Tag Archives: late-gothic

Symposium: Modelling Medieval Vaults

cropped-Pixel-bw-1The use of digital surveying and analysis techniques, such as laser scanning, photogrammetry, 3D reconstructions or reverse engineering offers the opportunity to re-examine historic architecture.

Digital analysis has enabled new research into design processes, construction methods, structural engineering, building archaeology and relationships between buildings. Recent research on Continental European and Central American architecture has established the significance of these techniques, however, as yet there has been little exploitation of digital technologies in the context of medieval architecture in the British Isles. This is despite international recognition of the importance of thirteenth and fourteenth-century English vault design to the history of Gothic architecture in an international context.

The aims of the present symposium are to present new research in this emerging field to establish appropriate methodologies using digital tools and identify significant questions for future research in the area.

The symposium will be relevant to anyone with an interest in:

  • Medieval architecture
  • Three-dimensional digital methodologies
  • Digital techniques used for the analysis of historic works of architecture

Programme

09:00   Welcome (tea and coffee)

09:30   Introduction
09:40   Keynote: Norbert Nussbaum, Thomas Bauer and Jörg Lauterbach: Benedikt Ried’s Deconstructive Vaults in Prague Castle – Design, Construction and Meaning
10:30   Tea and coffee break

Digital processes 1
10:50   Carmen Pérez de los Ríos: Researching tas-de-charge Design and Construction Methods: an Approach Supported by Digital Techniques
11:10   Danilo Di Mascio: Morphological and geometric complexities of built heritage
11:30   Marco Carpiceci and Fabio Colonnese: Medieval vaults for Renaissance architecture. Modelling the vaults on sheet 10 of Leonardo da Vinci’s Code B
11:50   Enrique Rabasa-Díaz, Ana López-Mozo, Miguel Ángel Alonso-Rodríguez and Rafael Martín-Talaverano: Technical knowledge transfer in European Late Gothic: multi-star vaults
12:10   Questions
12:20   Keynote: Santiago Huerta: Cracks and distortions in masonry arches and vaults
13:10 Lunch break (lunch provided)

New questions in 14th-century vaulting
13:50   Nick Webb: Wells cathedral choir aisle vaults: digital documentation and analysis
14:05   Alex Buchanan: Wells cathedral choir aisle vaults: issues of interpretion
14:20   Andrew Budge: Design changes: the macro- and micro-architectural vaults of fourteenth-century collegiate churches
14:40   Sophie Dentzer-Niklasson: From Two to Three Dimensions: Drawings and Design Processes in Medieval Vaulting
15:00   Questions
15:10   Tea and coffee break

Digital processes 2
15:30   Rosana Guerra and Paula Fuentes: The construction of the vaults of Mallorca cathedral
15:50   Weiyi Pei and Lui Tam: Comparison of Digital Documentation Methodologies of Neo-gothic Vaulting System: A Case Study of Dominican Church, Ghent, Belgium
16:10   Balázs Szőke, Balázs Szakonyi and Gergely Buzás: Role of the “Horizontal ribs” in late gothic vault constructions in Hungary.
16:30   Questions
16:40   Keynote: Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry; Documentation and Visualization of Late Gothic Ribbed Vaults in Southern Mexico

Book here.

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Murray Seminars on Medieval and Renaissance Art at Birkbeck, Summer 2016

bern_muensterAll seminars are held at 5pm in the Keynes Library at Birkbeck’s School of Arts (Room 114, 43, Gordon Sq., London, WC1H OPD). A break at 5.50pm is followed by discussion and refreshments.

22 April
Bernd Nicolai: Modes of Artistic Expression and Representation. The facade of Bern Minster and fifteenth-century church building programmes in imperial cities

Bernd Nicolai examines the late-gothic west facade of Bern Minster and its extraordinary sculpted portal featuring scenes of the Last Judgement, considering the power of change in this and other church-building programmes in imperial cities during the fifteenth century.

1 June
Clare Vernon: Pseudo-Arabic in Medieval Southern Italy
Pseudo-Arabic script appears in both Islamic and Christian Mediterranean art in the central Middle Ages. Clare Vernon examines the use of pseudo-Arabic motifs in the region of Puglia in southeast Italy over the course of the eleventh century. Focussing attention on the mysterious pavement in the basilica of San Nicola in Bari she explores how the script-like motif relates to Bari’s role as capital of the Byzantine provinces in Italy.

29 June
Laura Slater: Talking Back to Power? Art and Political Opinion in Early Fourteenth-Century England.

‘Spin’ and reputation management were an established part of medieval politics. Laura Slater explores the role of art and architecture in challenging political ideas and opinions in early fourteenth-century England, focussing on the activities of Queen Isabella of France during the 1320s. Successful in invading England, deposing her husband Edward II and establishing herself as de facto regent in place of her teenaged son, Edward III, Isabella managed to use art and architecture to present herself as a loving, loyal and virtuous wife. Yet the queen’s subjects may still have ‘talked back to her’ responding to these PR efforts in a similarly public and permanent setting.

British Museum Handling Session: Master W and Key and late-gothic architectural prints 

an00059980_001_lThanks to the assistance of Lloyd De Beer and Naomi Speakman, both in progress with individual collaborative PhDs at the British Museum, the Courtauld has organised several handling sessions for postgraduate students over the past few years – you can read a report from an earlier session here.
The March session was kindly hosted by the British Museum’s Prints and Drawings department, and focused on Master W and Key (active c. 1465–1490), an anonymous Netherlandish engraver named after the shape of his monogram. Most of the eighty-two extant works by this artist are ornament prints, but he is also known for his engravings of ships, the first known representations of this kind.
Both aspects of the Master’s production were discussed during the handling session, when we had the opportunity to analyze several prints by the artist, including:
While the ships may be connected with the ducal fleet of Charles the Bold of Burgundy, scholars have generally interpreted the architectural prints as patterns to be used by craftsmen in the workshop. Nevertheless, discussion during the session raised many questions on the cost, circulation and market of such early prints. Although a modern perspective may see the printed image as a cheap, mass-produced medium, these early architectural  examples are very complex, and often required the painstaking engraving of more than one plate, printed on multiple sheets. Would such time-consuming creations really have offered a more convenient alternative to the exchange of drawings among workshops? What other reasons may have contributed to the spread of such designs?
Although this remained an open question, consideration of prints such as Alart du Hameel’s Design for a Gothic baldachin  revealed that early architectural prints could be intentionally used to advertise their maker’s expertise in design and geometry: this print features a prominent signature, a mason’s mark, and an abbreviated ground-plan which seems to imply superior technical expertise. The same consummate skill is show in Wenzel von Olmütz’s Elevation of a Gothic Pinnacle with a Hexagonal Ground Plan, although in contrast to du Hameel, Olmütz did not sign his creation, and positioned plan and elevation one above the other, as typical of other Gothic drawings and of the Gothic design process in general.
Other treats of the handling session included Emperor Heraclius entering Jerusalem with the upright True Cross, designed by Alart du Hameel but signed ‘Bosche,’ presumably in an attempt to partake of the painter’s fame; Master ES’ figured alphabet; Albrecht Dürer’s large coloured drawing of a Gothic table fountain.
Objects for the session were selected by Dr Ursula Weekes, Dr Tom Nickson and Costanza Beltrami. We also put together a short list of suggested reading on the theme of late-Gothic architectural prints and alphabets:
Kik, Oliver, ‘From Lodge to Studio: Transmissions of Architectural Knowledge in the Southern Low Countries, 1480–1530.’ In The Notion of the Painter-Architect in Italy and the Southern Low Countries, edited by Piet Lombaerde (Turnhout, 2014)
Waters, Michael, ‘A Renaissance without Order: Ornament, Single-sheet Engravings and the Mutability of Architectural Prints,’ Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 71, no. 4 (December 2002), pp. 488-523
Kavaler, Matt, ‘Gossart as Architect,’ and the entries on The Virgin and Child with Musical Angels (p. 126) and The Malvagna Diptych (p. 136) in Maryan W. Ainsworth (ed.), Man, Myth and Sensual Pleasures: Jean Gossart’s Renaissance: The Complete Works (New Haven and London, 2010)
Boekeler, Erika, ‘Building Meaning: The First Architectural Alphabet’. In Push Me, Pull You: Art and Devotional Interaction in Late Medieval & Early Modern Europe, eds S. Blick & L. Gelfand; E.J. (Brill, 2011), pp. 149-195.