Category Archives: Workshops

Workshop: Inheriting Byzantium: Religion, Art and Literature in Pre-Modern Eastern Europe

18 June 2018

Alter Senatssaal, Hauptgebäude der Universität zu Köln (University of Cologne, main building); Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Köln, Germany

Greek-Fire.jpg

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Workshop: Art and Court Cultures in the Iberian World (1400-1650) (23 April 18)

2nd International Workshop:
Art and Court Cultures in the Iberian World (1400-1650)

Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, April 23, 2018

Visual strategies of legitimization became increasingly important for Iberian monarchies during the late medieval and early modern periods. Their dynastic, diplomatic, and military endeavors called for effective propaganda, both in the metropolis and in viceregal territories. Such efforts include architecture, both ephemeral and permanent, the decoration of palaces, court portraiture, and historiography. The advent of the Monarchia Hispanica under Habsburg rule required careful elaborations of national, religious, racial, and gender identities, across a mosaic of multilingual and multiethnic populations. This second workshop aims to highlight some of these strategies, and to consolidate a forum for discussion of further research avenues, under the guidance of scholars from Spanish and American universities. It is made possible thanks to the collaboration of Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University, and University of Valencia.

16.00 Welcome, opening remarks and panel.
Panelists:
– Replicating the Royal Image: Philip III’s portrait at Harvard Art Museums.
Cristina Morilla, Associate Paintings Conservator, Harvard Art Museums.

– Alliance, Emulation and Competition in the Habsburg Netherlands: The Case of a 16th-Century Alabaster Funerary Monument in Heverlee.
Jessie Park, Rousseau Curatorial Fellow in European Art, Harvard Art Museums.

– Sofonisba Anguissola’s Self-Portraiture, from Court Propaganda to Meta-Artistic Sign. Jorge Sebastián Lozano, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Valencia; Research Fellow, Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University.

17.30 Q & A
Discussion moderated by Prof. Felipe Pereda, Fernando Zóbel de Ayala Professor of Spanish Art, Harvard University.

Location:
RCC Conference Room
26 Trowbridge St.
Cambridge, MA

Free registration. Please RSVP at
https://rcc.harvard.edu/event/2nd-international-workshop-art-and-court-cultures-iberian-world-1400-1650

British Museum Handling Session: The Trinity

GodwinOn Wednesday 24 January 2018 Lloyd de Beer and Naomi Speakman once again welcomed a group of staff and students from The Courtauld and elsewhere, as well as Sophie Kelly, PhD student from the University of Kent. The focus of our session was objects in the British Museum collection with links to the Trinity.

We looked at eleven objects with Trinitarian iconography, the earliest of which was the walrus ivory seal die of Godwin the Thane, dating from the early eleventh century. Beautifully carved with iconography inspired by Psalm 109 (110), ‘The Lord said unto my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand and I will make thine enemies thy footstool’. The decoration on the handle consists of God the Father and Son in relief, enthroned over a prostrate human figure. We were very interested to investigate the evidence of damage above the two figures which, we agreed, was likely to have once included a symbol of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove.

The Trinity also features on a fourteenth-century circular bronze seal-matrix (with wax impression) with a loop at top. Here the Trinity is depicted as three near-identical figures with an inscription ‘SCA TRINITAS.VHVS.DEVS’. The third seal which we saw was the fifteenth-century circular bronze seal-matrix (with wax impression) of the Friars of the Holy Trinity, Hounslow. Under a Gothic canopy with side-tabernacles the Trinity is depicted in a manner which allowed us to discuss different ways of representing the Trinity in the Middle Ages. Here, the iconography known as the Throne of Grace (Gnadenstuhl), is used. In these depictions of the Trinity, God the Father is seated and holds the cross upon which Jesus Christ is crucified in front of his lap, with the dove of the Holy Spirit alongside. This iconography became popular from the thirteenth century and is seen across a wide range of artistic media, including manuscripts, stained glass and stone carving. The Trinity depicted as the Throne of Grace also appeared on a late Medieval gold finger ring. With the help of a magnifying glass we were able to appreciate the detailed depiction of the Trinity on the oval bezel of the ring, which included the dove which is shown between Christ’s right arm and God the Father.

 

Black Prince badgeWe discussed Plantagenet devotion to the Trinity evidenced through the lead Badge of the Black Prince of c.1376 which shows the Black Prince kneeling before Trinity (although the dove is missing). The Black Prince wears a tabard with Arms of England and has thrown down his gauntlet before him; above him is an angel in clouds holding his shield. We also looked at two Anglo-Saxon ivory plaques depicting the Crucifixion. Above the head of Christ, the Hand of God is depicted, thereby alerting us to the presence of two persons of the Trinity. This led to discussion related to how we might understand images where one of the member of the Trinity is ‘missing’; can the presence of the other person be implied?

 

An object which we all found challenging was a wood-carved relief representing the Trinity (also in the Throne of Mercy composition) dated 1450-1500 and including depictions of the Annunciation, St Francis of Assisi, St Bernardino and St Sebastian. The largest object encountered was a late Medieval alabaster Coronation of the Virgin which still shows traces of painting and gilding. Here the Virgin is surrounded by the persons of the Trinity represented as three crowned figures.

close looking

In preparation for the handling session we read the following texts and discussed them at a reading group the night before:

 

Bernard McGinn, ‘Theologians as Trinitarian Iconographers’, In: Jeffrey Hamburger and Anne-Marie Bouché The Mind’s Eye. Art and Theological Argument in the Middle Ages, Princeton, 2006, 186-207

André Grabar, ‘Dogmas Expressed in a Single Image’, In: Christian Iconography. A Study of its Origins, London, 1969, 112-127

Jacobus De Voragine, ‘The Holy Spirit’, In: The Golden Legend, Princeton, 1993, 299-306

We looked at the definition of the Trinity in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford, 1997), and were interested to explore the tension between theology and iconography. In particular, how can dogma such as the Trinity be represented? Grabar and McGinn have contrasting views on what constitutes ‘successful’ iconography; McGinn sees artistic experimentation and lack of iconographic stability as positives, whereas Grabar suggests that the fact an image appears in limited or isolated circumstances makes it a failure. To aid our discussions, we looked at some manuscript images of the Trinity. These included: British Library, MS Cotton Tiberius C vi (Tiberius Psalter); British Library, MS Cotton Titus D. xxvii (Ælfwine’s Prayerbook); British Library, MS Add. 34890 (Grimbald Gospels); British Library MS Cotton B IV (Aelfric’s Hexateuch); British Library, MS Harley 603 (Harley Psalter); MS Lansdowne 383 (the Shaftesbury Psalter); Winchester Bible, Winchester Cathedral; and St John’s College, Cambridge, MS K 26 (St John’s Psalter). We discussed the experimental nature of Trinitarian iconography and how this might help us understand the chancel wall painting of the Throne of Grace at the Church of St Mary, Houghton-on-the-Hill, Norfolk which is unique, and the earliest known appearance of this motif.

CONF: Il Pallio di San Lorenzo (Florence, 1-2 Feb 18)

Florence, Opificio delle Pietre Dure / Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, February 1 – 02, 2018

Il Pallio di San Lorenzo: Dopo il restauro e prima del suo ritorno a Genova
Workshop

pallio.jpgThis workshop focuses on the so-called ‘Pallio di San Lorenzo’, a thirteenth-century Byzantine textile given to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Genoa within the framework of diplomatic relations between Genoa and the Byzantine court. The bright red samite embroidered with various coloured silk threads, as well threads in silver and gold, represents the Lives of St. Lawrence, St. Sixtus, and St. Hippolytus, accompanied by Latin inscriptions, and a depiction of Michael VIII Palaiologos visiting the cathedral of Genoa. The textile’s actual state of preservation after many years of meticulous restoration and the results of the recent analyses of the dye, the stitching technique, and the precious metal threads provides insight into  its unique materiality. Furthermore, its specific iconography, Latin paleography, and possible functions offer various points of departure for a comprehensive reconsideration of the Pallio. This work epitomizes the transcultural encounters in the Mediterranean. This interdisciplinary workshop, organized in collaboration with the textile restoration experts of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure and the Museo Sant’Agostino, Genoa, is an extraordinary occasion to discuss the results of the restoration of the ‘Pallio di San Lorenzo’ before its return to Genoa.

A collaboration between the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Firenze, the Museo di Sant’Agostino, Genova and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
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CRSBI lecture at Cardiff Archaeological Society, 19 October 2017 | CRSBI Training Session, Llandlaff Cathedral, 20 October 2017

Lecture: The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland: Achievements and Aspirations, Dr Ron Baxter FSA and Dr David Robinson FSA, Main Building, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3AT, Thursday 19 October 2017, 7.15pm

This lecture will review CRSBI’s achievements to date, and outline aspirations for Wales, looking at Romanesque sculpture from across the country.

Training Session: The following Friday, 20 October, Ron Baxter and David Robinson will be running a training session at Llandlaff Cathedral, from 10.00am to 3.00pm. The day is open to all who may be interested in becoming a fieldworker for the Corpus, or in simply finding out more about our work.

Dr Ron Baxter is the Research Director of CRSBI

Dr David Robinson is an independent historian and writer