Murray Seminars Autumn Term 2018-19

I’m writing with details of this term’s Murray Seminars on Medieval and Renaissance Art at Birkbeck. These advanced research seminars are open to all, and attract interested members of the public, staff and students from other London colleges and beyond.  They are an opportunity to hear and contribute to cutting-edge research, often at the very early stages of work in progress.

All this term’s seminars take place in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library) at 5pm.  Talks finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and are then followed by discussion and refreshments.  We hope to see you there.

This term’s seminars are:

16 October, Lisa Monnas

Vestments and Textiles in Hans Memling’s ‘God with Singing and Music-making Angels 

Three large panels in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, painted by Hans Memling in the 1480’s, represent a heavenly scene framed by clouds, which part to reveal the central figure of God attended by sixteen singing and music-making angels. Thye once formed the top of the high altarpiece of the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria la Réal in Nájera, in Spain. In the central panel, God is depicted vested as priest and ruler, and the angels in this and in the flanking scenes wear clerical dress. The work has been interpreted as relating to the Good Friday liturgy and the Exaltation of the Cross, but since the panels originally formed the top of an altarpiece whose main subject was the Assumption of the Virgin, this is open to doubt. This paper will re-examine the vestments and textiles in the newly conserved panels, assessing their ‘realism’ and their contribution to the heavenly scene. It will also consider them in the wider context of some of Memling’s other works.

14 November, Jana Gajdosova

Sculpted Genealogies: The Effigies of Bohemian rulers in Prague Cathedral  

With the death of Wenceslas III, the Přemyslid dynasty, which had ruled Bohemia for over four centuries, came to an end. The murder of the young king created chaos in the kingdom for several decades; however, after the marriage of Elizabeth of Přemyslid and John of Luxembourg and the subsequent birth of Charles IV (1316 – 1378), Bohemia reached the height of its political and cultural power in Europe. Charles IV saw himself as a bridge between two Bohemian dynasties – the Přemyslids of the past and the Luxembourgs of his envisioned future. This link was communicated with painted genealogies in at least three of Charles’ castles, and with staged genealogies across Prague. The fascination that Charles had with re-imagining and visualizing his role within the dynastic shift that occurred also found expression in the sculpted genealogies which are the subject of this paper—specifically the effigies of Přemyslids rulers commissioned by Charles IV for Prague Cathedral, which were made to communicate these ideas in sculpture and across real space.

5 December, Marie-Louise Lillywhite 

Blood is Thicker than Water: Artists, Friends and Family Alliances in Seventeenth-Century Venice

How did Venetian artists forge alliances to advance their interests and ensure the continuation of their workshops? Focusing on the painter Palma il Giovane, this paper explores his concerted efforts to continue his family name through strategic marriages, and safeguard his success through advantageous friendships. This study will demonstrate how these potentially positive relationships impacted artistic production in Venice for better, or indeed worse.

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Murray Seminars at Birkbeck, Summer Term

THE MURRAY SEMINAR ON MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE ART

All seminars are held at 5pm in The Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43, Gordon Sq., London, WC1H OPD. A break at 5.50pm is followed by discussion and refreshments. 

1 May, Cristina Guarnieri, University of Padua

The Stories of St. Lucy by Jacobello del Fiore, and Venetian folding reliquary altarpieces

The Stories of St. Lucy by Jacobello del Fiore are one of the masterpieces of Italian Late Gothic painting, but their function has been little understood. Re-evaluating prevailing theories about the panels’ purpose and display, this paper proposes that they formed a folding reliquary altarpiece, and considers other examples of this type which was once common in the Veneto.

5 June, Michelle O’Malley, the Warburg Institute

Botticelli: A conundrum of production

Two versions of Botticelli’s Virgin and Child with an Adoring Angel suggest raise fundamental questions about the specifics of authorship in the workshop and how we, as art historians, understand Renaissance artistic practice and construct attribution. This paper looks again at the technical evidence and the value of connoisseurship in tracking the development of the use of reproductive technique in late fifteenth-century Florence.

27 June, Alison Wright, UCL

Gold against the Body:  gold surfaces and their limits, medieval to early modern

The myth, famously invoked in Goldfinger, of the human body suffocated by being coated in gold exemplifies the fascination and danger attached to the idea of an ‘excess’ of gold, especially in respect to human skin. This paper explores the slippery boundaries of when, where and for whom gold surfaces might be deemed excessive in relation to European art, especially Italian, of the fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries.

All this term’s seminars take place in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library) at 5pm.  Talks finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and are then followed by discussion and refreshments.  We hope to see you there.

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Murray Seminar: Emmanuele Lugli – Tuesday 13 February 5pm

Dear Student,

I’m writing with details of next week’s Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art at Birkbeck. These advanced research seminars are open to all, and attract interested members of the public, staff and students from other London colleges and beyond.  They are an opportunity to hear and contribute to cutting-edge research, often at the very early stages of work in progress.  The timing allows you to attend and still go to classes on the same evening.  All this term’s seminars take place in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library) at 5pm.  Talks finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and are then followed by discussion and refreshments.  We hope to see you there.

Emmanuele Lugli  Tuesday 13 February

Chasing Absence: The Body of Christ and the Measures to Enter in Touch with it

This talk focuses on the singular devotion for the ‘mensura Christi,’ or the act of praying with objects that reproduced the height of Christ. It explores the reasons for its phenomenal success, from its diffusion in the twelfth century up to its ban in the seventeenth, and the motives for its marginalization in historical accounts today. The talk asks questions about what turns an orthodox veneration into a mere superstition, an inversion that is all the more puzzling given that the ‘mensura Christi’ relies on measuring, one of the methods to fight credulity. The lecture thus reconsiders the relationships of measuring practices, visual belief, and religious orders, thus contributing to discussions on representations, faith, and material studies.

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Murray Seminar: Mary Magdalene in Byzantium – 6 December 2018 5pm

A reminder that Cecily Hennessy will be speaking on Wednesday 6th December at the Murray Seminar at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) at 5pm.  As ever, the talk will finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and is then followed by discussion and refreshments.  Details of her talk  are below, and we hope to see you there.

Mary Magdalene in Byzantium

While Mary Magdalene’s relics were housed from about 900 in a most splendid church built by Leo VI in Constantinople, she is often thought to be an insignificant saint in the east, although several indications suggest a more complex situation. This paper examines the Early Christian and Byzantine imagery of Mary, explores some eastern texts that contributed to forming her identity and endeavours to understand why the two traditions, east and west, are so distinct. 

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Murray Seminar – Wednesday 28th June 2017

Our final Murray Seminar of the year takes place this Wednesday, 28th June at 5pm, in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library).  As ever, the talk will finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and it will then be followed by discussion and refreshments.  We hope to see you there.

Robert Maniura

Jaume Huguet, decoration and innovation 

huguet

Art in the Iberian peninsula in the fifteenth century is still neglected, especially compared to the Italian and Netherlandish traditions which remain the benchmark for the standard narratives of artistic development. Robert Maniura considers the output of Jaume Huguet, the most prominent painter in Barcelona in the later fifteenth century, whose elaborate and heavily gilded works conspicuously depart from these familiar patterns. He argues that his paintings reveal a sensitivity to and creative exploitation of his materials every bit as noteworthy as that of his more famous contemporaries.

 

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Murray Seminars Spring Term 2017

The programme of Murray Seminars on Medieval and Renaissance Art continues this term with the following seminars.

All are welcome.

22 February 2017

Laura Jacobus ‘”Mea culpa?” Penitence, Enrico Scrovegni and me’ The Arena Chapel in Padua was until very recently thought to be commissioned as an act of restitution for usury, and its frescoes by Giotto as an expression of penitence on the part of the patron Enrico Scrovegni.  That view has now been challenged by Laura Jacobus and others.  But two of her recent discoveries have the potential to reinforce the established view and undermine her own.  What happens when a researcher uncovers inconvenient truths, and what is to be done?

15th March 2017  

Péter Bokody  ‘The Politicization of Rape: Giotto’s Allegory of Injustice in Padua’ suggests that the allegory of Injustice in the Arena Chapel (Padua) by Giotto  and the allegory of War in the Palazzo Pubblico (Siena) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti are key allegorical images of rape which can offer critical and politicized representations of sexual violence without sanitizing or eroticizing the act. Their unparalleled representations of sexual violence have implications for a general history of rape and the visual culture of late-medieval Italy.

All this term’s seminars take place in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library) at 5pm.  Talks finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and are then followed by discussion and refreshments.  We hope to see you there.

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This week’s Murray Seminar: 24 November 2016

This week’s Murray Seminar, which will take place on Thursday 24th November in the History of Art Dept at Birkbeck, in Room 106, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD.  As ever, the seminar will start at 5pm, with a break at 5.50pm for those who need to leave to attend classes, and will continue with discussion and refreshments until 6.30pm.  Our speaker is Pippa Salonius, who is visiting from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and her topic is as follows:

Authority, Nature and the Image

Medieval culture has been described as a ‘culture of authority’. Kings, princes, and city-states all sought to establish themselves as central figures of authority. The pope, as the earthly representative of divine authority and justice, strived to remain their point of reference. As the ultimate authority, God’s work could be cited in words from the Bible or as images of the natural world. In a society where the word of God reigned supreme, visual reminders of this chain of command were of vital importance. Images, after all, were the lingua franca of medieval Christendom, but given the abstract nature of the message, how was its meaning best conveyed?

 

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Murray Seminars Summer Term 2016

Please find details of the Murray Summer Term seminars listed here:

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/art-history/news/the-murray-seminar-on-medieval-and-renaissance-art

The first of them is on Friday 22nd April at 5pm in the Keynes Library, Birkbeck, 43 Gordon Sq. WC1H 0PD

Prof. Bernd Nicolai  

Modes of Artistic Expression and Representation. The facade of Bern Minster and fifteenth-century church building programmes in imperial cities’ 

 

 

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/events-calendar/modes-of-artistic-expression-and-representation-the-facade-of-bern-minster

 

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Murray Seminars – Autumn 15 Programme

Please find attached details on the Murray Seminars this Autumn Term 2015.

All sessions take place in the School of Arts, Room 112, 43 Gordon Square 5pm to 6pm and are followed by refreshments.

  • 22nd October: Robert Maniura discussing Rogier van der Weyden’s famous image of St Luke drawing the Virgin Mary, exploring its implications for the understanding of contemporary portraiture
  • 19th November: Laura Jacobus looking at five generations of women who worshipped in the Arena Chapel in Padua, asking what insights we can gain when we place them at the centre of our enquiry
  • 10th December: Juliana Barone looking at Leonardo, Poussin and Errard: new ideals in the editio princeps of the Treatise on Painting

 

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Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art – Summer programme

Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art – Summer programme

The Department of History of Art at Birkbeck presents a series of seminars on medieval and renaissance art, supported by the Bequest established in memory of Professor Peter Murray, the Department’s founder. All seminars are held at 6pm at Birkbeck’s School of Arts (43, Gordon Sq., London, WC1H OPD), and are followed by a reception.

Monday 11th May 2015, Room 112

Dr. Zoe Opacic (Birkbeck), ‘A sinner in the City: the later medieval cult of Mary Magdalene in Central Europe’

Wednesday 27th May 2015, Room 112 

Dr Ioanna Christoforaki (Academy of Athens (Centre for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art)), ‘Cherchez les Franciscains: Friars, Icons and Devotion on Venetian Crete’

 

Monday 8th June 2015, Room 112 
Dr. Peter Draper, ‘Conception and the communication of the design of medieval buildings. What might be learnt from rock-cut buildings?’

 

Tuesday 16th June, Room 114

Dr Michael Douglas Scott (Birkbeck), ‘The Censorship of Images in Sixteenth-Century Venice’

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