Tag Archives: France

Conference: Art and Economy in France and Italy in the 14th century: new research

giottotodeleteConference: Art et économie en France et en Italie au XIVe siècle. Nouvelles enquêtes,Art et économie en France et en Italie au XIVe siècle. Nouvelles enquêtes, Université de Lausanne, 19-20 October 2017

 

 

Programme:

Jeudi 19 octobre 2017

Nicolas Bock, Michele Tomasi
Introduction

14h30 L’Italie au Trecento et au Quattrocento : da Giotto alla morte !

Damien Cerutti
Giotto & Cie. Réflexions sur le marché pictural florentin dans le deuxième quart du Trecento

Katalin Prajda
Finanze e attività imprenditoriale nelle industrie pittoriche, orafe e di carpenteria nella Firenze del primo Rinascimento. Come la seta divenne una specialità fiorentina

Fabio Marcelli
Arte, civiltà comunale ed economia nell’Appennino umbro-marchigiano

Giampaolo Ermini
Il cantiere del coro trecentesco del duomo di Orvieto: manovalanza, materiali, costi e finanziamenti

Paola Vitolo
Spese della morte: investimenti per l’aldilà (e per l’al di qua) e pratica artistica (Italia, XIII-XIV secolo)

 

Vendredi 20 octobre 2017

9h00 Les arts de luxe

Chiara Maggioni
Orfèvreries à Mantoue au XIVe siècle : frais, évaluations, valeurs de marché

Andrea Cravero
Vetri dorati e graffiti del basso medioevo: economia di una bottega assisiate e mercato fiorentino

Giampaolo Distefano
Le occasioni del mercato artistico parigino del Trecento e la carriera dell’orafo Jean le Braelier

11h30  Entre l’Italie et la France

Teodoro De Giorgio
La riorganizzazione del sistema fiscale della corte pontificia avignonese sotto Giovanni XXII (1316-1334) e il nuovo volto del mecenatismo artistico papale

Alain Salamagne
L’usage du bois précieux dans le château en France et en Bourgogne (1350-1450)

14h00 Perspectives méditerranéennes

Doron Bauer
Economic Fluctuations and Artistic Production in The Kingdom of Majorca

Francesco Ruvolo
Prima di Antonello. Nuovi culti, spazio sacro e potere economico, nella Messina tra Due e Trecento

15h00  En ouvrant encore les horizons

Étienne Anheim
L’économie du travail artistique au XIVe siècle en France et en Italie

Wim Blockmans
La spécificité du secteur de l’art dans l’économie du bas Moyen Âge
Conclusions

 

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New Illuminated Manuscript Digitisation Project with British Library & BnF: Polonsky Foundation

The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700-1200

A new project is underway to open up further the unparalleled collections of illuminated manuscripts held by the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In a ground-breaking new collaborative project the national libraries of Britain and France will work together to create two innovative new websites that will make 800 manuscripts decorated before the year 1200 available freely. The Bibliothèque nationale de France will create a new bilingual website that will allow side-by-side comparison of 400 manuscripts from each collection, selected for their beauty and interest. The British Library will create a bilingual website intended for a general audience that will feature highlights from the most important of these manuscripts and articles commissioned by leading experts in the field. Both websites will be online by November 2018.

Before the introduction of printing to Europe, all books were written by hand as manuscripts. The most luxurious of these were illuminated, literally ‘lit up’ by decorations and pictures in brightly coloured pigments and burnished gold leaf. All manuscripts — whether they are luxurious biblical or liturgical manuscripts, copies of classical literature or patristic, theological, historical or scientific texts — are valuable historical documents that can deepen and expand our understanding of the political, social and cultural life of the eras in which they were made. Their research value is inestimable.

The British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France have two of the largest collections of medieval manuscripts in the world. As a result of France and England being so closely entwined through periods of war, conquest and alliance and, in the medieval period, both nations claiming territory in France at times, both libraries have particularly strong holdings of French manuscripts produced in France or in Britain (but written in French or Latin).

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Decorated initial ‘I’(nitium) from western France, perhaps Brittany or Tours, 9th century (British Library Egerton MS 609, f. 46r).

 

This new project will add to the growing numbers of manuscript material available in full online as part of wider programmes to make these cultural treasures available to everyone around the world. At the British Library, over 8,000 items are currently available on our Digitised Manuscripts website. Similarly, thousands of items are available from the Bibliothèque nationale de France collections on its website, Gallica.

This exciting project is made possible by a generous grant from The Polonsky Foundation. Dr Leonard Polonsky remarks that ‘our Foundation is privileged to be supporting these two leading institutions in preserving the riches of the world’s cultural heritage and making them available in innovative and creative ways, both to scholars and to a wider public’.

The Polonsky Foundation is a UK-registered charity which primarily supports cultural heritage, scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, and innovation in higher education and the arts. Its principal activities include the digitisation of significant collections at leading libraries (the British Library; the Bibliothèque nationale de France; the Bodleian Library, Oxford; Cambridge University Library; the New York Public Library; the Library of Congress; the Vatican Apostolic Library); support for Theatre for a New Audience at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn, New York; and post-doctoral fellowships at The Polonsky Academy for the Advanced Study of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Its founder and chairman, Dr Leonard S. Polonsky, was named a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for charitable services in 2013.

The focus on the digitisation project will be on manuscripts produced on either side of the English Channel between 700 and 1200. The manuscripts from this period open up a window on a time of close cultural and political exchange during which scribes moved and worked in what is now France, Normandy and England. Decorated manuscripts containing literary, historical, biblical and theological texts will be included, representing the mutual strengths of the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Online access to these manuscripts will support new research into how manuscripts — and people — travelled around Europe in this period. New connections will be made possible by studying the two collections side by side.

For example, the manuscripts selected will include a number of illuminated Gospel-books, providing a witness to the changing tastes, influences and borrowings reflected in the books’ design and script. So a 9th-century, a 10th-century and a late 12th-century Gospel-book all have colourful illuminated initials with geometric patterns, floral decoration or animals heads, yet their execution is very different. The script, colours, style and subjects of the illumination all provide clues to the time and place of their composition. With the digitisation of manuscripts all these features may be studied and enjoyed in detail.

As well as making 800 manuscripts freely available online, the project will be part of a wider programme of activities aimed at researchers and the general public. A number of the manuscripts digitised will be displayed in a major international exhibition on Anglo-Saxon England to be held at the British Library from October 2018 to February 2019, which will highlight connections between Anglo-Saxon England and the Continent.

A conference at the British Library will coincide with the Anglo-Saxon exhibition (December 2018), and a project conference will be held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. An illustrated book showcasing beautiful and significant manuscripts from the collections will also be produced. Another output will be a film on the digitisation project that, together with the other aspects of the public programme, will open up new paths into collections for a variety of audiences.

The original version of this blog post in the British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog can be found here.

Adapted for Medieval Art Research blog by Amy Jeffs

Original text by Tuija Ainonen

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Looking back: Medieval & Early Modern Festival, University of Kent, June 2017

The 16th-17th June 2017 was the third annual MEMS Festival, a two-day celebration of all things Medieval and Early Modern at the University of Kent. Papers covered all kinds of topics, from art and literature to politics, identity, and everyday life from the entire period. The range of material meant that lots of different areas of expertise were brought together, leading to interesting discussions and comparisons. There were also lots of exciting practical workshops, such as a “mystery trail” in the Special Collections and Archives and workshopping a scene from the York Corpus Christi play with Claire Wright (University of Kent).

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Kent undergraduate students present their final year dissertations

The two dedicated medieval art sessions covered objects from far and wide. The first panel looked at style and symbolism over the artistic networks in England and France. Cassandra Harrington (University of Kent) gave probably a paper on foliate head keystones, looking at a particular example from the chapter house at Cluny, and distinguishing them from the usual interpretation of such heads as “Green Men”. Angela Websdale’s (University of Kent) paper on the “lost” wall paintings at Faversham Cathedral investigated a potential Westminster workshop moving between London and Kent, while Alice Ball’s (University of Kent) considered images of the Prodigal Son, in particular how the iconography of the windows at Chartres cathedral may have influenced the Bibles Moralisees.

The second medieval art panel was made up of three students who had just finished their undergraduate degrees at the University of Kent, who all presented on their recently-completed dissertations. Michael Gittins gave a fresh look at a well-known object, considering the heraldry and weapons pictured in the Morgan Picture Bible to make a convincing argument that Walter of Brienne may have been the original patron. In contrast, Lucy Splarn’s paper turned towards a tiny and much less well-known pilgrimage badge of St Thomas Becket, looking at the unusual iconography of the saint riding a peacock (see embedded 3D model). This could have been a representation of Thomas’s personality, and the idea that he was arrogant in his outward appearance but humble inside, which tied in well with Paul Binski’s paper at the Thomas Becket study day on the concept of personality in the Middle Ages. Catherine Heydon gave the third paper, on the idea of Purgatory in the thought of St Augustine, thinking about the way in which the imagery of Classical thought influenced the theology of the early Church.

Medieval and Early Modern art made an appearance in other sessions as well. Hannah Straw (University of Kent) gave a paper on the imagery of Charles II’s escape in the Boswell Oak tree and how it was used to shape the king’s public identity. Emily Guerry (University of Kent) also looked at public identity and the use of history, by examining the significance of James Comey’s (mis)quotation of Henry II in his testimony, and the way in which the past can be used in the public imagination.

Each afternoon of the conference was taken up with activities and workshops, which was a great opportunity to get some hands-on work with objects and new technologies. This included a set of workshops and a tour of Eastbridge Pilgrim’s Hospital, which would have been a stopping point for hundreds of visitors to St Thomas’s shrine. Despite the ancient surroundings, two of these were on new technologies for approaching medieval objects and buildings, using GIS mapping and 3D modelling to see medieval art in a new way. Amy Jeffs (Digital Pilgrim Project) led a workshop on digitising pilgrim souvenirs and using software to enable better study and public appreciation of objects which are usually difficult to access, leading to a discussion on the benefits and potential issues of digitalisation. Tim Beach also used technologies to explore medieval art, but on a much larger scale, demonstrating how 3D laser scanning can be used to make a perfect 3D digital representation of medieval buildings, performing a live demonstration on the undercroft of Eastbridge Hospital itself.

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Attendees take part  in a workshop in the Eastbridge Hospital Chapel

The whole conference was an exciting look at new research and approaches to medieval and early modern history, and the diverse mix of papers meant that lots of interesting discussions were happening all through the weekend, finishing up in the beautiful space of Eastbridge Hospital. The festival showcased the new research in the History of Art emerging from the University of Kent, both in relation to the wealth of local art around Canterbury itself, and the international nature of work being done, with a particular focus on the art of France and networks between France and England.    

Review by Han Tame

Postgraduate, University of Kent

Conference: The Profane within the Sacred in Medieval Art, Aguilar de Campoo, Sept 29th – Oct 1st 2017 (VII Colloquium Ars Mediaevalis)

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Conference: The Profane within the Sacred in Medieval Art, Fundación Santa Maria la Real – Aguilar de Campo (SPAIN), Sept 29th – Oct 1st 2017.

CFP for 20-minute ‘free papers’ open until 30 June 2017
How to apply:
send an email with name, Academic institution, 1 page abstract and main bibliography to plhuerta@santamarialareal.org

How to enrol in the conference: email: plhuerta@santamarialareal.org
Price:
Regular 125 € Reduced 90 € Special (students) 60 €

In his The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, the sociologist Émile Durkheim formulated the idea that the division of the world into two domains is the distinctive feature of religious thought, one containing the sacred and the other all that is profane. Durkheim’s distinction cannot be applied to medieval art, however, in which the mixing of secular motifs in religious objects, images, and architecture was characteristic –at least not without complicating the theoretical notion. The senmurf on the eleventh-century reliquary of St. Matthew in SS. Cosma e Damiano in Rome, the figure copied from Orestes on the ancient Husillos sarcophagus above the altar at Fromista, a fragment of victory killing a barbarian from a consular diptych re-used on a 11th/12th century book cover, and the incorporation of diagrams and motifs from natural science in the “aula gotica” in SS. Quattro Coronati in Rome are among myriad examples that document why this is the case.

In one of the best-known texts related to medieval art, Bernard of Clairvaux railed against the imaginative variety of profane art displayed in twelfth-century Cluniac monasteries, which he considered to be a subversion of the moral order of monastic life. Bernard’s diatribe not only confirms the fact that linking the two realms was common but also raises the question of audience and hence also spatiality. As the anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard postulated, sacredness (and therefore the profane) might be considered as situational, in a chronological as well as in a spatial sense. An object considered sacred in a given period may be considered profane or magical in a different time and/or space; decontextualization and reuse are thus also important issues related to the topic. Profane does not always imply anti-sacred. Indeed, given the fact that profanus means “in front of the consecrated enclosure,” the inclusion of secular elements within sacred domains suggests a dynamic interweaving that extends beyond the mere incorporation of motifs and objects. Sometimes the contacts between the two domains was regulated by rites that provided the conditions within which the relationship was made possible (i.e. consecration); other times, as when natural science was assimilated into the choice and manufacture of materials, the overlapping of sacred and profane underlies the processes of art.

In recent decades, historians have explored the uses of subversive elements in sacred art –from marginalia in illuminated manuscripts to coin-imagery and stamping incorporated in Eucharistic hosts. The conference Ars Mediaevalis 2017 sets out to assess the results of the advances made by the new art historiography and, more important, to open up still-unmapped paths for future study of the profane within the sacred during the Middle Ages.

Programme:

Friday, 29th September
Aguilar de Campoo

09.45h : Colloquium Ars Mediaevalis Opening
Chair: Francesca Español UB

10.00h Michele Bacci, Université de Fribourg – Intrusos en los iconos: perspectivas comparativas sobre los retratos individuales en la iconografia sagrada
10.45h Discussion

11.45h Philippe Cordez, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – Le repentir d’un magicien ? Les camées de la statuette de David à la cathédrale de Bâle (vers 1320)
12.30h Free paper
12.50h Discussion

16.00h Fernado Villansenor, Universidad de Cantabria – Lo profano y sus espacios: discursos marginales en la Castilla tardogótica
16.45h Javier Docampo, Biblioteca Nacional de España – Las representaciones de los trabajos de los meses en libros de horas: la construcción de un imaginario social
17.15 Discussion

17.45 Round table. “Profano: perímetros espaciales, iconicos y semanticos en el arte medieval / Profane: spatial, iconic, and semantic edges in medieval art” Gerardo Boto.

18.45 Public presentation of the new editorial series “Ars Mediaevalis. Estudios de arte medieval”

Saturday, 30th September
Palencia

(Chair: Fernando Gutiérrez Baños UVA)

10.00h Kathrin Müller, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main Subversive – Devices: Cosmological Diagrams and the Problem of the Sacred
10.45h Free paper
11.05h Discussion

12.00h Beate Fricke, Universität Bern – Representing the Cosmos’ Origins, illuminating cosmological thoughts
12.45h Free paper
13.05h Discussion
16.00h Academic visit: Burgos: Santa María de las Huelgas Reales; Cartuja de Miraflores

Sunday, October 1st
Agilar de Campoo

(Chair: Javier Martínez Aguirre UCM)

09.15h Milagros Guardia, Universitat de Barcelona – Las pinturas murales de Sant Joan de Boi: de como contextualizar la iconografia profana
10.00h Free paper
10.20h Discussion
11.20h Free paper

11.40h Herbert L. Kessler, Johns Hopkins University / Masaryk University – From Vanitas to Veritas: the Profane as a Fifth Mode of Seeing
12.20h Discussion

13.00h Conclusions and perspectives
13.15h Closing ceremony

 

Edinburgh College of Art Trecento seminar, Artist and Authorship (6 May 2016)

Scultore, Firenze, Museo Bardini3 (1)6th May 2016
10:00 – 17:00
Hunter Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh College of Art, 74, Lauriston Place , Edinburgh

Convened by Claudia Bolgia and Luca Palozzi from the School of History of Art

This one-day international research seminar on ‘Artist and Authorship’ is designed to take stock of the field, showcase award-winning, original research and discuss different methodologies, thus charting new avenues for future research. While the research seminar’s main focus of attention is the Italian Trecento, contributions reach well beyond it to investigate different geographical areas – both East and West (Portugal, France, Spain, Byzantium) – across a broader timespan, including contemporary perspectives on the topic.

FREE AND OPEN TO ALL.

BOOK YOUR FREE TICKET(S) HERE. LIMITED CAPACITY

Programme

10.00 – 10.15 Luca Palozzi (Edinburgh College of Art), Introduction

Session 1: Visual Networks and Artistic Flows

Chair: Luca Palozzi (Edinburgh College of Art)

10.15 – 10.40 Emanuele Lugli (University of York), ‘Inventing the Network: Linking Figures and Connecting Knowledge in Trecento Italy’

10.40 – 11.05 Carla Varela Fernandes (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal), ‘France-Catalonia-Portugal: artistic flows in the Trecento. Some examples from the Digital Index of Magistri Cataloniae’

11.05 – 11.20 Q&A

11.20 – 11.40 Coffee break

Session 2: Authorship and Self-Representation: East and West

Chair: Claudia Bolgia (Edinburgh College of Art)

11.40 – 12.05 Maria Lidova (British Museum, University of Oxford), ‘Manifestations of Authorship: Artists’ Signatures in Byzantium’

12.05 – 12.30 Giampaolo Ermini (Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy), ‘The Opere firmate nell’arte italiana / Medioevo Project : some notes on Sienese metalworkers’ signatures: goldsmiths, locksmiths, bell makers’

12.30 – 12.55 Donal Cooper (University of Cambridge), ‘The Authorship and Audience of the Meditations of the Life of Christ’

12.55 – 13.10 Q&A

13.10 – 14.00 Lunch

Session 3: Self-awareness and Reception

Chair: Claudia Bolgia (Edinburgh College of Art)

14.00 – 14.25 Luca Palozzi (Edinburgh College of Art), ‘Before the Paragone: Trecento Visual Intelligence and the Critical Misfortune of Sculptors’

14.25 – 14.50 Corin Sworn (Artist and Lecturer, Ruskin School of Art, Oxford), ‘The Mobile Screen and the Early Modern Stage: A contemporary artist’s take on borrowing from the past’

14.50 – 15.00 Q&A

15.00 – 15.20 Coffee break

Session 4: Postgraduate Research Showcase, Discussion and Conclusions

Chairs: Claudia Bolgia (Edinburgh College of Art), Robert Gibbs (University of Glasgow), John Richards (University of Glasgow), Luca Palozzi (Edinburgh College of Art)

15.20 – 15.50 Research Showcase with History of Art PhD candidates at the University of Edinburgh

Maria Gordusenko, ‘Magester Ursus and his self-representation in the church of Santi Pietro e Paolo in Ferentillo’
Amelia Hope-Jones, ‘The Elusive Artist: A Thirteenth-Century Tabernacle in the National Gallery of Scotland’
Fabian Bojkovsky, ‘A Jewish Convert as Artist: The Shrine of San Vicente, Sabina and Cristeta at the Intersection between Legend, Historicity and Propaganda’
15.50 – 16.20 Discussion

16.20 Claudia Bolgia (Edinburgh College of Art), Conclusions

For all enquiries, please email: luca.palozzi@ed.ac.uk.

Book roundup: Medieval architecture

All is thriving in medieval architecture publishing from the Romanesque to the Late Gothic: here are some very special books that have been published in the last few months.

As always do let us know of any recently-published medieval art history books you would like us to include in a book roundup – we would be happy to let people to know about them!

 

978-0-271-06645-5[1]Tom Nickson – Toledo Cathedral: Building Histories in Medieval Castile (Penn State University Press)

Medieval Toledo is famous as a center of Arabic learning and as a home to sizable Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities. Yet its cathedral—one of the largest, richest, and best preserved in all of Europe—is little known outside Spain. In Toledo Cathedral, Tom Nickson provides the first in-depth analysis of the cathedral’s art and architecture. Focusing on the early thirteenth to the late fourteenth century, he examines over two hundred years of change and consolidation, tracing the growth of the cathedral in the city as well as the evolution of sacred places within the cathedral itself. Nickson goes on to consider this substantial monument in terms of its location in Toledo, Spain’s most cosmopolitan city in the medieval period. He also addresses the importance and symbolic significance of Toledo’s cathedral to the city and the art and architecture of the medieval Iberian Peninsula, showing how it fits in with broader narratives of change in the arts, culture, and ideology of the late medieval period in Spain and in Mediterranean Europe as a whole.

Tom Nickson is Lecturer in Medieval Art and Architecture at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.



1400.medium[1]Costanza Beltrami – Building a Crossing Tower: A Design for Rouen Cathedral of 1516 (Paul Holberton Publishing)

Prompted by the recent discovery of an impressive three-metre tall late Gothic drawing of a soaring tower and spire, this book offers a rare insight into the processes of designing and building a major Gothic project. The drawing’s place and date of creation are unknown, and it corresponds to no surviving Gothic tower. Equally mysterious is the three-quarter, top-down perspective from which the tower is represented, without parallel in any other medieval drawings. Who drew this? When? And what did he hope to convey with his choice of a top-down representation of the tower? Building a Crossing Tower explores these questions, and uncovers the dramatic circumstances in which this drawing was created.

Costanza Beltrami is a PhD student at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.


9781783270842[1]Ron Baxter – The Royal Abbey of Reading (Boydell and Brewer)

Reading Abbey was built by King Henry I to be a great architectural statement and his own mausoleum, as well as a place of resort and a staging point for royal itineraries for progresses in the west and south-west of England. From the start it was envisaged as a monastic site with a high degree of independence from the church hierarchy; it was granted enormous holdings of land and major religious relics to attract visitors and pilgrims, and no expense was spared in providing a church comparable in size and splendour with anything else in England.
However, in architectural terms, the abbey has, until recently, remained enigmatic, mainly because of the efficiency with which it was destroyed at the Reformation. Only recently has it become possible to bring together the scattered evidence – antiquarian drawings and historic records along with a new survey of the standing remains – into a coherent picture. This richly illustrated volume provides the first full account of the abbey, from foundation to dissolution, and offers a new virtual reconstruction of the church and its cloister; it also shows how the abbey formed the backdrop to many key historical events.

Ron Baxter is the Research Director of the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland.

Conference review: Microarchitecture and Miniaturized Representation of Buildings (INHA, Paris 8-10 Dec 2014)

Search for “microarchitecture conference” on Google, and you will mostly be returned results concerning gatherings of computer programmers. This would doubtless make the concept of a conference on medieval microarchitecture entertaining to many. Even ignoring this parallel nomenclature, the sort of microarchitecture art historians are interested in is not an easy concept to explain, and perhaps one of the primary goals of the conference held at the Institut Nationale d’Historie d’Art in Paris was to actually work out what we had all come together for. I doubt wasn’t the only one who wondered whether my own material actually qualified.

Professor Timmermann with his pocket cathedral

Professor Timmermann with his pocket cathedral

Achim Timmermann (University of Michigan), a man who could indeed be dubbed “Mr. Microarchitecture”, gave an exciting overview of the concept in Early, High and Late Middle Ages, so epic in its scope of fantastic structures that the screen ought to have expanded into Imax proportions. His account demonstrated how microarchitecture transformed from the idea of a “pocket cathedral” into such an isolated ontological sphere that it crossed into convolute monstrosity with its self-mimesis by the late fifteenth century. An alternative and quite staggeringly rich oration, based on his new book Gothic Wonder, was given by Paul Binski among the medieval statuary in the ancient Roman baths of the Museé de Cluny. For Paul, the medieval intellectual aesthetic condensed great and small, magnificent and minificent, into an idea characterised by a single playfulness of embellishing surface with ornament. A more formal account, jointly delivered by Javier ibàñez Fernandez (Universidad de Zaragozza) and Arturo Zaragozá Catalán (Universidad de Valencia), introduced a 7-part taxonomy of microarchitecture in Spain: from functional maquettes to decorative miniaturisation of large-scale forms.

Sebastian Fitzner and some extraordinary medieval tile ovens

Sebastian Fitzner and some extraordinary medieval tile ovens

In this framework of ideas of categorisation, many new genres of object were introduced to the conference room. The present writer, of course, had packed a selection of sedilia, which by now I am certain always prove novel to continental audiences. But we also had stone tile ovens like traceried office blocks from Sebastian Fitzner (LudwigMaximilians-Universität München), Orthodox chivots for Eucharist reservation that mimic the forms of their parent building from Anita Paolicchi (Università di Pisa) and Renaissance elevation drawings that were originally intended to be folded and constructed into paper models from Giovanni Santucci (Università di Pisa).
These models are sort of things we would love to have more evidence for in the Middle Ages to explain the transmission of ideas, but alas, even presentation drawings and plans are difficult to come by. The miniaturisation of large forms into the decorative or representational was covered in papers by Sabine Berger (Sorbonne) on votive churches in the hands of donor statues and Peter Kurmann (ETH, Zurich) on relationship of tabernacle canopies to the geometry and form of great chevets.

Matthew Sillence with cardinals' seals

Matthew Sillence with cardinals’ seals

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Final panel with Alexander Collins, Julian Gardner (chair), Sophie Cloart-Pawlak and Sarah Guérin

There was also consideration of the desirability of microarchitecture and its meaning beyond the artists’ play with novel forms. Matt Ethan Kalaver’s (University of Toronto) account of the earliest transmission of classical forms into the Netherlands by the high nobility on their tombs was reflected in the earlier centuries considered by Julian Gardner (University of Warwick) and Matthew Sillence (University of East Anglia). Their papers both focused on how influential medieval prelates and cardinals were for spreading new forms on their seals, which, quite thankfully, was a big part of my paper where also bishops seem the first to stick pointy gables over sedilia in chantry chapels they have endowed.
Perhaps one drawback about the novelty of much of the material is that it is only in retrospect to draw many of these parallels across sessions. One panel however that held together very well that at the end of the final day, between Sophie Cloart-Pawlak (IRHiS, Lille), Alexander Collins (University of Edinburgh) and Sarah Guérin (University of Montréal) who all explored the function and symbolism of microarchitecture on the spectator.
This was my first international conference, and it was a highly convivial experience with high-quality papers throughout. There was a healthy mix of postgraduates, early career researchers, established scholars and some legendary old hands. It is planned that the proceedings will be published, and therefore it should provide a much-needed general framework for the minificent microcosm of the fiddliest bits of the decorative arts.

The international conference Micro-architecture et figures du bâti au Moyen-Âge: l’échelle à l’épreuve de la matière was at the Institut Nationale d’Historie d’Art from the 8-10 Dec 2015. Here is our original post of the call for papers, the full programme and the INHA’s official page.

We also had a bit of fun tweeting the conference because we’re so Web 3.0.