Tag Archives: Making

CFP: ‘Scaling the Middle Ages: Size and Scale in Medieval Art’, Courtauld Institute of Art’s 24th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium, London, Friday 8 February 2019

image-1024x745The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 24th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium invites speakers to consider issues and opportunities encountered by medieval artists and viewers in relation to size and scale.

Deadline: 16 November 2018

From micro-architectural reliquaries and minute boxwood prayer beads to colossal sculpture and the built spaces of grand cathedrals and civic structures, size mattered in medieval art. Examples of simple one-upmanship between the castles and palaces of lords and kings and the churches and cathedrals of abbots and bishops are numerous. How big to make it was a principal concern for both patrons and makers of medieval art. Scale could be manipulated to dramatic effect in the manufacture of manuscripts and the relative disposition of elements within their decorative programmes. Divine proportions – of the Temple of Solomon or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – were evoked in the specific measurements and configuration of contemporary buildings and decisions were made based on concern with numbers and number sequences.

Inspired by the ‘Russian doll’ relationship between the Sainte Chapelle in Paris and its micro-architectural miniature in the form of a gilded reliquary in the Musée de Cluny, Scaling the Middle Ages seeks to explore a range of questions surrounding proportion, scale, size, and measurement in relation to medieval art and architecture. The Sainte Chapelle, built by the saint-king of France Louis IX to house the relics of Christ’s Passion, is itself often described as an over-sized reliquary turned inside-out. The Cluny reliquary – made to house relics of Saints Maxien, Lucien, and Julien held within the chapel – both complicates and compliments that comparison, at once shrinking the chapel back down to size through close architectural quotation of its form in miniature and pointing the viewer’s attention back to that same, larger space. The relationship between these two artefacts raises a host of questions, including:

Scale and making

How were ideas about size and scale communicated between patrons, architects, craftspeople, and artists? In an age without universal standardised units of measurement, how did craftsmen negotiate problems of scale and proportion?

How were the measurements of a medieval building determined? What techniques did architects, masons, and artists use to determine the scale of their work?

Scale and meaning

What effects were achieved and what responses evoked by the manipulation of scale, from the minute to the massive, in medieval art?

What was the role of proportion and scale in architectural ‘copies’ or quotations?

What representational problems were encountered by artists approaching out-sized subjects, such as giants?

How was scale manipulated in order to communicate hierarchy or relative importance in medieval art?

How did size and scale function in competition between patrons or communities in their artistic commissions and built environments?

Problems of scale

What, if anything, happened when something was the wrong size? When was something too big, or too small? And how were such problems solved by patrons and makers?

How does the disembodied viewing of medieval art through digital surrogates distort or assist in our perception of scale?

How can modern measuring techniques and digital technology enhance our understanding of medieval objects and buildings?

Applicants to the colloquium are encouraged to explore these and related issues from a diverse range of methodologies, analysing buildings and objects from across the Middle Ages (broadly understood in geographical and chronological terms). The Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium offers an opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present, discuss and promote their research.

To apply, please send a proposal of up to 250 words for a 20-minute paper, together with a CV, to teresa.lane@courtauld.ac.uk and oliver.mitchell@courtauld.ac.uk no later than 16 November 2018.

Organised by Oliver Mitchell and Teresa Lane (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Advertisements

CFP: Scaling the Middle Ages: Size and Scale in Medieval Art, 24th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, February 8, 2019

The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 24th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium invites speakers to consider issues and opportunities encountered by medieval artists and viewers in relation to size and scale.

Deadline: 16 November 2018

From micro-architectural reliquaries and minute boxwood prayer beads to colossal sculpture and the built spaces of grand cathedrals and civic structures, size mattered in medieval art. Examples of simple one-upmanship between the castles and palaces of lords and kings and the churches and cathedrals of abbots and bishops are numerous. How big to make it was a principal concern for both patrons and makers of medieval art. Scale could be manipulated to dramatic effect in the manufacture of manuscripts and the relative disposition of elements within their decorative programmes. Divine proportions – of the Temple of Solomon or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – were evoked in the specific measurements and configuration of contemporary buildings and decisions were made based on concern with numbers and number sequences.

Inspired by the ‘Russian doll’ relationship between the Sainte Chapelle in Paris and its micro-architectural miniature in the form of a gilded reliquary in the Musée de Cluny, Scaling the Middle Ages seeks to explore a range of questions surrounding proportion, scale, size, and measurement in relation to medieval art and architecture. The Sainte Chapelle, built by the saint-king of France Louis IX to house the relics of Christ’s Passion, is itself often described as an over-sized reliquary turned inside-out. The Cluny reliquary – made to house relics of Saints Maxien, Lucien, and Julien held within the chapel – both complicates and compliments that comparison, at once shrinking the chapel back down to size through close architectural quotation of its form in miniature and pointing the viewer’s attention back to that same, larger space. The relationship between these two artefacts raises a host of questions, including:

Scale and making

  • How were ideas about size and scale communicated between patrons, architects, craftspeople, and artists? In an age without universal standardised units of measurement, how did craftsmen negotiate problems of scale and proportion?
  • How were the measurements of a medieval building determined? What techniques did architects, masons, and artists use to determine the scale of their work?

Scale and meaning

  • What effects were achieved and what responses evoked by the manipulation of scale, from the minute to the massive, in medieval art?
  • What was the role of proportion and scale in architectural ‘copies’ or quotations?
  • What representational problems were encountered by artists approaching out-sized subjects, such as giants?
  • How was scale manipulated in order to communicate hierarchy or relative importance in medieval art?
  • How did size and scale function in competition between patrons or communities in their artistic commissions and built environments?

Problems of scale

  • What, if anything, happened when something was the wrong size? When was something too big, or too small? And how were such problems solved by patrons and makers?
  • How does the disembodied viewing of medieval art through digital surrogates distort or assist in our perception of scale?
  • How can modern measuring techniques and digital technology enhance our understanding of medieval objects and buildings?

Applicants to the colloquium are encouraged to explore these and related issues from a diverse range of methodologies, analysing buildings and objects from across the Middle Ages (broadly understood in geographical and chronological terms). The Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium offers an opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present, discuss and promote their research.

To apply, please send a proposal of up to 250 words for a 20-minute paper, together with a CV, to teresa.lane@courtauld.ac.uk and oliver.mitchell@courtauld.ac.uk no later than 16 November 2018.

Organised by Oliver Mitchell and Teresa Lane (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Click here for more information:

Conference: New Dialogues in Art History, The Warburg Institute, London, September 26, 2018

https3a2f2fcdn-evbuc-com2fimages2f472296712f2640004419952f12foriginalThis one day conference brings together the next generation of art history scholars to present and discuss their ongoing research. Papers will predominately focus on Italian and Northern Renaissance Art (c. 1400–1600) and will encompass diverse media including tapestry, painting, engraving and stained glass. The conference will comprise five sessions. In the first four, two PhD students (or recent graduates) will present on topics that are united by common themes such as patronage, attribution and materiality. The final session, entitled ‘Opening New Dialogues’, will feature a paper by Professor Michelle O’Malley (Deputy Director and former PhD student at The Warburg). In order to foster the intellectual exchange central to ‘New Dialogues in Art History’ , the key paper(s) of each session will be followed by 20 minutes discussion.

Organised by Genevieve Verdigel & Lydia Goodson. Please direct any enquiries to the organisers at: NewArtDialogues@gmail.com

Programme

10:00–10:15: Registration

10:15–10:30: Introduction: Lydia Goodson and Genevieve Verdigel

10:30–11:30: Session 1: Making and Materiality
Chair: Alexander Röstel (Courtauld Institute / The National Gallery)
– Ang Li (University of Oxford): ‘The Revival of Gold Ground in Late Fifteenth-Century Italian Paintings.’
– Benedetta Pacini (University of Warwick/ The National Gallery): ‘Making and Moving Venetian Renaissance Paintings: my interviews with chief restorers in Venice and London, and archival records about Tintoretto’s transport strategy.’

11:30–11:45: Break (Tea and Coffee Provided)

11:45–12:45: Session 2: Attribution and Authorship
Chair: Dr Olenka Horbatsch (British Museum; PhD 2017, University of Toronto)
– James Wehn (Case Western Reserve University/ The Cleveland Museum of Art): ‘The Maker’s Image: Israhel van Meckenem, His Name, and His Copies.’
– Catherine Spirit (University of York): ‘Weaving Light: Untangling Authorship in the Windows of All Saints Church, Earsham.’

12:45–13:45: Lunch (Provided for Speakers and Chairs)

13:45–14:45: Session 3: Prestige and Patronage
Chair: Adriana Concin (Courtauld Institute)
– Dr Ilaria Taddeo (PhD 2017, IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca): ‘Artistic Patronage, Family Prestige and Religious Politics. The case of the Guidiccioni between Lucca and Rome (c. 1530-1550).’
– Anne-Sophie Laruelle (University of Liège): ‘Reconsidering Tapestry Patronage and Trade in the Renaissance.’

14:45–15:00: Break (Tea and Coffee Provided)

15:00–16:00: Session 4: Itinerancy and Interchange
Chair: Lois Haines (Warburg Institute / The National Gallery)
– Giulio Dalvit (Courtauld Institute): ‘Circulation of Drawings in Castiglione Olona: Masolino, Paolo Schiavo, Vecchietta, Domenico Veneziano and Cyriacus of Ancona.’
– Matthew Whyte (University College, Cork): ‘Stylistic Exchange and Civic Identity in Michelangelo’s work on the Arca di San Domenico in Bologna.’

16:05–16:55: Session 5: Opening New Dialogues
– Professor Michelle O’Malley (Deputy Director, Warburg Institute): ‘The Specifics of Authorship: Attributing Production.’

16:55–17:00: Concluding Remarks
17:00–18:00: Reception

Free and Open to all. Advanced booking required via Eventbrite.

Use of Models in Gothic Art (Geneva, 4-5 Nov 2016)

Villard_de_Honnecourt_-_Sketchbook_-_29[1]Call for Papers

University of Geneva, November 4 – 05, 2016
Deadline: Dec 15, 2015

The University of Geneva’s Art History Unit and the University of
Strasbourg’s Institute of Art History are organizing an international
conference:

Supposed Models, Identified Models: Their Uses in Gothic Art

The topic of models, whose use is inherent to the artistic creative
process, has been central to art historians’ concerns for a long time.
In the Middle Ages, the use of various models was frequent. But those
remain rather difficult to identify when dealing with specific pieces
of work, which can be very distant, both chronologically and
geographically. Moreover, interpreting prototypes makes it all the more
difficult to analyse this phenomenon and appreciate its true
importance. Indeed, medieval artists typically proceeded by selecting a
number of patterns, which they then assembled into different
compositions. The few medieval model books that we have at our disposal
today describe this process: there is little to no composition per se,
but rather a selection of depictions. This shows a will by the artist,
whether it be a sculptor, a goldsmith, a painter or an architect, to
use creativity to go beyond the model itself, through the manipulation
and combination of a variety of borrowed elements. We know that the
diversity of the models used is key to the formation of Gothic art.
Determining their origin and circulation for a specific piece of work,
however, is no easy task.

Following the 1995 publishing of Robert W. Scheller’s seminal work
Exemplum. Model-book Drawings and the Practice of Artistic Transmission
in the Middle Ages, the use of bi- or tridimensional models, as an
intermediate between two pieces of work sharing one or more
similarities, has been systematically put forward to explain formal
transmission. However, given the rarity of the documents and the
uncertainty of their initial purpose, many questions and discrepancies
in opinions remain on both their importance and their actual use.

The aim of this conference is therefore to focus on those topics, more
specifically on how central they were to the creative process during
the Gothic era (12th to 15th century), in all artistic fields
(painting, sculpture, goldsmithery, architecture). By discussing those
different aspects in the various contributions, through the study of
their specificity (their nature, use and various channels of
distribution) the notion of models may thus be more precisely defined.

The nature itself of those models, a very debated issue, is a logical
starting point, even if the current state of the documents and the
preservation of the works make it difficult to guarantee a satisfactory
analysis. Which works of art are, at some point, deemed worthy of being
reproduced or mentioned? How is a model chosen? What criteria are taken
into account in order for it to be elevated to the status of reference?
In this case, the prototype becomes exceptional and should therefore be
examined. Model books and model drawings are another crucial topic
which must be widely discussed. What functions can be assigned to the
few fragments which historiographical tradition has considered as such?
Should formal books, designed to register a pattern or a composition,
be distinguished from notebooks used for memory purposes? The
collections of patterns we have today, which were probably designed to
be used as an intermediate and a means of transmission, come in a
bi-dimensional form, either on parchment, paper or wood. Fabric was
also considered recently as a possible material for the design of the
Canterbury and Sens stained glass. Besides, there is evidence of
tri-dimensional scale models (made of wax, wood, clay or plaster) being
used for various purposes, including sculpture. Again, the very nature
of these materials used for formal transmission from one work of art to
another requires an in-depth analysis.

We also need to question the manners in which craftsmen and artists
might have used these models. Are those partial or complete copies? To
what extent did the model need to be adapted (for iconography, material
or point of view), completed, adjusted (for scaling or framing) and
inevitably interpreted? What meaning should inversions be given? The
use of models, whether it be through sketches or reference work, could
have contributed to the visual and technical training of the artist as
well as guided the commissioner’s choice, following both aesthetic and
ideological criteria. Notes made for memory purposes and gathered along
various trips should not be neglected either.

Beyond the bi- and tri-dimensional models, whose role and significance
must be put into perspective, or at least carefully examined, the
transmission of shapes, patterns and compositions could have been
achieved via different means. The travelling of artists, supervisors or
commissioners, the mobility of small objects such as manuscripts,
statuettes, goldsmithery pieces, seals and the sending of diplomatic
gifts all represent other possible channels of distribution which could
explain the noted similarities between works geographically very
distant from one another.

Studying and questioning each of these aspects as thoroughly as
possible should provide us with some elements to answer a number of
questions which have been too briefly addressed so far. It should also
give a clearer and more precise idea of one of the means of
transmission of gothic art, through intense circulation networks, which
have contributed both to its emergence, its development and its spread.

The conference proceedings will be published.

Presentation proposals must be submitted by email with an abstract of
approx. 400 words, along with an abridged C.V. (2 pages maximum) by
December 15, 2015 to the following address: colloque.modeles@gmail.com .
Prospective participants will be notified in mid-January 2016. A
provisional schedule will be available from March 2016. Presentations
will be limited to 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute discussion.
Participants : Researchers, junior and senior
Languages : French, English

Organizing Committee:
Denise Borlée, University of Strasbourg
Laurence Terrier Aliferis, University of Geneva

Scientific Committee:
Michele Bacci, University of Freiburg
Philippe Cordez, Universität München
Frédéric Elsig, University of Geneva
Christian Heck, University of Lille 3
Herbert Kessler, Johns Hopkins University
Pierre Alain Mariaux, University of Neuchâtel
Roland Recht, Paris, Collège de France
Marc Schurr, University of Strasbourg
Jean Wirth, University of Geneva

Contact:
colloque.modeles@gmail.com

Material Processes and Making In Medieval Art (Kalamazoo 2016 session)

making-the-ms[1]The International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS) at Western
Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 12 – 15, 2016
Deadline: Sep 15, 2015

Art historians traditionally focus on the finished work, yet attention
to the creative process of making allows us to consider how medieval
builders and artisans constructed monuments, made objects, and planned
workflow for large-scale projects. Furthermore, this line of inquiry
allows us to consider spatial planning and haptic encounters. The use
of new technologies such as digital reconstructions, laser scans, 3D
printing, and other imaging tools provides scholars with the
opportunity to understand the conceptual processes of art making in the
Middle Ages as never before through reverse engineering.

Recent art-historical scholarship has reintroduced interest in the
materiality/object-ness of medieval art and architecture and attendant
somatic responses. Analysis of the processes of making is fundamental
to this renewed interest in the relationship between materiality and
human experience of the art object. Together, these inquiries will
yield new insights into the social, economic, political, and practical
conditions of production.

For this session we are interested in presentations that investigate
the process of making medieval art and architecture and what these
processes tell us about medieval artistic production. We welcome papers
that explore questions such as:
• What can art historians learn from studying creative processes?
• What are the methods of design to finished product?
• How did masons and artisans revise work in progress or finished work?
• Why are some materials selected over others?

DEADLINE FOR PAPER PROPOSALS: 15 September 2015
Paper proposals should consist of the following:
• Abstract of proposed paper (300 words maximum)
• Completed Participation Information Form available at:
http://wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#Paper
• CV with mailing information and email address.

PLEASE DIRECT INQUIRIES/SUBMISSIONS TO THE
ORGANIZERS:
Meredith Cohen: mcohen@humnet.ucla.edu
Kristine Tanton: kristanton@gmail.com.

Information about the conference, including proposal submission forms,
may be found at
http://wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html.

Call for Papers: ‘Shared Invention: From Antiquity to the 21st Century’ (Clermont-Ferrand, Aubusson and Limoges, 6–8 April 2016)

issue_91_2015_news03[1]An international colloquium entitled ‘Shared Invention: From Antiquity to the 21st Century’ will be held 6–8 April 2016, and proposals for papers are now being accepted. The colloquium is being organized by Laurence Riviale and Jean-François Luneau, lecturers at Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand (France), in partnership with Musée national Adrien Dubouché, Limoges (France) and Cité de la Tapisserie, Aubusson (France). It will take place in Clermont-Ferrand, Aubusson and Limoges. ‘Shared invention’, or collective creation, is the chosen theme for this international colloquium, whose aim is to enable art historians working in a range of fields to understand better creation in the fine arts and production in the decorative arts.

When an artist’s work of art is translated into another medium, if the craftsman is not himself the inventor, but only a docile workman, how can differences in two items made by two craftsmen according to the same design be accounted for, but by a margin of liberty and sensitivity in which the very personality of the maker expresses itself? This margin will be at the heart of the debate, taking into account historical, social, and cultural contexts of all the periods in question.

After the Middle Ages, during which painters and sculptors belonged to a regular, legally instituted trade, those whom we now denote ‘artists’ tried to distinguish themselves by invention, leaving execution or transposition to craftsmen, and strove to elevate their trades to the dignity of liberal arts. For Giorgio Vasari, such a claim is satisfied by the expression ‘arts of design’, which were to become the ‘fine arts’, that is, painting, architecture and sculpture. ‘Design’ thereby has became the discriminating point for all academies that were subsequently founded, from the Accademia delle arti del disegno in Florence (1563) to the French Académie royale (1648), and later on, the British Royal Academy (1768). Art historians have seldom questioned this hierarchy and have more readily studied the creations of a ‘genius’, leaving the craftsman’s production in the shadow.

But is invention only the privilege of the artist who provides the design? Recent scholarly studies have striven to understand the processes of creation at the heart of workshops through artistic documentation, such as the miscellanies of modelli and inventories of human positions collected by painters in the sixteenth century, revealing the almost universal use of what has been called, paradoxically, the ‘invention copy’ – that is, the creation of a new composition achieved by putting together heterodox bits from everywhere. This type of process highlights the role of the patron, who may be the true inventor, as he owns designs and ideas and is responsible for this aspect of the composition from beginning to end. In this case, the so-called ‘artist’ is but a kind of go-between, and can only be understood as a mere workman.

Papers devoted to etchings or engravings, stone masonry, wall-painting or paper, furnishing or fashion fabrics, chinaware, stoneware, stained glass, etc., are welcome, especially if they emphasize not only the margin of liberty mentioned above, but also the aspects of works of art appropriate to their destination and intended meaning. Summaries of 2500 or 3000 characters will be submitted, along with a short CV (three lines), before 22 June 2015, to laurence [dot] RIVIALE [at] univ-bpclermont [dot] fr, or laurence [dot] riviale [at] orange [dot] fr, or J-Francois [dot] LUNEAU [at] univ-bpclermont [dot] fr. Applicants will receive a reply in September 2015.

Languages: French, English (there will be no interpreters).

The Apocalypse Art Prize

“The first rule of art is beauty.” So begins “A Primer of Pictorial Devices in Medieval Painting” written by artist Gloria Thomas. The primer is a guide to competitors in the Apocalypse Art Prize. The prize is $10,000 and the deadline for entry is December 31, 2015. Complete information about the prize and how to submit an entry can be found on the competition’s web site: Apocalypseprize.com

The theme for all entries is Saint John the Divine’s vision of the Apocalypse, the last book in the Christian canon, also called Revelation. The Apocalypse text is filled with metaphorical images that have influenced world literature and art for two millennia. Who has not heard of the “Mark of the Beast”, the “Battle of Armageddon” or the “Harlot of Babylon”? The competition web site lists 86 possible subjects for entrants to choose from the Apocalypse text, offering what Thomas calls “an unparalleled opportunity for imaginative representation.”

X1_Woman-Clothed-with-the-Sun[1]

Subject matter is not the only criteria. The substantial cash prize will go to the artist who is best able to use analogical principles of composition in his or her work. These principles are described in the instructional videos: Revelations: Ideas in Images (Part I and II) also found on the Apocalypse Art Prize web site. Between the hard copy primer available to entrants at no cost and the plethora of resource materials loaded on the web site, participants have more than enough information to carry out the requirements set by the competition designer.

About the Competition Design
Gloria Thomas has spent more than 40 years researching and implementing the principles of pictorial analogy in her works that grace churches, museums and private homes. She now wishes to pass these principles on to other Christian artists, particularly young artists, as a traditional way of making contemporary religious art. Thomas wants to challenge artists to rethink not only subject matter and style, but also, and more fundamentally, how to convey the indescribable through images of things that can be pictorially represented.

There is nothing novel about the objective. Art is continually born and reborn from the desire to express relationships between the seen and unseen through artifact, music and poetry. What is exceptional about the competition is that participants are required to use the language of analogy in their submissions, and the models used to explain analogy are illuminated manuscripts of the High Middle Ages.

X2_Seven-Headded-Beast[1]

Seven Headed Beast from the Apocalypse Tapestries (1382 AD) created by Jean Bondol, housed in the Château d’Angers

Naturalism vs. Analogical Representation
The amount of art created in the Middle Ages about the Apocalypse is immense. The competition invites artists look to these fabulous examples of image metaphor for inspiration, works like the Abingdon Apocalypse, the Visio Santci Pauli Apocalypse, the Trinity Apocalypse, the Bodlein Douce Apocalypse, and the Angers Tapestries. While the images are highly representational, they share almost none of the aspects of naturalism associated with Renaissance painting. It is not simply because these works preceded the Renaissance; they are of a different order.

X3_Antichrist-Assault-on-the-Church[1]

Antichrist Assault on the Church from the Abingdon Apocalypse (1270 AD) housed in the British Library, London

The appeal of Renaissance naturalism is in its portrayal of the arrested moment, a freeze frame in one-point perspective that presents an illusion of reality. The illusion created by naturalism is that the viewer is an eyewitness to some event or emotion captured in a work of art. By contrast, Medieval religious art uses representation of figures and things poetically in order to describe physical and metaphysical dimensions on the same surface. It is a picture plane similar to a stage on which it is possible to view at once “not only this world and the next, but the involvement of the entire cosmos.” As Thomas says, “Medieval art is not an illusion of reality, but an analogy of it. Its scenes are not ruled by light and shade as in nature. Everything is equally illuminated to create an analogy with the light of the intellect which sees all thought with the same clarity.” Analogy does not show how things are related to each other materially; it shows how they are “related conceptually” by giving thought material attributes.

A similar purpose is served in Eastern Orthodox iconography with its overlapping treatment of time and eternity and of the horizon-less earthly domain couched between heaven and hell. When the invention of the camera overwhelmed the artistic devices of naturalism, a long retreat from representational art ushered in a movement generally known as Modern Art in its many forms. Ironically, early modernists such as Cézanne, Matisse, Chagall, and Derain turned to the icon as a way of recovering the freedom of space, form and color exhausted by naturalism.

Modernists like Marcel Duchamp, however, preached a kind of militant iconoclasm that persuaded generations of artists to embrace contempt for meaning and beauty. “What I have in mind,” says Duchamp, “is that art may be bad, good or indifferent, but, whatever adjective is used, we must call it art, and bad art is still art in the same way that a bad emotion is still an emotion.”

History of the Apocalypse Art Prize
Thomas rejected this doctrine during her graduate studies at Queens College of the City of New York [1968-1970]. She reached instead for traditional aesthetics and her faith. “Having nearly lost my sanity in art school, I returned to things I loved as a child, the wonderful paintings of scenes from Holy Scripture.” Her first project inspired by this return was a series of paintings based on St. John’s vision of the Apocalypse. In 1994 Viking-Penguin Press published the series under the title “Revelations: Visions of the Second Coming from the Old and New Testaments.” The paintings were accompanied by a text complied from an interplay of biblical prophecy concerning the catastrophes to befall the cosmos at the end of time, leading up to the Last Judgment and the creation of new heavens and new earth.

X4_Four-Horsemen-of-the-Apocalypse[1]

The Apocalypse Art Prize is a continuation of Thomas’ abiding interest in these themes. It is also a meditation on how art communicates through its “first rule,” that is – beauty. The very notion is heresy in modernist terms of amorphous pigment splatters and just plain “bad art.” Like Thomas, philosopher Roger Scruton is convinced that art has a higher purpose than shock and disposable amusement. “Through the pursuit of beauty,” Sruton claims, “we shape the world as our own and come to understand our nature as spiritual beings. But art has turned its back on beauty and now we are surrounded by ugliness.”

Benefactors of the Apocalypse Art Prize are hoping artists will respond to Thomas’ encouragement to explore an artistic language with a long shelf life as well as a source of subjects with endless opportunities “for imaginative representation.”

Participation in the competition is free and open to all during the year 2015. Winners will be announced June 1, 2016 and awarded prizes according to the age category of the participant.

1. Participants older than 16 compete for a first prize of $7,000, 
a second prize of $3,000, and a third prize of $2,000.
2. Participants between 12 and 16 years of age compete for a $2,000 prize.
3. Participants 12 years old and younger compete for a $1,000 prize.

Persian scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr beautifully articulates the philosophy of the benefactors of the Apocalypse Art Prize and the underlying crisis they seek to address.

“Traditional art is a channel of grace, and the sacred art which lies at its heart in a sense compliments the social and legal norms promulgated by the revelation. It reflects the beauty which guides us to the source of all beauty, to the one who alone is beautiful in the ultimate sense … to gain greater insight into the meaning of religious art in a world which has turned its back upon the very principles that govern all existence.”

For more infomation on the principles behind submissions, to order your free guide to creating your visualisation of scripture, and see the first year’s winners, visit www.apocalypseprize.com/

This article is taken, with permission, from the Orthodox Arts Journal, with updates for the current year’s competition.