Category Archives: lecture

Murray Seminars at Birkbeck, Autumn 2019

16 October, Lisa Monnas

Vestments and Textiles in Hans Memling’s ‘God with Singing and Music-making Angels 

Three large panels in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, painted by Hans Memling in the 1480’s, represent a heavenly scene framed by clouds, which part to reveal the central figure of God attended by sixteen singing and music-making angels. Thye once formed the top of the high altarpiece of the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria la Réal in Nájera, in Spain. In the central panel, God is depicted vested as priest and ruler, and the angels in this and in the flanking scenes wear clerical dress. The work has been interpreted as relating to the Good Friday liturgy and the Exaltation of the Cross, but since the panels originally formed the top of an altarpiece whose main subject was the Assumption of the Virgin, this is open to doubt. This paper will re-examine the vestments and textiles in the newly conserved panels, assessing their ‘realism’ and their contribution to the heavenly scene. It will also consider them in the wider context of some of Memling’s other works.

14 November, Jana Gajdosova

Sculpted Genealogies: The Effigies of Bohemian rulers in Prague Cathedral

With the death of Wenceslas III, the Přemyslid dynasty, which had ruled Bohemia for over four centuries, came to an end. The murder of the young king created chaos in the kingdom for several decades; however, after the marriage of Elizabeth of Přemyslid and John of Luxembourg and the subsequent birth of Charles IV (1316 – 1378), Bohemia reached the height of its political and cultural power in Europe. Charles IV saw himself as a bridge between two Bohemian dynasties – the Přemyslids of the past and the Luxembourgs of his envisioned future. This link was communicated with painted genealogies in at least three of Charles’ castles, and with staged genealogies across Prague. The fascination that Charles had with re-imagining and visualizing his role within the dynastic shift that occurred also found expression in the sculpted genealogies which are the subject of this paper—specifically the effigies of Přemyslids rulers commissioned by Charles IV for Prague Cathedral, which were made to communicate these ideas in sculpture and across real space.

5 December, Marie-Louise Lillywhite 

Blood is Thicker than Water: Artists, Friends and Family Alliances in Seventeenth-Century Venice

How did Venetian artists forge alliances to advance their interests and ensure the continuation of their workshops? Focusing on the painter Palma il Giovane, this paper explores his concerted efforts to continue his family name through strategic marriages, and safeguard his success through advantageous friendships. This study will demonstrate how these potentially positive relationships impacted artistic production in Venice for better, or indeed worse.

All this term’s 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.

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London Society for Medieval Studies 2018-19 Programme

The London Society for Medieval Studies is back for the new academic year!

We are very excited that our autumn programme of seminars will be commencing soon. Please find attached our full programme for the autumn and spring terms 2018-19. Make sure to get those dates into your diary!

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Les Enluminures: Masterpiece London 2017 (STAND B1)

Les Enluminures looks forward to welcoming you to the 2018 edition of

MASTERPIECE LONDON

STAND B1

This year we are teaming up with Daniel Crouch Rare Books. Our joint display “A brief History of Time: from Matins to Mars” will explore methods of marking and keeping time throughout history.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR FAIR HIGHLIGHTS

On July 2 at 4pm Dr Christopher de Hamel, Senior Vice-President at Les Enluminures, manuscript scholar and award-winning author will give a talk on “How to Look at Medieval Manuscripts”.
The event will take place in the Lecture Theatre, in association with Chopard. Advanced registration essential.
Please find here further information.

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Lecture: Murray Seminar at Birkbeck, London (27 June 18)

Gold Against the Body: Gold Surfaces and Their Limits, Medieval to Early Modern

Alison Wright, UCL

5:00pm, 43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD

For the last Murray Seminar of the year, Alison Wright of UCL presents a paper entitled Gold against the Body:  gold surfaces and their limits, medieval to early modern. 

unnamedThe myth, famously invoked in Goldfinger, of the human body suffocated by being coated in gold exemplifies the fascination and danger attached to the idea of an ‘excess’ of gold, especially in respect to human skin. In this lecture the slippery boundaries of when, where and for whom gold surfaces might be deemed excessive will be explored in relation to European art, especially Italian, of the 14th to early 16th centuries. The discussion of gold in representation is generally dominated for this period by Alberti’s overturning of the value of gilding on the painted surface. This talk will argue rather for the multiple economies of gold in art with reference to broader visual and material traditions, and focus especially on gold’s complex relation to the human body.

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.

The Murray Seminar series will continue next autumn term.

Lecture: Annual Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain & Ireland lecture (Courtauld Institute, 24/04/18, 5:30pm)

Prof-Malcolm-Thurlby

Lecture:  ‘English Romanesque Sculpture in its Architectural Context’, by Professor Malcolm Thurlby FSA

Annual Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain & Ireland lecture

Where: Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute

Date: 24th April 2018, 5:30pm

This year’s CRSBI annual public lecture, delivered by Professor Malcolm Thurlby of York University, Toronto, Canada, will consider English Romanesque sculpture in the context of its architectural matrix, focusing on specific carved elements such as portals, tympana, capitals, and figural reliefs. It will set out to demonstrate the fundamental importance of forensic visual analysis to our understanding of a Romanesque building and its ornament, most notably where documentary information is lacking. The diagnostic potential of a range of material evidence – painted decoration, the use of stucco, the work of 19th-century copyists – will be seen to support proposed dating sequences at a number of monuments, including the cathedrals of Worcester, Hereford and Ely and the abbey at Malmesbury, and at lesser churches such as Knook in Wiltshire, Leigh in Worcestershire, Milborne Port in Somerset, and Kirkburn in Yorkshire.

Malcolm Thurlby studied art history at the University of East Anglia. His PhD thesis on Transitional Sculpture in England 1150—1240 (1976) was supervised by Eric Fernie. He teaches art and architectural history at York University, Toronto. His research focuses on Romanesque and Gothic architecture and sculpture, and on 19th- and early 20th-century architecture in Canada. He concurs with Bishop John Medley (1804-92) that ‘some knowledge of Church Architecture ought, surely, to be a part of every liberal education.’

Entry to the lecture is free and open to all. The Courtauld would like all those wishing to attend to register beforehand: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/english-romanesque-sculpture-in-its-architectural-context-tickets-44591422144

The Courtauld lecture theatre is accessed via the doors opposite the main gallery entrance. Ask at the reception desk on arrival for further directions.

For more information click here.