Online Exhibition: ‘Visions of the End: A Virtual Exhibition’, Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

The Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies presents a virtual exhibition, ‘Visions of the End’, curated by Jay Rubenstein and Gregor Kalas. Visitors can view pre-modern art and objects relating to ideas of the apocalypse, salvation and revelation. The exhibition features illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, sculpture, and enamelwork amongst other media. The artefacts are organised under three headings: The Culture of the Apocalypse, Conflict and Hope, and The Era of Peace.

Pictures of the artworks are accompanied by a description of their provenance, subject matter, and relevance to the exhibition’s key themes and ideas. You can even take a virtual tour of the physical exhibition, which was on temporary display at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, with commentary from Curator of Academic Programs Katy Malone.

This exhibition was an important part of a broader array of classes and events at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville during the spring of 2020. “Apocalypse Semester,” as it came to be known, included courses in departments across the humanities on themes such as hell, climate change, zombies, visions of the end in early English literature, and apocalypticism in Medieval and Reformation Europe.

‘Visions of the End’ brings together artefacts from:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Glencairn Museum
  • The Morgan Library and Museum
  • Free Library of Philadelphia
  • The Walters Art Museum
  • National Gallery of Art

Explore the exhibition now via this link.

Podcast Episode: Les Enluminures, Christine de Pizan’s Workshop with Inès Villela-Petit

Les Enluminures have released the 14th episode of their podcast, available online via this link.

Who is Christine de Pizan? Most know of her as a prolific medieval author, or at least know that she found a seat at Judy Chicago’s table. But how did she work and procure materials? Who worked for her and with her? How did she select her illuminators? Did she deal directly with the Queen? Find out with author and art historian Inès Villela-Petit and our host Sandra Hindman as they discuss the discoveries produced by Villela-Petit’s monograph on Christine de Pizan’s workshop, L’atelier de Christine de Pizan

They uncover the material processes behind the scenes of Christinian creation, the social dynamics of the atelier and Christine’s relationship with the royal court. Through author’s drafts, pigment and parchment, traces and marks on the page, and the “stories” told in Christinian painting Inès Villela-Petit places Christine de Pizan’s workshop in its material context. Today Sandra Hindman and Inès Villela-Petit explore International Gothic society, discussing Villela-Petit’s realization of an “ideal” Christinian manuscript–– from the purchase of the raw materials through the delivery of the manuscript to the Queen.

Online Conference: Paper Religion: Affordances and Uses in Christian Practices 1400 – 1800, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, May 27th–29th 2021

An international interdisciplinary scholarly symposium on the medium of paper, its affordances, and uses during a period of transition in early modern Christianity. Speakers bring into conversation different religious groups sharing a common dependency on paper for the distribution of new visual and textual cultures: from prints to drawings, from emblem books to sacred music.

The symposium will be held online and registration is free.
For the program, registration and other queries you can send an e-mail to paperreligion2021@gmail.com.


27th of May 
Keynote Speaker
David Morgan (Duke University) – Aura on Paper: Protestant Visual Piety in 19th-century United States.

First Panel
Orietta Da Rold (University of Cambridge) – The use of paper in clerical circles.

Daniel Bellingradt (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg) – The Paper Trade and Early Modern Paper Religions: On the hidden material flows of religious communication.

Megan Williams (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) – TBA.

28th of May
Second Panel

Andrew Pettegree (University of St. Andrews) – Religious Publishing and the salvation of print. Interrogating the Universal Short Title Catalogue.

Arthur der Weduwen (University of St. Andrews) – Religion and the Periphery of Print. The emergence and viability of the print trade in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Sabrina Corbellini (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) – Reading religious texts in an age of transition: reading materials and reading techniques.

Third panel

Erin Giffin (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) – Folding Visions of Faith into the Cult of Loreto through Print.

Nelleke Moser (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) – Paper, ink and the word of God: the disposal and repurposing of religious texts in 18th-century Dutch trompe-l’oeil books.

Mario Aschauer (Sam Houston State University) – Paper, Pen, and Pencil: Materiality in Sacred Works by German Composers around 1800.

29th of May
Fourth Panel

Benedetta Spadaccini (Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana) – Federico Borromeo and His Collection of Prints.

Hubert Meeus (Universiteit Antwerpen) – Printers and artists as messengers of the Church.

Walter S. Melion (Emory University) – The Heart on Paper: Materiality and Artisanship in the Paradisus precum selectarum (1610) of the Cistercian Sub-Prior Martin Boschman.

Respondent – Ann-Sophie Lehman (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

Online Lecture: Painting Pairs: Collaborative Research in Conservation and Art History, Courtauld Institute of Art, Thursday 22 April 2021 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (BST)

Painting Pairs presents collaborative research undertaken by graduates in conservation and art history focussing on paintings currently in the conservation studios at the Courtauld.  The paintings  that form the focus for investigation by each a pair of graduates are from different periods and pose a range of questions related to their history, conservation and display.  

At the first Zoom webinar presentation on April 22nd the pairs will introduce their paintings and present the key questions that will be the subject of their research.  The results of their investigations will be presented in May 2021. This program provides a unique opportunity for collaboration between conservators and art historians in object based art historical research. 


  • Melissa Barton – The Courtauld 
  • Sarah Besson – The Courtauld 
  • Alice Copley – The Courtauld 
  • Charlie Spragg – The Courtauld 
  • Katherine George – The Courtauld 
  • Megan Levet – The Courtauld 
  • Christopher Lillywhite – The Courtauld 
  • Malina Mihalache – The Courtauld 
  • Alice Sherwood – The Courtauld 
  • Samantha Siegler – The Courtauld 

Organised by 

  • Professor Aviva Burnstock – Professor of Conservation, The Courtauld 
  • Dr Pia Gottschaller – Senior Lecturer, Conservation, The Courtauld 
  • Dr Karen Serres – Curator of Paintings, The Courtauld Gallery

This is a live online event.  

Please register for more details. The platform and log in details will be sent to attendees at least 48 hours before the event. Please note that registration closes 30 minutes before the event start time.  

If you have not received the log in details or have any further queries, please contact researchforum@courtauld.ac.uk. 

2020-21 Participants 

Charlie Spragg (MA Architecture of Empire) with Melissa Barton (Conservation)
Portrait of Sir Ralph Bosville 

Samantha Siegler (MA Documentary Reborn) with Sarah Besson (Conservation)
Portrait of Sir Henry Strachey and his daughter Charlotte by Daniel Gardner

Katherine George (MA Curating) with Alice Sherwood (Conservation)
Portrait of a Lady with children (unknown artist) 

Malina Mihalache (MA Russian Art) with Alice Copley (Conversation)
Rite of Spring by Ethel Walker 

Christopher Lillywhite (MA Continuity and Innovation) with Megan Levet (Conservation)
Noli me tangere by Ambrose McEvoy

New Publication: The Subject of Crusade: Lyric, Romance and Materials,1150 to 1500, by Marisa Galvez

In the Middle Ages, religious crusaders took up arms, prayed, bade farewell to their families, and marched off to fight in holy wars. These Christian soldiers also created accounts of their lives in lyric poetry, putting words to the experience of personal sacrifice and the pious struggle associated with holy war. The crusaders affirmed their commitment to fighting to claim a distant land while revealing their feelings as they left behind their loved ones, homes, and earthly duties. Their poems and related visual works offer us insight into the crusaders’ lives and values at the boundaries of earthly and spiritual duties, body and soul, holy devotion and courtly love.

In The Subject of Crusade, Marisa Galvez offers a nuanced view of holy war and crusade poetry, reading these lyric works within a wider conversation with religion and culture. Arguing for an interdisciplinary treatment of crusade lyric, she shows how such poems are crucial for understanding the crusades as a complex cultural and historical phenomenon. Placing them in conversation with chronicles, knightly handbooks, artworks, and confessional and pastoral texts, she identifies a particular “crusade idiom” that emerged out of the conflict between pious and earthly duties. Galvez fashions an expanded understanding of the creative works made by crusaders to reveal their experiences, desires, ideologies, and reasons for taking up the cross.


Introduction The Courtly Crusade Idiom

Chapter One The Unrepentant Crusader: The Figure of the Separated Heart
Chapter Two Idiomatic Movement and Separation in Middle High German and Occitan Crusade Departure Lyric
Chapter Three The Heart as Witness: Lyric and Romance
Chapter Four Lancelot as Unrepentant Crusader in the Perlesvaus
Chapter Five Three Ways of Describing a Crusader-Poet: Adjacency, Genre-Existence, and Performative Reconfigurations
Chapter Six The Feast of the Pheasant as Courtly Crusade Idiom
Conclusion Toward a More Complex View of Crusade


Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton“This is a bold study that places literary forms, especially lyric and romance, into conversation with material culture to provide an account of ‘speaking crusade’: that is, the ways in which an ‘idiom’ was produced that communicates the ‘crusader subject,’ whether through poetics or the tangible form of the exotic sword, enigmatic inscription, or elaborate feast. Galvez moves smoothly across genres, as well as between theoretical framework and historical context, to produce a provocative book in which a body of literature conventionally read in terms of pilgrimage and inward penitence is instead placed in dialogue with the imagined—and real—frontiers of religious war.”

Niklaus Largier, University of California, Berkeley“Leaving us with the impression that we never really read and thought with most of the voices that emerged from the experience of the Crusades, Galvez presents an entirely new and astoundingly rich picture of lyric texts and their ethical engagements. What she calls a descriptive historical poetics is much more than that. In an exemplary fashion, and theoretically inspiring throughout, she demonstrates how sophisticated close readings bring back to life a complex range of ethical, affective, and cultural challenges, reflected in Crusader texts and materials that in their force of articulation come to resist simple ideological appropriation. Exemplary, that is, in drawing attention to the fact that only in this reconstruction of particular voices in the contexts and intricacies of their articulation we discover the possibilities of thoughts and feelings that specific historical moments bring to bear.”

New Publication: Machines of the Mind: Personification in Medieval Literature, by Katharine Breen

In Machines of the Mind, Katharine Breen proposes that medieval personifications should be understood neither as failed novelistic characters nor as instruments of heavy-handed didacticism. She argues that personifications are instead powerful tools for thought that help us to remember andmanipulate complex ideas, testing them against existing moral and political paradigms. Specifically, different types of medieval personification should be seen as corresponding to positions in the rich and nuanced medieval debate over universals. Breen identifies three different types of personification—Platonic, Aristotelian, and Prudentian—that gave medieval writers a surprisingly varied spectrum with which to paint their characters.

Through a series of new readings of major authors and works, from Plato to Piers Plowman, Breen illuminates how medieval personifications embody the full range of positions between philosophical realism and nominalism, varying according to the convictions of individual authors and the purposes of individual works. Recalling Gregory the Great’s reference to machinae mentis (machines of the mind), Breen demonstrates that medieval writers applied personification with utility and subtlety, employing methods of personification as tools that serve different functions. Machines of the Mind offers insight for medievalists working at the crossroads of religion, philosophy, and literature, as well as for scholars interested in literary character-building and gendered relationships among characters, readers, and texts beyond the Middle Ages.

Part I  Prudentian Personification
Chapter 1  Consecratus Manu: Men Forming Gods Forming Men
Chapter 2  How to Fight like a Girl: Christianizing Personification in the Psychomachia

Part II  Neoplatonic Personification
Chapter 3  Ex Uno Omnia: Plato’s Forms and Daemons
Chapter 4  Oh, Nurse! The Boethian Daemon

Part III  Aristotelian Personification
Chapter 5  E Pluribus Unum: Abstracting Universals from Particulars
Chapter 6  Dreaming of Aristotle in the Songe d’Enfer and Winner and Waster

Chapter 7  A Good Body Is Hard to Find: Putting Personification through Its Paces in Piers Plowman

Review: Fiona Somerset, author of Feeling like Saints: Lollard Writings after Wyclif:

Machines of the Mind persuades its readers to think more systematically about the types and uses of personification. Breen clears away some forty years of confusion about medieval philosophical positions on realism and so-called nominalism, clearly differentiating them from the postmodern nominalism of twentieth-century high theory and imaginatively reconsidering their implications for literary representation. Her schema will allow future scholars to differentiate Platonic, Neoplatonic, moderate realist, and nominalist strategies for personification while also recognizing that many medieval works may employ multiple types at once. This book will remain a reference point for many years to come.”

Online Workshop: The Textiles in Manuscripts Workshop organised by The Book and the Silk Road Project, May 4th-5th, 2021 (10-15:00 EDT)

The aim of this virtual workshop is to examine the vast use of textiles in manuscripts, both practical and ornamental: their uses within bindings, as wrappers, enclosures, and covering, as cloth used to protect images, and as symbolic or talismanic artefacts. Workshop sessions focus on the use of textiles in Armenian, Chinese, Ethiopian, Islamic, Kashmiri, and Syriac manuscripts from the middle ages through the early modern period. The workshop is not meant to be exhaustive, but to take a unique approach in beginning an interdisciplinary conversation about the production and use of manuscripts across the Silk Roads.

Each session explores content presented in pre-recorded videos that participants must watch in advance of the workshop. The workshop sessions will not be recorded, so register only if you are able to attend the workshop on May 4-5. The pre-recorded videos will be made live by April 20, and will be available both before and after the workshop itself.

For more information and to access the pre-recorded videos, visit the Textiles in Manuscripts Workshop website: http://booksilkroadstextiles.artsci.utoronto.ca/

To register, please click here.

The Book and the Silk Roads (2019–2021) is a large-scale collaborative project that aims to tell the story of the book in a new way. Global book history is often represented as a narrative of technological and societal progress — from the tablet and scroll to the biblical codex of late antiquity, to the early modern printing press of the Gutenberg Bible, to today’s “Digital Age.” By contrast, our team works with a diverse and wide-ranging network of collaborators to tell many stories of books, from multiple regions and periods, within a more capacious and less teleological account of the past.

Working across boundaries of geography, institution, and discipline, the distinctive methodology of The Book and the Silk Roads brings together humanities researchers, digital librarians, scientists, conservators, rare book librarians and curators, as well as local and diasporic community members for whom these books represent a precious part of their cultural heritage. By combining our different forms of expertise, we will develop a rich and global history of the book, aiming for interdisciplinary and collaborative breakthroughs in the areas of codicology, conservation and heritage science, and the protection and study of vulnerable and little-understood materials.

The Book and the Silk Roads is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with a team directed by co-Principal Investigators Alexandra Gillespie of the University of Toronto Mississauga, Sian Meikle of the University of Toronto Libraries, and Suzanne Akbari, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Call for Sessions: Mary Jaharis Center Sponsored Panel, 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies (9th-14th May 2022), Deadline 18th May 2021

To encourage the integration of Byzantine studies within the scholarly community and medieval studies in particular, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture seeks proposals for a Mary Jaharis Center sponsored session at the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, May 9–14, 2022. We invite session proposals on any topic relevant to Byzantine studies.

PLEASE NOTE: The 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies will be virtual.

Session proposals must be submitted through the Mary Jaharis Center website (https://maryjahariscenter.org/sponsored-sessions/57th-international-congress-on-medieval-studies).

The deadline for submission is May 18, 2021. 

Applicants will be contacted by May 25, 2021, regarding the status of their proposal. The Mary Jaharis Center will submit the session proposal to the Congress and will keep the organizer informed about the status of the proposal.

If the proposed session is approved, the Mary Jaharis Center will reimburse up to 5 session participants (presenters and presider) for the cost of conference registration. Funding is through reimbursement only; advance funding cannot be provided. Receipts are required for reimbursement.

Please contact Brandie Ratliff (mjcbac@hchc.edu), Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture with any questions.

Funding: ICMA Whiting Foundation 2022-23 Public Engagement Grants, Deadline 30th April 2021

As a nominating body for the Whiting Foundation’s Public Engagement Programs in the humanities, the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) calls for proposals in public-facing scholarship to submit for the 2021–22 competition cycle (for funding in 2022–23). The foundation describes these funding opportunities as “designed to celebrate and empower humanities faculty who embrace public engagement” at an early-career stage, “to infuse the depth, historical richness, and nuance of the humanities into public life.”

We may nominate one or two proposals by full- or part-time faculty at accredited US institutions of higher learning. To be eligible for the grants, faculty must be full- or part-time faculty in both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years. Faculty need not be on a tenure track to be eligible. Nominees must also be early-career: they should have received their doctorate between 2008 and 2020.

The Foundation welcomes proposals including collaborations between faculty and graduate students. Nominees may apply to either of the Whiting’s funding programs, depending on the stage of development of their project: 

A Fellowship of $50,000 for projects far enough into development or execution to present specific, compelling evidence that they will successfully engage the intended public.

A Seed Grant of up to $10,000 for projects at a somewhat earlier stage of development, where more modest resources are needed to test or pilot a project or to collaborate with partners to finalize the planning for a larger project and begin work.

The full application for nominees is due on 14 June 2021.

New Journal Issue: Gesta, Volume 60 2021

The Spring 2021 issue of Gesta, sponsored by the ICMA, has been published. Please click here to visit the journal page. The contents can be found below.

Editors: Diane J. Reilly and Susan L. BoyntonSponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art

The King in the Manuscript: The Presentation Inscription of the Vienna Latin Bible moralisée-Katherine H. Tachau | 1

Holy, Holy, Holy: Hearing the Voices of Angels – Sharon E. J. Gerstel, Chris Kyriakakis, Spyridon Antonopoulos, Konstantinos T. Raptis, and James Donahue |31

(Re)Birth of a Seal: Power and Pretense at San Nicola, Bari, ca. 1300 Jill Caskey | 51

Space, Image, Light: Toward an Understanding of Moldavian Architecture in the Fifteenth CenturyAlice Isabella Sullivan, Gabriel-Dinu Herea, and Vladimir Ivanovici | 81

Into the Desert: Demons, Spiritual Focus, and the Eremitic Ideal in Morgan MS M.626 – Denva Gallant | 101

Call for Journal Submissions: Postmedieval, Special Issue Proposals (published 2022 & 2023), deadline 15 May 2021

Postmedieval publishes theoretically driven scholarship on premodernity and its ongoing reverberations. Contributions are characterised by conceptual adventure, stylistic experiment, political urgency, or surprising encounter. The editors are committed to expanding the fields of knowledge and geography represented in the journal, by showcasing scholarship that reaches across disciplines, language traditions, locales, modes of inquiry, and levels of access. The aim is to facilitate collaborative, ethical, and experimental engagements with the medieval—with its archives and art, its thought and practices, its traces and its enduring possibilities. Contributions on sources beyond Western Europe are warmly encouraged.

Postmedieval is looking for guest editors to conceptualise, organise, and edit special issues focused on specific topics of the guest editors’ choosing. Responsibilities for an issue include soliciting contributions, liaising with authors and helping them develop and polish their work, writing an introduction, and overseeing the overall shape of the issue. One person may act as a guest editor, though it often works better with two or three in a team. There are no editorial costs involved, and the guest editors will have the support of the Editors-in-Chief, the Managing Editor, the Palgrave Springer production team, and members of the Editorial Board. Guest Editors will receive a physical copy of the published issue, and their introduction will be permanently free-to-view online. Contributors will receive access to a digital version of their article. Palgrave Springer does not generally make their content Open Access (outside of a fee of $2780 USD per article or some other prior institutional arrangement). Authors are permitted to self-archive an accepted manuscript version of their article (prior to copyediting and typesetting).

To submit a proposal for the 2022 and 2023 special issues, please complete and return a proposal form to postmedievalED@gmail.com by May 15, 2021.