Author Archives: mikechanters

Exhibition: Master Mateo in the Museo del Prado (29.11.16-26.03.17)

unnamedOn display in Rooms 51 and 51B in the Museo del Prado’s Villanueva Building is an exhibition on Master Mateo and his work for the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, co-organised with the Real Academia Gallega de Bellas Artes, and the Fundación Catedral de Santiago. The exhibition brings together an exceptional group of fourteen works that were removed in the past from their original location (the west façade and choir) and are now housed in the cathedral museum and in different institutions and private collections.
Notable among them are the recently restored sculptures of David and Solomon, and a Statue-column of a male figure holding a cartouche that was found last October inside the cathedral’s south tower, a discovery that represents an enormous advance in our knowledge of Master Mateo’s activities in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The exhibition also offers visitors the chance to access material that provides a context for the works on display through the tablets made available thanks to sponsorship by Samsung as a technological collaborator of the Museum.

CFP: Power of the Bishop III: Bishops as Diplomats 1000-1400 (Cardiff University, 1-2 June 2017)

picture1Power of the Bishop III: Bishops as Diplomats 1000-1400 (Cardiff University, 1-2 June 2017)

Deadline for Abstracts: 20 February 2017

This two-day conference will explore the importance of diplomacy in a bishop’s career. How bishops responded to situations was often crucial to building or destroying their reputations, and, sometimes, their very lives depended on their ability to exercise their diplomatic skills.



This conference aims to explore the common themes regarding the use and development of diplomacy in a bishop’s career; how and when was it deployed, and in what circumstances? What impact did the Gregorian Reforms and Investiture Crisis have on this aspect of a bishop’s skill-set?

Most importantly, how do we see diplomacy expressed? As well as through legal agreements and treaties, we would like to explore the role of diplomacy in other areas, including but not limited to:  the architecture of the Cathedrals and Bishop’s Palaces, the various uses of the landscape, the visual elements within manuscripts that bishops patronised, the types of gifts given and exchanged; the choice of special dates and feast days to mark particular events.

Abstracts of 200 words in length, in English, should be emailed to with the subject line “POB III ABSTRACT”. Register via


Lecture: ‘Lost in Transformation: Early Medieval Sculpture and National Narratives in Croatia’ (29th Nov 2016)

68314_407623029309611_840244416_nDr Magdalena Skoblar (British School at Rome) presenting on:

Lost in Transformation: Early Medieval Sculpture and National Narratives in Croatia’

The London Society for Medieval Studies is hosting a lecture on Tuesday evening, November 29th, at 7.00pm in the Wolfson Room (NB01), IHR Basement, Senate House (located on Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU)

All those who are interested in Medieval Studies are very welcome to attend the lecture.

New Publications: Relics, Identity, and Memory in Medieval Europe  Edited by M. Räsänen, G. Hartmann, E. J. Richards 


Relics, Identity, and Memory in Medieval Europe 

Edited by M. Räsänen, G. Hartmann, E. J. Richards 


This volume contributes to current discussions of the place of relics in devotional life, politics, and identity-formation, by illustrating both the power which relics were thought to emanate as well as the historical continuity in the significance assigned to that power. Relics had the power to ‘touch’ believers not only as material objects, but also through different media that made their presence tangible and valuable. Local variants in relic-veneration demonstrate how relics were exploited, often with great skill, in different religious and political contexts. The volume covers both a wide historical and geographical span, from Late Antiquity to the early modern period, and from northern, central, and southern Europe.

The book focuses on textual, iconographical, archaeological, and architectural sources. The contributors explore how an efficient manipulation of the liturgy, narrative texts, iconographic traditions, and architectural settings were used to construct the meaningfulness of relics and how linguistic style and precision were critically important in creating a context for veneration. The methodology adopted in the book combines studies of material culture and close reading of textual evidence in order to offer a new multidisciplinary purchase on the study of relic cults.

More Info:

CFP: State-Rooms of Royal and Princely Palaces in Europe (14th-16th c.): Spaces, Images, Rituals – Lisbon/Sintra, 16-18 March 2017

Projection: Equirectangular (2) FOV: 360 x 180 Ev: 5.48

State-Rooms of Royal and Princely Palaces in Europe (14th-16th c.): Spaces, Images, Rituals – Lisbon/Sintra, 16-18 March 2017

Deadline:  before 15 December 2016

From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, European monarchies saw a gradual centralisation of power. This was accompanied by the dissemination of political ideas that contributed to the making of a new image of the prince, which relied on visual instruments to assert and construct the prince’s sovereign power.

Royal and princely residences were at the centre of this phenomenon. In these privileged spaces, the sovereign accommodated an expanding entourage, and received messengers and guests from other courts. Consequently, it was in these buildings that court society developed in the first place.

It is therefore not surprising that these palaces played an important part in the self-representation of the sovereign and his court, be it by the arrangement of the spaces and their permanent and ephemeral decoration, or by the common and extraordinary rituals that took place here.

In these spaces, designated state-rooms appeared to be vital for constructing an effective image of the monarchy. They were an essential, often architecturally separate part of the palatial structure. Their decors, particularly during ceremonies, reflected political interests and ambitions that were essential to the image of the prince. Outside such ceremonies, state-rooms frequently served as a meeting place of the court, or even as a point of interest to be seen and commented on by spectators and panegyrists.

By placing a particular emphasis on the decor of those state-rooms, this workshop aims to increase our insights into the relations between the architecture, decoration, and rituals of monarchical power in state-rooms from the late middle ages to the beginning of the early modern period.

A number of questions arise: What factors were involved in the choice of the decors? Which purposes did they serve, and who was the audience? What links did they establish with the space and ceremonies that took place? Who commissioned and created them? How were the decors described, interpreted, and commented on? And, taking into account questions put forward at a previous workshop in Münster, what part did heraldry play in these decors, and in the whole of other forms of representation of power?

The workshop will take place in Lisbon (Archeological Museum of the Carmelite Convent, in the old Carmelite church) and Sintra (Sintra National Palace) on 16-18 March 2017.

Papers can be presented in English or French. Proposals (500 words) and a short biographical account (max. 100 words) should be sent to before 15 December 2016. Successful applicants will be notified on 15 January 2017.

CFP: Second Fiddles in Medieval Rituals (Trondheim 20-22 September 2017)

hieronymus-bosch-the-ship-of-foolsCall for Papers Deadline  31 March 2017. 

International Conference

Second Fiddles in Medieval Rituals

Department for historical studies NTNU, Trondheim 20-22 September 2017

This conference addresses the role, status and performance of secondary actors in medieval rituals, thus enabling us to diversify and deepen our understanding of rituals in pre-modern societies. Although peripheral to the engineering and execution of rituals in a formal sense, the postures and actions of these ancillary players often made their participation vital for the success of the rituals’ primary agents. What roles did secondary actors play in medieval rituals and what were the deeper meanings ascribed to them? What relation did they have to central actors? Did they operate individually on their own volition or as representatives serving broader group interests? How freely could they maneuver within and influence the rituals in which they participated?

Although relegated to a subordinate tier within the formal hierarchy of ritual service, their role and status was not immutable. With every ritual came new opportunities for secondary actors to renegotiate the divisions of service. How and to what end did secondary actors alter their role, status and performance? Can we identify disruptions that challenged the hierarchies of ritual (coups, initiatives), and what was the meaning and purpose for restructuring ritual performances?

Above all, this conference seeks to trace the changing functions and performances of secondary actors over time and in relation to their evolving political and cultural contexts. In doing so, we will also explore the sources for reading medieval rituals, including codifications and narrative portrayals, and the manner in which these works’ authors depicted the role and status auxiliary ritual agents.  While these are some of the suggested avenues for exploration, contributors are invited to enrich the topic with related themes of their choosing.

We welcome proposals for relevant papers, to be presented in English and roughly 20 minutes in length.  Proposal should include the author’s name, affiliations and address, a brief author biography/CV and an abstract of roughly 500 words. All proposals will be reviewed by a scientific committee.

Proposals should be submitted to no later than 31 March 2017. Notification of acceptance will be given on 28 April 2017. It is the intention of the organizers to publish the conference proceedings.