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Conference: Scaling the Middle Ages: Size and Scale in Medieval Art, The Courtauld Institute, London, 8 February 2019

image-1024x745The Courtauld Institute of Art 24th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Student Colloquium 

Scaling the Middle Ages: Size and scale in medieval art 

10:00–18:00 Friday 8 February 2019 (with registration from 9:30) 

Lecture Theatre 1, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW 

Size mattered in medieval art. Whether building a grand gothic cathedral or carving a minute boxwood prayer bead, precisely how big to make it was a principal concern for medieval artists, their patrons, and audiences. 

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. 

Left: North elevation (detail), Sainte Chapelle, Paris (1239-1248). Right: Reliquary of Saints Maxien, Lucien, and Julien (Paris, 1261-1262) Musée nationale du Moyen Âge, Paris. 

In our age of viewing through digital surrogates, the Courtauld Institute of Art’s 24th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Student Colloquium invites its speakers to consider new approaches to issues of size and relative scale in relation to the making, meanings, and study of medieval art. 

The Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium offers the opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present and promote their research. 

Organised by Teresa Lane (The Courtauld Institute of Art) and Oliver Mitchell (The Courtauld Institute of Art) with the generous support of Michael Carter and the Consortium for Arts and Humanities in South-East England.

Programme: Scaling the Middle Ages: Size and scale in medieval art 

9:30-10:00 Registration – Front hall 

10:00-10:10 Welcome – Teresa Lane & Oliver Mitchell (The Courtauld Institute of Art) 

SESSION 1: ARCHITECTURAL MINIATURES Chaired by Giosue Fabiano (The Courtauld Institute of Art) 

10:10-10:30 Sylvia Alvares-Correa (University of Oxford): The use of architecture in a 15th century panorama of the Passion of Christ in Jerusalem: structuring composition or ideology? 

10:30-10:50 Niko Munz (University of York): Architectural ventriloquism in pre-Eyckian panel painting 

10:50-11:10 Antonella Ventura (Independent scholar) Playing with scales: Relationships between monumental architectures and reliquary structures in Umbria and Apulia in the fourteenth century 

11:10-11:30 Discussion 

11:30-12:00 Tea & coffee break (Research Forum Seminar Room, Floor 2) 

SESSION 2: SCALE MODELS Chaired by Bella Radenovic (The Courtauld Institute of Art) 

12:00-12:20 Angela Websdale (University of Kent): Replication and Reproduction: Evoking the Cult of St Edward the Confessor and the Visual Culture of Westminster Abbey and Palace at St Mary’s Church, Faversham 

12:20-12:40 Francesco Capitummino (Independent scholar): The ambo of the Capella Palatina in Palermo, a reduced scale of the Cefalù prototype 

12:40-13:00 Discussion 

13:00-14:00 Lunch (provided for speakers and chairs – Seminar Room 9, Floor 2) 

SESSION 3: THE SCALE OF DEVOTION Chaired by Chloe Kellow (The Courtauld Institute of Art) 

14:00-14:20 Sheridan Zabel Rawlings (University of Manchester): Scale matters: The intentional use of size to depict Christ in John Rylands Library’s Latin MS 344 

14:20-14:40 Matko Marušić (University of Zagreb): Medieval crosses: Scale, typology, materials 

14:40-15:00 Harry Prance (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Miniature materials/ concrete connections: The spaces of Byzantine liturgical objects 

15:00-15:20 Discussion 

15:20-15:50 Tea & coffee break 

SESSION 4: AMPLIFICATION & DISSEMINATION Chaired by Laura Melin (The Courtauld Institute of Art) 

15:50-16:10 Charlotte Wytema (The Courtauld Institute of Art), From abstract idea to scaled-up image: The case of the Virgin with fifteen symbols 

16:10-16:30 Nicolas Flory (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Scaling Patronage in the Duchy of Burgundy: Isabella of Portugal and her Carthusian donations 

16:30-16:50 Discussion 

16:50-17:00 Closing remarks by Professor Joanna Cannon (The Courtauld Institute of Art) 

17:00 Reception With special thanks to Michael Carter for his generous support 

 

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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)