On the occasion of the V&A Museum’s unprecedented exhibition of opus anglicanum, this one-day interdisciplinary conference brings together leading and emerging scholars working on questions of meaning and materiality in medieval textiles, both real and imaginary.
The conference is organised by Birkbeck Medieval Seminar and the History of Art Department with support of the Murray Bequest. The programme, and details of how to book can be found at: https://medtex.eventbrite.co.uk
Friday 25th November, 2016, 10.00am -5.00pm.
Birkbeck, University of London, Room 101, 30 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DT
Author: K. Whittington
In 1334, an Italian priest named Opicinus de Canistris fell ill and experienced a divine vision of continents and oceans transformed into human figures, a vision which inspired numerous drawings. While they relate closely to contemporary maps and seacharts, religious iconography, medical illustration, and cosmological diagrams, Opicinus’s drawings cannot be assimilated to any of these categories. In their beautiful strangeness they complicate many of our assumptions about medieval visual culture, and spark lines of inquiry into the interplay of religion and science, the practice of experimentation, the operations of allegory in the fourteenth century, and ultimately into the status of representation itself.
“Karl Whittington’s Body-Worlds brings Opicinus de Canistris’ idiosyncratic drawings out of the purely personal, mentally disturbed world to which they have generally been consigned into a more normative and accessible realm. To unlock their forms and meanings, Whittington persuasively compares the odd renderings to portolan charts used in marine navigation, which he sees as foundational to Opicinus’s project. And, building on the work of Michael Camille and Victoria Morse, he subjects the drawings to a sensitive analysis that never flattens these indisputably eccentric works but, in the end, enhances their innovative nature even while rendering it understandable.”
– Herbert L. Kessler, Johns Hopkins University
“Opicinus’s drawings contribute in new and unexpected ways to our understanding of the late medieval church, the history of vision and sensibilities, the body, the history of cartography, and Mediterranean studies. Karl Whittington is an intelligent reader of these very difficult works and a wonderful guide for readers encountering this material for the first time. His book will open up an important and under-utilized corpus for further study and should spark an on-going conversation about these intriguing manuscripts.”
– Victoria Morse, Carleton College
“In Body-Worlds, Karl Whittington has produced a magisterial study of the enigmatic drawings of Opicinus de Canistris. Focusing on a key grouping within the larger corpus of images, he examines some two dozen illustrations that superimpose human bodies on the form of the earth, its seas, and its continents. Two questions guide his task: why would this late medieval thinker adapt a diagrammatic form based on current understanding of cartography; and why turn this image into a system for analyzing broad theological and philosophical questions of the day? Although some scholars believe that Opicinus suffered from a form of physical and mental disorder, and that the drawings reflect a disturbed state of mind, Whittington’s complex study indicates otherwise. Whittington does justice to the rich multivalent nature of these drawings, showing us how Opicinus understood the relationship between the body and cosmos, as well as how sexuality and gender worked as important conceptual tools in his visionary system.”
– Catherine Harding, University of Victoria
The Department of the History of Art is pleased to announce the programme for the annual Medieval Art Seminar Series 2016-17. The seminars will explore ideas of craft and process in medieval art at practical and theoretical levels.
Papers (and in one case, a trip to the V&A) will be held on alternating Mondays during Michaelmas and Lent terms and the final two papers of our series will be held in Easter term. The venue for the seminars is Lecture Room 2 of the History of Art Department (1-5 Scroope Terrace, Cambridge CB2 1PX), beginning promptly at 5.30pm. Following questions, attendees are invited to stay and speak more informally with speakers over wine and light nibbles. Lectures are free and open to the public.
Organisers: Robert Hawkins, Amy Jeffs
Please email Robert Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
Monday 10th October
Zoe Boden (Victoria and Albert Museum & University of Glasgow)
Opus Anglicanum and the Steeple Aston Cope
Monday 24th October
Group visit to the Opus Anglicanum Exhibition, meet 1.45pm at the V&A
Monday 7th November
Dr George Younge (University of York)
Anglo-Saxon sources of the Theological Windows at Canterbury Cathedral
Monday 21st November
Prof Richard Sennett (LSE and NYU)
The Craftsman: a Discussion
Monday 23rd January
Dr Lucy Wrapson (University of Cambridge, HKI)
Thomas Gooch and Thomas Loveday, two Suffolk Carpenters and their Rood Screens
Monday 6th February
Anya Burgon (University of Cambridge)
The Mechanical Arts in Twelfth-Century School Poetry
Monday 20th February
Dr Peter Dent (University of Bristol)
‘Domine dio fece scolpire questa croce’: Carving the Crucifix in Late Medieval Italy
Monday 27th February
Prof Tim Ingold (University of Aberdeen)
The Craft of Spinning
Monday 6th March
Dr Tom Nickson (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Gothic Encounters? Architectural History, Phenomenology and the Gothic Church
Monday 1st May
Prof Susan Rankin (University of Cambridge)
Writing sound : Designing Notation : Carolingian Musical Techne
Monday 15th May
Agata Gomolka (University of East Anglia)
Carving Romanesque Chiaroscuro
|October 16, 2016 through January 8, 2017|
Walters Presents A Feast for the Senses: Art and Experience in Medieval Europe
Features more than 100 objects from world-renowned collections
Baltimore, MD – The Walters Art Museum presents A Feast for the Senses: Art and Experience in Medieval Europe, a major international loan exhibition that brings together more than 100 works including stained glass, precious metals, ivories, tapestries, paintings, prints, and illuminated manuscripts from 25 public and private collections in the U.S. and abroad, including the Walters’ extraordinary medieval collection. On view from October 16, 2016 through January 8, 2017, A Feast for the Senses explores how medieval works of art spoke to all the senses. Luminous stained glass windows, tapestries depicting fragrant gardens, chalices used in the Eucharist—these objects were not only seen, but were also, and at the same time, touched, smelled, tasted, and heard. The Walters is first of only two venues to host this extraordinary exhibition. Admission is free.
During the late medieval period—roughly the 12th to 15th centuries—religious and secular life mingled to the point that the boundaries between them become hard to distinguish: the delights of life and anticipation of heavenly reward were closely intertwined. The arts of the time reflect a new interest in human experience, the enjoyment of nature, and the pursuit of pleasure by evoking and celebrating beauty through all of the senses. While such pleasures were not directed exclusively toward spiritual enlightenment, religious practices were also defined by rich sensory experiences.
The exhibition evokes these not only through the works of art on view but also through specially designed sensory experiences, ranging from smells of roses and incense to the sounds of church bells and gardens, and the tactility of rosary beads.
“In many museums today, visitors experience the artworks by viewing them from afar in silent galleries. A Feast for the Senses will push the boundaries of the art museum by inviting visitors to encounter art with more than just their eyes,” says exhibition curator Martina Bagnoli (former Walters’ curator of medieval art, who is now executive director of the Gallerie Estensi in Modena, Italy).
Loans and Support
More than 25 museums and collections in the United States and abroad are lending works to the exhibition, including the British Museum, London; the Musée du Louvre, Paris; the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. The exhibition also includes masterpieces from the Walters’ renowned collection of medieval art, one of the most important in the United States
A Feast for the Senses has been organized by the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, in partnership with the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, and will be on view at the Ringling February 4 through April 20, 2017.
The exhibition received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the National Endowment for the Arts; and anonymous donors, with additional support from the Gary Vikan Exhibition Fund, Nanci and Ned Feltham, and the Helen Hughes Trust. The accompanying catalogue was made possible by an anonymous donor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, or the National Endowment for the Arts.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
A generously illustrated catalogue presents new research in the developing field of sensory perception within art history. It includes essays by leading scholars exploring the themes of the exhibition through representations of religious practices, royal rituals, feasts and celebrations, and music and literature. Edited by exhibition curator Martina Bagnoli, the catalogue is published by the Walters Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press. It is available for sale in the Walters Art Museum Store and online ($65, hardcover) beginning in mid-October.
Opening Day Event
A public opening day talk Symposium on the Senses in Medieval Culture will be held Sunday, October 16 at 1:30 p.m. Exhibition curator Martina Bagnoli, Walters’ in-house curator Joaneath Spicer, and other scholars will explore aspects of the role played by sensory perception in medieval culture that are both surprising and completely familiar to us today. A reception and book signing follow. Tickets are $10, and free for Walters members.
10th COMPLUTENSE CONFERENCE ON MEDIEVAL ART
NOVEMBER 2nd, 3rd, AND 4th 2016
RESEARCH PROJECT: “Al-Andalus, the Hispanic Kingdoms and Egypt: Art, Power and Knowledge in the Medieval Mediterranean. Exchange Networks and their impact on the Visual Culture”(HAR2013-45578-R)
The aim of this conference is to deepen into the various insights of the construction of spaces and the production of works of art linked to sciences and knowledge in the Middle Ages, throughout different geographical, cultural, and social realms within the Mediterranean area.
CALL FOR PAPERS
Paper proposals should include an abstract of the issue written in Spanish, English or French languages (a maximum of ca. 1,000 words), a bibliographical reference’s list on the subject (a maximum of 10 references), and a short Curriculum Vitae of the submitter (a maximum of ca. 500 words). Proposals should be framed within one of the four indicated sessions by the submitter. Priority will be given to those innovative approaches, critical analyses or insights into the specific framework of the session topics, especially those linked to al-Andalus, Hispanic Kingdoms or Medieval Egypt. Proposals should be send to email@example.com before June, 15th 2016; once they have been selected by the scientific committee, their acceptance will be notified to authors before June, 30th 2016.
- “Mirror of Princes: paideia, uirtus and adab” is focused on secular places of knowledge.
- “Science and its usages” deals with those spaces and networks where medieval science was developed.
- “Books and their spaces” is devoted to the production of Medieval manuscripts and the places for books.
- “Masters, sages, and patrons” analyzes the relationship between patrons, artisans, and knowledge producers, paying special attention to synergies of all those linked to scientific development.
Evelyne Berriot-Salvadore (Université Montpellier 3), Eduardo Carrero (UAB), Miquel Forcada (UB), Ángel Fuentes Domínguez (UAM), Emilio González Ferrín (Universidad de Sevilla), Alfonso Jiménez (Universidad de Sevilla), Miguel Marañón (Instituto Cervantes), Rafael Ramón Guerrero, María Jesús Viguera (UCM), Gerhard Wolf (Kuntshistorisches-Max Planck Institute, Florencia).
SCIENTIFIC AND ORGANISING COMMITTEE
Alexandra Uscatescu e Irene González Hernando (coordinadoras), Susana Calvo Capilla, Juan Carlos Ruiz Souza, Azucena Hernández Pérez, Víctor Rabasco García, Pilar Martínez Taboada, Herbert González Zymla, Noelia Silva Santa-Cruz, Javier Martínez de Aguirre, Marta Poza Yagüe, Óscar Monterreal, Elena Paulino, Manuel Parada y Laura Molina.
Dr Dirk Booms, Department of Greek and Roman, British Museum, in conversation with Dr Caroline Goodson.
Dr. Booms, the curator of the current landmark exhibtion Sicily: Culture and Conquest, will discuss the process of developing this exhibition, from first concept to final installation.
6 pm, 1 June 2016 Room G16, Main Building (Malet Street) Birkbeck, University of London Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX
This event is free; all are welcome to attend.
For further information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org