Tag Archives: Ecclesiastical

Secret Spaces: Medieval Sacristies, Vestries, Treasure Rooms and their Contents

salisbury-cathedral_549x432

Salisbury Cathedral Treasure House, Upper Champber, from “Pituresque Memorials of Salisbury” by Peter Hall (1834), courtesy of the Society of Antiquaries.

The aim of the conference is to introduce the subject of ecclesiastical treasure houses to both the academic world and the wider public.

Treasure houses take the form of small buildings attached as annexes to the cathedrals and churches which they served. Their function as store houses of the priceless ecclesiastical treasure belonging to the church meant that they were accessible to only a few privileged individuals but many are resplendent pieces of architecture in their own right. Recently Yves Gallet, in discussing an ambitious vault within the thirteenth-century treasure house of Saint-Urbain, Troyes, noted that ‘it is curious that they should have placed such a spectacular and up-to-date ornament in a place where it was never going to be seen’. Notable treasure houses in Britain are attached to the cathedrals of Canterbury, Lincoln, Wells, and Bristol, to name but a few. However, medieval ecclesiastical treasure houses existed everywhere in the medieval West and this will be reflected in the conference, which will bring together scholars from different countries. Ecclesiastical treasure houses also stored money, the presence of which necessitated the activities of depositing, guarding and counting. The ecclesiastical treasure house thus occupied a fault line between two opposing ideologies in medieval Christian thinking, the first condemning the accumulation of worldly treasure and the second promoting its use for God’s service.

Continue reading

CFP: Misericordia International Colloquium 2018: Choir Stalls & Their Patrons, Rijeka (Croatia), 13-16 September 2018

cdi16-32-15Call for Papers: Misericordia International Colloquium 2018: Choir Stalls & Their Patrons, Rijeka (Croatia), 13-16 September 2018
Deadline: Feb 15, 2018
Notification of  paper acceptance: March 15, 2018

Misericordia International is an internationally active multidisciplinary network dedicated to the study of choir stalls and their relation to other artistic manifestations during the Middle Ages and to the dissemination of results. The intensive exchange with researchers from neighboring disciplines reveals interfaces between disciplines and subjects of research and provides new impulses for the study of choir stalls. The platform for scholarly exchange is the international conference organized  every two years.

The next colloquium will be held in Rijeka (Croatia) in September 2018. The conference seeks to explore and discuss the relation between choir stalls and their patrons. It aims to present original research in this field as well as to establish productive dialogue between scholars with a particular research interest in choir stalls. Artworks and their patrons have raised and continue to raise many research questions. While choir stalls have been studied extensively for the misericords with profane carvings, less research has been done on the commissions for this type of church furniture. In recent years the focus of choir stall research has moved toward makers and patrons, hence  the previous colloquium’s topic was dedicated to the craftsmen and their workshops. The 2018 conference will focus on problems of ecclesiastical and secular patrons and questions such as who were the patrons of choir stalls and to what extent were they responsible for the final result, or are there differences or similarities between choir stalls considering different patrons – members of chapters, parishes, female and male monastic communities, confraternities and private persons.

We welcome academic papers that will approach this subject in an interdisciplinary and methodologically diverse way.

Acceptable topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
– collaboration between patrons and craftsmen (carpenters, sculptors and painters)
– results of the archival research;
– inscriptions and used typography on choir stalls;
– migrations of craftsmen and migrations of stylistic features;
– center versus periphery;
– depiction of patrons on choir stalls.

Following the conference, a two-day excursion – visit to selected choir stalls of the region – is planned.
The conference language is English. A publication of the proceedings of this conference is forseen.
Papers should not exceed anticipated maximum time of 20 minutes and will be followed by a 10-minute discussion.

A paper proposal should contain the title and abstract (500 words maximum). Each proposal should be accompanied by full contact information (home and office mailing addresses, e-mail address, and phone number) and a short CV.

Paper proposals should be submitted electronically to: choir_stalls2018@uniri.hr

There is NO registration fee. Administration and organizational costs, working materials, lunch and
coffee breaks during conference are covered by the organizers. Travel expenses and accomodation ARE NOT COVERED.

Call for papers: Between Heaven and Earth: Ecclesiastical Patronage in Europe, 1400-1600 (Courtauld Institute of Art, 9 May 2015)

Scenes from the Life of a Bishop, panel 1. Before c. 1520. Master of the von Groote Adoration © The Courtauld Institute of Art

Scenes from the Life of a Bishop, panel 1. Before c. 1520. Master of the von Groote Adoration © The Courtauld Institute of Art

Deadline for CFP, 2 February 2015

Third Annual Renaissance Symposium at the Courtauld Institute of Art

In recent years, the artistic commissions of ecclesiastic and lay patrons – both individual and collective – have been a fruitful area of scholarship. Research addressing issues of sacred space, devotional practice, and the materiality of extant objects has generated new insights into the artistic provisions made for patronal commemoration and salvation. Often, however, the interests of lay and ecclesiastical patrons have been considered separately, with a lesser focus on how the differences in their status mediated a shared pursuit of commemoration in death. Clerical patronage of art in Renaissance Europe allowed for an expression of political identity and dynastic power during life, but how did their status and role in society affect their choices for the afterlife? Were ecclesiastical patrons more acutely aware of a pressing need to make provision for their personal salvation than their lay counterparts? If so, was this reflected when commissioning commemorative or devotional art? Was the desire to secure a wider intercessory audience expressed more consciously or emphatically in the art of the clergy?

This conference seeks to shed light on the ways in which ecclesiastical patrons utilised devotional and commemorative art. Was there a dialogue between their individual selves and the institutions in which they chose to locate their foundations? Crucially, how do these foundations comment on ecclesiastical life and afterlife? By examining a category of patrons that was highly aware of devotional and commemorative practice, this conference seeks to gain a better understanding of art commissioned for churches by those appointed to participate in and lead them.
We welcome proposals, exploring material across the stated time span, throughout Europe. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • A re-assessment of the recent historiography and scholarship concerning patronage in an ecclesiastical environment, especially when this contrasts with contemporary lay patronage.
  • The relationship between patron and artist or patron and religious institution. 
  • Depiction of ecclesiastical donor and votive figures.
  • The implications of patronal choices of saints and iconography for the intended audience.
  • The role of inscriptions, signatures and heraldry in commemoration.
  • Reference to political stance and success in religious art.
  • Conceptions of heaven and the afterlife as expressed in art.
  • Ecclesiastical institutions prescribing limits to patrons and patronage.
  • Positioning of chapels and memorials in churches.
  • Rituals and liturgy of commemoration.
  • The impact of the Reformation and Counter Reformation on ecclesiastical patronage.

The Renaissance Symposium offers the opportunity for research students at all levels from universities in the UK and abroad to present their research. Unfortunately, we cannot offer travel subsidies. Applicants from outside London are, therefore, encouraged to apply to other funding bodies for travel bursaries to attend the conference.

Abstracts for 15-20 minute papers, not exceeding 250 words, should be sent with a brief academic CV (100 words) to Lydia Hansell (lydia.hansell@courtauld.ac.uk) and Joost Joustra (joost.joustra@courtauld.ac.uk) no later than 2nd February 2015. Successful applicants will be notified by the 12th February 2015.

Organised by Lydia Hansell and Joost Joustra (The Courtauld Institute of Art)