‘…the most impressive thing in the world [is] an armoured knight on horseback’ wrote Luis Zapata de Chaves in his late 16th-century treatise Del Justador. Recent flourishing of studies in horse history proves that horses not only at the core of pre-modern society but that they make an important part of medieval studies today.
Buildings in Bloom: Foliage and Architecture in the Global Middle Ages
College Art Association Annual Conference
Chicago, February 12-15, 2020
Session sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art
CFP Deadline: July 23, 2019
This panel seeks to explore foliate forms in a cross-cultural context across geographies and cultural traditions from roughly 300 to 1500 CE. Foliate forms can be found in many types of buildings from the medieval period, displayed in prominent locations or hidden from the casual viewer’s gaze. From the Gothic cathedrals of western Europe to the Hindu temples of south Asia, builders and artisans filled their structures with flowers, leaves, fruits, and vines. These organic interventions took many forms and adorned architectonic elements in sometimes unexpected ways. They were also executed in a variety of media: sculpture, glass, mosaic, ceramics, and painting. The study of foliate forms has the potential to enliven discussions of artistic production and authorship in medieval architecture. A generation of new scholarship has richly re-integrated the decorative into architectural discourse; vegetal forms need not be filed neatly under “architecture” or “decoration,” as foliage often occupies a liminal space that defies such categorization. Furthermore, the ecological turn has reinvigorated debates concerning liveliness, between-ness, and nature in art, and this research presents a promising opportunity to apply new thinking to previously overlooked aspects of medieval monuments on a global scale while examining one of the most fundamental relationships in the history of architecture, that of nature and the built environment.
We seek papers from scholars working in any cultural context (including Western Medieval, Pre-Columbian, Byzantine, Islamic, African, South Asian, East Asian, etc.) and any building typology (sacred architecture, palace architecture, commemorative monuments, vernacular architecture). Potential questions may include but are not limited to:
-What role or roles do vegetal motifs play in articulating space, creating meaning, or mitigating identity?
-How do these forms connect to the broader cultural context?
-As historians of medieval art, how should we approach this aniconic imagery methodologically?
-What new methodologies or technologies can be employed in studying a large corpus of foliate decoration?
-What lessons might be learned from examining foliate forms across traditional cultural boundaries?
Accepted speakers may be eligible to apply for ICMA Kress Travel Grants to support travel to and from Chicago. For more information, see: http://www.medievalart.org/kress-travel-grant.
The Restoration of the 14th-century Painted Ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte-Steri in Palermo, 3 linked sessions
Organizers: Licia Buttà (Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona) Costanza Conti (Università di Palermo) and Antonio Sorce (Università di Palermo)
Sponsored by the Italian Art Society
The restoration of the 14th-century wooden ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte—known as Steri—began in September 2017. The ceiling was crafted between 1377 and 1380, as attested by the inscription that runs along two sides of the ceiling between beams and lacunars, in which the name of the patron is also mentioned: the powerful and noble ruler of Palermo—Manfredi Chiaromonte (d. November 1391). The surface area of the wooden ceiling measures 23 x 8 meters. The iconography is displayed uninterrupted on the three sides of the 24 beams and on the 100 coffered lacunars. After the fall of the Chiaromonte family, the palace was first occupied by King Martin I, the Humane (29 July 1356 – 31 May 1410), then by the Viceroys of Aragon, and the House of Bourbon. Between 1601 and 1782 it became the Palace of the Inquisition and later the halls of the palace were used as the Court of Appeal. Today the building is home to the rectorate of the University of Palermo. The three linked sessions seek to be a fruitful occasion to study the ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte-Steri and medieval painted ceilings in the Mediterranean in general, in terms of conservation as well as visual culture through a multidisciplinary perspective.
Looking at the Trecento through the lens of current global paradigms and concerns in historical and art historical studies might seem hazardous, or even paradoxical and provocative at best. Very few other labels have the power to evoke both the glories, achievements and limitations of traditional ‘Western’, and namely Eurocentric, art history. As a matter of fact, using the Italian word Trecento to mean the ‘Fourteenth Century’ in the visual arts, music and potentially any area of human endeavour adumbrates a clear hierarchy–with Italy at its top. It is meaningful, and perhaps no coincidence, that the term Trecento came into use in English in the same years that mark the tumultuous expansion of the new discipline of art history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and its usage has grown exponentially ever since. While much has been done in recent decades to broaden our understanding of the period both geographically and philosophically, the Trecento remains primarily the century of Giotto and of the great Tuscan painters and sculptors. At this time of building national ‘walls’, it seems particularly appropriate to think that the seminal and transformative character of the Trecento owes much to artistic and cultural exchanges, movement of artists and patrons, circulation of models and ideas across Italy, Europe, the Mediterranean and beyond. Our aim is to bring into conversation recent research on these issues.
In Search of the Desert: New Observations on the Late-Medieval Revival of the Eremitic Life
54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, May 9 – 12, 2019
Deadline: Oct 15, 2018
Organizers: Denva Gallant (University of Delaware) and Amelia Hope-Jones (University of Edinburgh)
In the third and fourth centuries AD, the barren deserts of Egypt, Syria and Palestine witnessed the birth of Christian monastic life among saints who came to be known as the Desert Fathers. The heroic self-discipline and devoted ascetic endeavors of St Antony the Abbot, St Paul of Thebes and St Macarius, among others, became emblematic of an original and authentic form of the religious life. This eremitic tradition, transmitted to the west through hagiography and ascetic literature, exerted a profound influence over the formation of western monastic life in the fifth and sixth centuries, and continued to function as an ideological authority well into the late medieval period and beyond.
Session: Medieval Art History: Are We Post-Theoretical?
Organizer: Gerry Guest email@example.com
Session description: The philosopher and blogger Levi Bryant has written that theory “is a sort of strange work that precedes anything true, allowing that which does not appear to appear. There is never a simple gaze or seeing, but rather there is always an apparatus that allows something to appear that would not otherwise appear. And there is no looking nor acting that doesn’t presuppose an apparatus of appearance.” If we follow this line of thought, then all medievalists are theorists. Yet, in the 21st century, historians of medieval art seem largely indifferent to the field of critical theory, which profoundly marked the study of the humanities in the 20th century. If a generation ago scholars were concerned with defining something called “the new art history,” where do we stand now? Are we now working in a post-theoretical age or can a renewed engagement with theoretical issues enliven the field?
This session seeks position papers and case studies that reflect on these questions. Participants should feel free to define “theory” however they choose. Engagement with established theorists (Foucault, Butler, Jameson, etc.) is as welcome as investigations inspired by newer work in fields such as queer studies, gender studies, and post-colonialism.
For consideration, please send a one-page proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 15, 2018.
‘Your horse won’t eat any oats, nor will he be bled until I get my revenge’ threatens his lady Orgeuilleux de la Lande, making his displeasure evident by abusing the lady’s horse. Horses were vital agents in daily life throughout the medieval period, but with the advent of technology in the twentieth century, they have been somehow marginalized in academic studies. Recently, interest in equine history has surged, but there are still many issues waiting to be tackled by scholars.
In this fourth year of thematic horse sessions at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, we invite papers on the following themes:
- Breeding, training, feeding and curing horses
- Osteological study of horse remains
- Equipment for ridden and working horses
- Horse-related buildings and infrastructure (stables, roads, hyppodromes, markets, etc.)
- Horses in the East and West – regional peculiarities
- Imaginary, fantastic and magical horses and equids, including unicorns, centaurs and grotesques, and their relation to real horses
- Other equids and ridden animals (donkeys, mules, zebras, etc.)
If you would like to propose a theme that does not fit in the above categories, please contact the organizers.
Paper abstracts (up to 500 words) and short biographies (up to 100 words) are to be sent to Dr Anastasija Ropa (Anastasija.Ropa@lspa.lv) and Dr Timothy Dawson (email@example.com) by 31 August 2018.
Publication of selected papers is planned.