14 juillet

matin : excursion/visite : Saint-Martin du Canigou, Olivier Poisson

après-midi :

Marc Sureda Jubany, musée épiscopal de Vic (Catalogne)
La liturgie dans l’abbaye romane : Santa Maria de Ripoll

Scott Brown, University of North Florida (États-Unis)
Amat d’Oloron à l’abbaye de La Sauve-Majeure: l’esprit constructeur et son guide dans l’architecture religieuse en Aquitaine à la fin du XIe siècle


Samedi 15 juillet

excursion, visites :
Les abbayes du Vallespir : Arles-sur-Tech, Saint-André, Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines, Caroline de Barrau, Emmanuel Garland, Olivier Poisson.

Conference: Identifying Governmental Forms in Europe, 1100-1350: Palaeography, Diplomatics and History, 3-4 April, 2017, University of Glasgow

2017-02-28Speakers: Richard Sharpe, Kathryn Dutton, Els de Paermentier, Nicolas Ruffini-Ronzani, Sverre Bagge, Sébastien Barret, Alheydis Plassmann, Alice Taylor, Marie Therese Flanagan, Matthew Hammond, John Reuben Davies, László Veszprémy, Jessica Berenbeim, Fernando Arias Guillén, Dauvit Broun

Where: University of Glasgow, 3-4 April 2017

Cost: Free (although not inc. travel and accommodation)

Register: please email to register

Brief blurb: The origins of the modern state have long been located in the European central middle ages. But the focus on origins has produced a too-narrow view of what government looked like and what kinds of authorities could govern in the central medieval period. This two-day colloquium brings together scholars from across Europe to expand our understanding of medieval government and the influences brought to bear on its expression. Its methodological focus is history’s so-called ‘auxiliary sciences’ of diplomatics and palaeography, inspired by the research aims lying behind the interdisciplinary research project, Models of Authority: Scottish Charters and the Emergence of Government, 1100-1250 ( Both palaeography and diplomatics are traditionally used in studies of medieval government to illuminate the development of bureaucracy and institutional complexity, but here will also be examined to understand the communication and representation of governmental forms in all their varieties, as well as the interplay between them.

More information is attached. If you have any questions, please email

Lecture: ‘Mea culpa?’ Penitence, Enrico Scrovegni and me, Laura Jacobus, 22 February, 2017, History of Art Department, Birkbeck College


The Arena Chapel in Padua was until very recently thought to have been built as an act of restitution for usury, and its frescoes by Giotto an expression of penitence on the part of the patron Enrico Scrovegni.  That view has now been challenged by Laura Jacobus and others.  But two of her recent discoveries have the potential to reinforce the established view and undermine her own.  What happens when a researcher comes across inconvenient truths, and what is to be done? 

Seminars take place in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library) at 5pm.  Talks finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and are then followed by discussion and refreshments.  We hope to see you there.

Call for Papers: The Regional and Transregional in Romanesque Art and Architecture, Poitiers, 4-6 APRIL 2018

poitiersThe British Archaeological Association will hold the fifth in its series of biennial International Romanesque conferences in association with the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de Civilisation Médiévale in Poitiers on 4-6 April, 2018.

The theme is The Regional and Transregional in Romanesque Art and Architecture, and the aim is to examine the extent to which regional styles and preferences were important in the material culture of the 11th and 12th centuries. The categorization of Romanesque by region was a cornerstone of 20th-century scholarship, and the subject is ripe for reappraisal, particularly in relation to transregional and pan-European artistic styles and approaches. How might we describe the cultural geography of the Latin West between c.1000 and c.1200? Proposals for papers concerned with the strength, durability, mutability and geographical scope of regional styles are welcome, as are those that review how, if at all, artistic ‘regions’ are aligned with political regions or initiatives. The extent to which media play a role will also be considered. Does portability make a difference – enhancing the potential for artistic exchange? What are the conditions that give rise to the development of transregional styles? Is identification by ‘gens’ rather than locality significant, particularly in areas where political change is effected through conquest? Are regional styles ever extinguished, and if so how and why? Is it appropriate to talk of centres and peripheries? Are materials – marble, brick, bronze – the dissemination and celebration of saints (particularly episcopal saints) – the emergence of civic patronage – the adoption of myths or legends – the assumption of imported motifs – important in affirming regional identity? How effective are the agencies that cut across territorial boundaries?

Proposals for papers of up to 30 minutes in length should be sent to the convenors, John McNeill and Marcello Angheben, on by 31 May, 2017. Papers should be in English. Decisions on acceptance will be made by 15 June.

The Conference will be held with the CESCM in the historic centre of Poitiers from 4-6 April, with the opportunity to stay on for two days of visits to buildings in the Poitou on 7-8 April.