Tag Archives: objects

CFP: ‘Recovering the Ritual Object in Medieval and Early Modern Art,’ AAH Conference, Brighton, 4–6 Apr 2019

DjWmmKBXcAUB1yCDeadline: Nov 5, 2018

“Recovering the Ritual Object in Medieval and Early Modern Art”

Session Convenors: Dr Catriona Murray, University of Edinburgh, c.a.murray@ed.ac.uk; Dr Halle O’Neal, University of Edinburgh, halle.o’neal@ed.ac.uk

In the medieval and early modern worlds, ritual served as a legitimising process, a dynamic mechanism for mediating a transference or transformation of status. Objects played an essential part in this performative practice, charged with symbolism and invested with power. Distanced from their original contexts, however, these artefacts have often been studied for their material properties, disconnecting function from form and erasing layers of meaning. The relationships between ritual objects and ritual participants were identity-forming, reflecting and shaping belief structures. Understanding of how these objects were experienced as well as viewed, is key to revealing their significances.

DjWniZ5XsAAAiJ0This panel intends to relocate ritual objects at the centre of both religious and secular ceremonies, interrogating how they served as both signifiers and agents of change. The organisers specialise in early modern British art and medieval Japanese art, and so we invite proposals from a range of geographical perspectives, in order to investigate this subject from a cross-cultural perspective. We particularly encourage papers which discuss medieval and early modern ritual objects—broadly defined —as social mediators.

Issues for discussion include but are not limited to:
– Recovery of the everyday in ritual objects
– Embodiment
– Audiences and interactions
– Performativity
– Ritual object as emotional object
– Spatiality and temporality
– Re-use, recycling, removal
– Illusion and imagination
– Memory
– Thing theory

How to apply: Please email your paper proposal direct to the session convenors, details above. Provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper, your name and institutional affiliation (if any).


CFP: International Graduate Students Colloquium, “Why did they choose this place? Settlements, Representations and References of Buildings and Objects (11th-17th centuries)”, Amiens (France) 29-30 May 2018

afficheCall For Papers: International Graduate Students Colloquium, “Why did they choose this place? Settlements, Representations and References of Buildings and Objects (11th-17th centuries),” Amiens (France), 29-30 May 2018
Deadline: 15 January 2018

The research laboratory Trame (Texts, Representations, Archaeology and Memory from Antiquity to the Renaissance) of the University of Picardie Jules Verne associated with the research unit Transitions. Middle Ages and First Modernity (University of Liège) and with the Center for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance of the University François Rabelais (Tours) is organising three international meetings implemented by PhD students of these three institutions. the aim of the meetings is to enable exchanges and discussions between PhD students, junior researchers and experimented colleagues.

The first meeting will be held in Liège on Tuesday the 30th of January and Wednesday the 31st of January 2018 on the theme “Transition(s): concept, methods and case studies (14th-17th centuries)”.

The second meeting will be held in Amiens on Tuesday the 29 th of May and Wednesday the 30rd of May 2018 on the theme : “Why did they choose this place? Settlements, Representations and References of Buildings and Objects (11th-17th centuries)”

This colloquium will be divided into two parts: first, the choice of the place of the building, and then the choice of the place of the object.
The construction of a new building usually start with an important thinking concerning the localization. The choice is strategic or symbolic, sometimes both, and depend on its function, its sponsor and its geographical context. For example, a monastery will set up on a secluded place or, in the contrary, on an urban center; a military fortress must occupy a strategic place to dominate a territory etc. In this way, it’s interesting to study all these factors, actors and issues regarding the establishment process in a rural, urban or suburban context. In the same way, objects (such as paintings, sculptures, precious objects, reliquaries, pieces of jewellery, funerary monuments, pieces of furniture, symbols of power etc.) are interesting to study. A lot of them need to be placed on a specific location, whether it’s in a real place or in the composition of a bidimensional work. The place where the object is arranged can be modified in consequence as there
are interactions between them. The goal of this meeting is to gauge the notion of place in all its forms in order to understand its meaning and its importance during the Middle Ages and First Modernity.

Day 1: The place of the Building
This first day will be focused on the buildings. The statements have to match the three
following approaches:
– The location choices of the edifice: how the place was chosen? Who were the actors of this choice? What were the effects of this implantation on a local and global historical context? Studies could focus on a specific place, a religious community, an edifice or an archaeological site. It’s a matter of showing the location strategies and the territorial transformations after the creation of a new “place of power” or a place of production in a historical and geographical context.
– The place‘s portrayal is the second theme: why did they choose this place? How is it
represented and why? Are they accurate the original place? How fictive places are show? The statements have to consider the different means used to point out peculiar location and the underlying goals.
– The place’s references in the sources: how literature and manuscripts mention those places whether real or fictive? What is the purpose in those texts? In an illuminated book, how is introduced the description of the place and what are the connections between the picture and the text? The statements could cover the evolution of the terms used to qualify a place. For example, the Latin word “prioratus” is barely used to qualify a priory between the 11th and the 13th centuries in manuscripts but we find lot of others words like house, farm, church etc.

Day 2: The place of the object
Concerning the place of the object we propose the three following themes:
– The position of the object:  usually, special objects are put in specific places: a building, a public space or a private one, or even a tomb. It would be interesting to attempt to understand why those objects have been placed in well-chosen areas, which were the factors and the issues according to which this decision has been made and by who. The history of the different places in which an object dating back to the 11th to the 17th century has been settled from his creation up to the present time can be made through a historiographical perspective. Reflections focusing on the methods used by historians, historians of arts or archaeologists to identify the original place of an object are
– Interaction between the object and the place: the goal is to think about the conjoint and
disjointed evolution of the building and the object: which are the impacts of the mutations and the intern reconstructions of the building on the object? How a building can specifically be built to accommodate one or several objects? This theme concerns both religious and public spaces, but also private places and the first experiences in museum architecture linked to a collection. Once again, all reflections about the methodology used to understand those interactions are welcomed.
– Representation of the object in paintings, illuminated manuscripts and sculptures: this
third theme invite to wonder about the methods used to represent the object on pieces of art. How is it put on the spot when it plays a central role in the pieces of art? How an object can be used to build up the composition of a picture?

Contribution Modalities
Lectures should relate to history, archaeology, history of arts and literature, from the 11th to the 17th century. The purpose is to have a brand new and interdisciplinary view on the notion of “place” which finally concern several research subjects. Communications should try to introduce historiographical elements enabling to develop comparisons between the different interventions and to think about the notion of “place” nd its evolution through time.

The proposals are expected for the 15th of January 2018 at the latest. They should be fifteen-line summary of the proposed lecture addressed to the Organising Committee, send together with a CV, the title of the thesis et the name of the research director(s). Candidate will be informed of the approval or the rejection of their proposal by the 15 th of February 2018.
Lectures should last 20 minutes maximum, with the possibility to project a Powerpoint. They can be made in French or in English.
We will unfortunately not be able to provide you financial help for the accommodation or the transport.
If you need an attestation to valorise your participation, we will be able to provide it.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information.
Organising Committee:
– Julie Colaye, PhD student in medieval history : juliecolaye@gmail.com
– Marie Quillent, PhD student in history of medieval art : marie.quillent@wanadoo.fr

Call for Papers: Seals and Status 800 – 1700 (British Museum 4-6 Dec 2015)

Silver seal matrix set with a red jasper Roman intaglio showing the emperor Antoninus Pius. Acquired with the assistance of Dr. John H. Rassweiler.

Silver seal matrix set with a red jasper Roman intaglio showing the emperor Antoninus Pius. Acquired with the assistance of Dr. John H. Rassweiler.

Quo asserente se sigillum habere, subridens vir illustris, ‘Moris’, inquit, ‘antiquitus non erat quemlibet militulum sigillum habere, quod regibus et precipuis tantum competit personis…’

He answered that he had a seal. The great man smiled. ‘It was not the custom in the past’, he said, ‘for every petty knight to have a seal. They are appropriate for kings and great men only’.

Chronicle of Battle Abbey, 1180s or 1190s, ed. and trans. Eleanor Searle (1980)


The aim of this conference is to foster discussions about seals and status, concentrating on three principal themes:
I. Seals and social status
II. Seals and institutional status
III. The status of seals as objects
The famous exchange quoted on the left captures in a few biting words the close and significant connections between seals and status. It evokes the perception that sealing related to social status, that this relationship changed over time, and that such historical developments were both recognized and highly charged. Finally—and perhaps one reason why the Battle anecdote has been so often quoted—these words suggest an important status for seals themselves within the medieval world of objects. If anything, this importance increased with their proliferation: seals eventually belonged to all kinds of people and institutions, and many individuals, corporations, and chanceries had several. Ultimately, seals’ forms and functions came both to articulate and to construct social as well as institutional and administrative hierarchies.
Possible topics for papers include: Seals and heraldry; seals and inequality; seals and villeinage; seals of institutional office; seals and gender; non-heraldic personal seals; seals and status as represented in medieval and early modern texts; corporate seals and the status of institutions; the historiography of seals; the organization of chanceries; the development of sealing practices within and across social groups; relationships of seals to other works of art.
Proposals are welcomed from a wide range of perspectives, such as: archaeology, history, art history, archival studies, literature. Submissions will be accepted in English, French, and German and should be no more than 300 words in length. Send to Lloyd de Beer (ldebeer@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk) by 30th January 2015.
The conference will be held at the British Museum from the 4th – 6th December 2015.
This conference is co-organised with John Cherry and Jessica Berenbeim in collaboration with Sigillvm, a network for the study of medieval European seals and sealing practices.

CFP: Object Fantasies. Forms & Fictions (Munich, 7-9 October 2015)


CFP: Object Fantasies. Forms & Fictions (Munich, 7-9 Oct 15)

Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität,
7 – 9 October 2015

Deadline: 31 July 2014

Interdisciplinary Conference of the Junior Research Group “Premodern Objects. An Archaeology of Experience“ (Elite Network of Bavaria / Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

In modern understanding, the word “object” signifies something material, spatially defined and functionally determined. These notions are accentuated by the word objectivity, which defines an ideal, systematic mode of grasping objects as “subjects” that presumably operate neutrally and scientifically. In contrast, the Latin word “fantasia” has, since antiquity, signified an apparition or the ability to imagine something that can equally be an image, a concept or, also, an object.

The conference takes the latter alternative meaning, that is, the non-objective experience of objects as well as recent positions of thing studies as the basis for inquiry into the creative act in the reception and construction of objects. How, for instance, do the object fantasies let the borders between object categories or objects and creatures blur? What role do they – equally nourished by illusion and experience – play in the perception and handling of material objects? To what degree do perceptions of and references to objects have a lasting effect on the conception and creation of other material objects or fictional objects in images and texts? And finally: What correlation exists between the creative handling of the objectual, the self-perception of subjects and the concrete and imaginary conditions of their social lives?

The conference will pursue these as well as other lines of questioning of different formal as well as fictional possibilities in the creation of objects. Welcome are papers from all fields of human sciences on individual objects, object categories and systems, objects in images and texts, objects with images and script as well as object theories.

The travel and accommodation costs of the speakers will be covered. The conference serves as a preparation for an anthology on the same topic. Working languages are English, German, French and Italian. Please send a one page abstract and a short CV by July 31, 2014 to objektfantasien@kunstgeschichte.uni-muenchen.de.

For more information: