Tag Archives: Book

New Book: Pleasure and Politics at the Court of France: The Artistic Patronage of Queen Marie of Brabant (1260-1321)

By Tracy Chapman Hamilton

328 p., 37 b/w ills, 140 col. ills, ISBN 978-1-905375-68-4

More Info: http://bit.ly/2ov6q0r

For her commissioning and performance of a French vernacular version of the Arabic tale of the Thousand and One Nights – recorded in one of the most vivid and sumptuous extant late thirteenth-century manuscripts – as well as for her numerous other commissions, Queen Marie of Brabant (1260-1321) was heralded as an intellectual and literary patron comparable to Alexander the Great and Charlemagne. Nevertheless, classic studies of the late medieval period understate Marie’s connection to the contemporary rise of secular interests at the French court.

Pleasure and Politics seeks to reshape that conversation by illustrating how the historical and material record reveals the queen’s essential contributions to the burgeoning court. This emerging importance of the secular and redefinition of the sacred during the last decades of Capetian rule becomes all the more striking when juxtaposed to the pious tone of the lengthy reign of Louis IX (1214-1270), which had ended just four years before Marie’s marriage to his son. That Marie often chose innovative materials and iconographies for these objects — ones that would later in the fourteenth century become the norm — signals her impact on late medieval patronage.

Pleasure and Politics examines Marie’s life beginning with her youth in Brabant, to her entry into Paris in 1274 accompanied by her retinue of courtiers, artists, objects, and ideas from the northern courts of Brabant, Flanders, and Artois. It continues with her elaborate coronation held for the first time in the Sainte-Chapelle the following year, her years as queen of France — often full of intrigue — and her long, productive widowhood, until her death and burial in 1321. With a focus on her Brabantine and Carolingian heritage joined to her status as French queen — often expressed through pioneering styles of heraldry — her commissions included ceremonies, marriage treaties, and intercessions, as well as a stunning collection of jewels, seals, manuscripts, reliquaries, sculpture, stained glass, and architecture that she gathered and built around her. This study also reveals Marie’s regular collaboration with family, friends, and artists, in particular that with the poet Adenet le Roi, women of the French court like Blanche of France (1252-1320), and relatives from the north like Robert of Artois (1250-1302). With this broader view, it also analyzes the dynamics of Marie’s patronage and its impact on contemporary and future women and men of the royal house.

Court, culture, politics, and gender — these are the themes that flow throughout Marie of Brabant’s life and tie together the material effects of a long, pleasure-filled existence enlivened by the politics of Europe on the cusp of a new age.

Seminar and Book Launch: Speaking Sculptures, Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art (Vernon Square), Wednesday 23 January 2019, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm

2019.01.23_image-600x600Many statues and works of sculpture made in the late Gothic and Renaissance period are represented with mouth open, as if caught in a mid-utterance. These ‘speaking sculptures’ have received remarkably little comment from art historians. What are these speaking statues meant to be saying? And what, as viewers, are we meant to ‘hear’ and respond? The aim of this paper is to begin to unravel this illusion of speech and the agency it implies.

It would be a mistake to dismiss the phenomenon of the ‘speaking sculpture’ as just another virtuoso feature that enhanced the illusion of life and, with it, the persuasive character of a late Gothic art or Renaissance work of art. The illusion of speech creates a different level of engagement and interaction with the viewer: faced with such an image we not only look but ‘strain to hear’. Does this suggest a sort of animation that demands a living presence response? Or does the illusion of speech enhance the potential surrogacy of the statue, ‘enacting’ the hopes of the viewer? Or could it be that a speaking statue is actually ‘saying’ something quite specific that the viewer in some sense might have ‘heard’ as part of their viewing experience. If so, how do we recover the ‘period ear’ to listen in? These are some of the questions that will be addressed.k.-wood-book-cover

Kim Woods is a senior lecturer in Art History at the Open University, and a specialist in northern European late Gothic sculpture. She combines an object-based approach with an interest in materials and cultural exchange. Her single-authored book, Imported Images (Donington, 2007), focussed on wood sculpture. Since then she has been working on alabaster. Her Open University distance learning materials include the Renaissance Art Reconsidered volumes (Yale, 2007) and Medieval to Renaissance (Tate publishing, 2012).

The seminar will be followed by the launch of ‘Cut in Alabaster: a Material of Sculpture and its European Traditions 1330-1530′

Click here to book a free ticket for this seminar.

Publication: Manuscripts in the Making Art and Science, vol. 1. Edited by Stella Panayotova & Paola Ricciardi

Schermafdruk 2018-03-15 19.20.32

Manuscripts in the Making
Art and Science, vol. 1
Edited by Stella Panayotova &  Paola Ricciardi

 ISBN 978-1-909400-10-8

More Info: http://bit.ly/2ywI3Si

 This ground-breaking publication presents  the papers delivered at the international Conference held in Cambridge in December 2016 to mark the end of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s acclaimed bicentenary exhibition “Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts”.  It is the first of two volumes in which medievalists and scientists share the results of their research, and combine here to elucidate both the materials and techniques  of production of illuminated  manuscripts,  as well as the artists’ collaboration and their aesthetic objectives.  Of the 34 papers given at the proceedings, 17 are included in the present volume covering scientific analyses of West European, Byzantine and Islamic manuscripts, Colour and Pigment Studies, Painting Techniques and Workshop Practices, as well as details of the latest scientific techniques and instruments employed for these non-invasive and non-destructive investigations into the delicate manuscripts. The texts are accompanied by over 200 illustrations as well as explanatory tables and diagrams. 

Table of Contents

Continue reading