Breaking with Byzantium: Franciscan Artistic Patronage and Piety in Central Italy at the dawn of the Trecento (Monday 27 February 2017)

Breaking with Byzantium: Franciscan Artistic Patronage and Piety in Central Italy at the dawn of the Trecento

Speaker: Dr Donal Cooper (Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge)

Monday 27 February 2017, 4.30pm, Berrick Saul Building, Bowland Auditorium (BS/005)

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The Franciscan Order can be seen as the primary patronage framework within which different concepts of religious imagery played out in Italy in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. As Hans Belting and more recently Anne Derbes and Amy Neff have shown, the story is complex with the Order’s sensitivity to Byzantine art interacting with its innovative and increasingly empathetic devotional practices, developments most closely associated with the Meditations on the Life of Christ. As Emile Mâle famously commented: “few books have had a greater influence on art…” At the same time the ample historiography on Franciscan art is littered with unsuccessful attempts to relate the paintings and buildings commissioned by the friars with the bitter conflicts over the observation of poverty that gripped the Order in the years to either side of 1300 – when groups of idealistic Franciscans known today as the ‘Spirituals’ resisted the Order’s increasing institutionalization and its patronage of art and architecture. Recent discoveries by manuscript scholars and new finds in the archives – presented here for the first time – on the date and authorship of the Meditations on the Life of Christ invite a reassessment of this core devotional text, its relationship to internal debate within the Order, and its impact on Franciscan artistic patronage. Reviewed in this light, the fresco cycles painted by Giotto and Pietro Lorenzetti at Assisi can be understood as complex responses to the Order’s troubles, which absorbed the same devotional culture that underpinned the Meditations at the same time as they asserted an approved image of Franciscan poverty.

Donal Cooper is Senior Lecturer in Italian Art at the University of Cambridge and has published widely on the art and architecture of late medieval and Renaissance Italy, particularly the artistic patronage of the Franciscan Order. Publications include his co-authored monograph with Dr Janet Robson on the Upper Church of the Basilica of San Francesco at Assisi, The Making of Assisi (Yale University Press, 2013) which won the Art Book Prize in 2014.

This event is organized in association with the Medieval Art and Medievalisms Research School and the Project Exploring Fourteenth-Century Art Across the Eastern and Western Christian World.

Everyone is welcome.

4th Annual Late Medieval France and Burgundy Workshop (3 December 2016)

The 4th Annual Late Medieval France and Burgundy Workshop (3 December 2016) brings together scholars from different disciplines working on late medieval French and Burgundian culture and history.

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Registration (10.00-10.30am)

Session 1 (10.30-12.00pm)
Kristin Bourassa (University of Southern Denmark), ‘Pierre Salmon’s Dialogues and Political Literature in Late-Medieval France’
Craig Taylor (University of York) & Jane Taylor (University of Durham), ‘Le livre des fais du bon messire Jehan le Maingre, dit Bouciquaut
Rebecca Dixon (University of Liverpool), ‘The Sound of Silence: Visual Noise in Burgundian Manuscript Illustration’

Session 2 (1.30-3pm)
Katherine Wilson (University of Chester), ‘Inventories as urban and courtly ‘theatre’
Helen Swift (Oxford University), ‘Who am I when I am dead? Rethinking identity and narrative voice in late- medieval French literature’
Hannah Skoda (Oxford University), ‘Nostalgia in fourteenth-century France’

Session 3 (3.30-4.45pm)
Justine Firnhaber-Baker (University of St Andrews), ‘Telling Stories: Sources and Methods for Writing about Rebellion’
Godfried Croenen (University of Liverpool), ‘Narrativisation, entrelacement and the re-writing of Froissart’s Book I’

Roundtable (5.00-6.00pm)

Registration costs £15. For further information, please contact craig.taylor@york.ac.uk

Please download our workshop poster and programme of events

 

Call for Papers: Powerful Emotions / Emotions & Power c. 400-1850 (28-30 June 2017)

The Centre for Medieval Studies, the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies have joined forces to establish a relationship with the Australian Research Council funded project on the History of Emotions (http://www.historyofemotions.org.au).
As part of this collaboration, the University of York and the Australian Research Council will be holding a joint conference on Powerful Emotions / Emotions & Power c. 400-1850 in York from 28-30 June 2017. The call for papers is now available at http://www.yorkemotion.com
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CMS Summer Party

On Monday 20 June 2016, we held our annual CMS Summer Party on the lawn at the King’s Manor. Blessed by a unprecedented splash of sunshine, we gathered for strawberries, prossecco and ice creams provided by Paul and his truck!

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During the party, we were delighted to announce that Stephanie Montieth is this year’s winner of the £150 Garmonsway Prize for the best academic performance in the first half of the MA in Medieval Studies, as well as the Viking Poetry Essay prize.

We also had the sad task of saying goodbye to Andy and Dawson, two great friends of the CMS who are leaving as the university makes radical changes to the portering arrangements at the King’s Manor. We are very sorry to see them go.

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And many thanks to Heidi Stoner for taking the photographs at the event!

A Visit to the Palace of Westminster

Jennifer Caddick is a student on the MA in Medieval Studies and is currently writing a dissertation on Sermons and the Painted Chamber during the Opening of English Parliaments, 1399-1484. At the end of April, she was shown round the Palace of Westminster by Martyn Atkins, Senior Clerk at the House of Commons. Here she reflects on that visit.

For the past couple of years, I’ve enjoyed studying a few different aspects of late-medieval English parliaments. Despite this interest, I’d only ever accessed them through the parliament rolls and had never managed to visit the Palace of Westminster as it stands today. Until the end of April, that is. Martyn Atkins was kind enough to take time out of his day to show me around, and I was able to see and learn a great deal about the history of the Palace of Westminster, and hear some interesting stories about parliamentary proceedings today! While I was able to see a large amount of the Palace of Westminster (including the Lords and Commons chambers, and the committee rooms), the visit was incredibly useful in providing me with a better perspective on the site for my MA dissertation on opening sermons and the Painted Chamber between 1399 and 1484.

 

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Westminster Hall has been central to (what is now) the parliamentary estate since the 11th century. In 1399 during the first parliament of Henry IV’s reign, members gathered for the opening of parliament in “the Great Hall of Westminster” (PROME online). With quite a nice sense of continuity, Westminster Hall is still used for political purposes, and the opening ceremonies for conferences of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and the North Atlantic Assembly have been held there.

From Westminster Hall, we next walked to the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, which is beautiful and definitely worth checking out! Admittedly, it was restored in the second-half of the 19th century, when there were attempts to recreate its medieval decorations in a neo-gothic style. Adjacent to the Chapel as well is a broom cupboard with a plaque inside dedicated to the Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who hid in there overnight during the 1911 census.

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While Westminster Hall provided a brilliant sense of the architecture of the medieval palace, St Stephen’s Hall was useful in terms of getting a better idea of the dimensions of the Painted Chamber. The current St Stephen’s Hall was built upon the foundations of St Stephen’s Chapel, which was lost in the 1834 fire, but which during the medieval period was parallel to the Painted Chamber. Seeing St Stephen’s Hall, however, has made more real for me a problem I was encountering when considering the audience of the opening sermons. The rolls of parliament seem to suggest that everyone involved in parliamentary proceedings would gather before the King. Yet this doesn’t seem to be entirely plausible when considering the dimensions of the building.

When the Painted Chamber panels were uncovered in the early 19th century, copies were made by Stothard and Crocker, whose works were then used by Tristram to reproduce the images. These reproductions were tucked away together away from what I believe is the normal visitors’ groups (we’d definitely gotten away from the school groups at that point at least), and I may not have had the chance to see them otherwise. Although they are reproductions, it was again rather wonderful to be able to see the scale on which these images may have been produced, and the details that may have been implemented.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take pictures at that point, but I was able to snap another picture on the terrace.

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And then, one final picture – Martyn and I with Westminster Hall in the background (it had just started raining…).

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Thank you again to Martyn for his time and for the opportunity to visit the Palace of Westminster, and thanks also to Craig Taylor for contacting Martyn and making this visit possible.

The Fair Unknown Award winner 2016 – Dr Jenn Bartlett

 

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Usha Vishnuvajjala presented the 2015 Fair Unknown Award to Jennifer Bartlett on behalf of the selection committee. The citation read:

“Jennifer Bartlett’s 2015 Kalamazoo paper, titled Arthur’s Dinner: Or, Robert Thornton Goes Shopping, reads the Alliterative Morte Darthur‘s early feast scene for what it can tell us about the material world depicted in the text and the material world of the scribe Robert Thornton. Bartlett demonstrates that the seemingly exotic foodstuffs at Arthur’s feast would have been quite available to Thornton in fifteenth-century York, and that familiar, quotidian objects like herbs and spices were regularly imported from so-called “exotic” locations.

The resulting article, published in Arthuriana, 26.1, argues convincingly for rethinking Thornton’s view of the “Oryent.” Just as Arthur imports foreign foodstuffs and domesticates them. Bartlett argues, he must draw on resources from outside Britain to sustain his seeming peerless status in the Alliterative Morte. Not only does the article re-orient the Alliterative Morte‘s relationship to the east, it also gives us a fascinating look at the details of the really weird food served at Arthur’s feast.

Jennifer received her PhD in Medieval Studies from the University of York in 2015.

Congratulations, Jennifer!”

Viking Studies – The Archaeology of Coastal Sites in Viking-Age Continental Europe and Scandinavia

In May the Viking Studies Research Group, sponsored by the Department of Archaeology and the Centre for Medieval Studies, welcomed to York, two of Europe’s leading archaeologists in the study of early-medieval coastal sites, Prof Dries Tys (Free University, Brussels) and Dr Sven Kalmring (Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, Schloss-Gottorf). Here they discuss the archaeology of coastal sites in Viking-Age continental Europe and Scandinavia:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXNnSBrgVDc

Medieval Women Revisited (7-9 July 2016)

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Just over 25 years ago the Centre for Medieval Studies of the University of York launched a new interdisciplinary MA pathway ‘Women and the the Later Medieval World’ and at much the same time hosted an international conference entitled ‘Medieval Women’.

Since that time the study of medieval women has evolved considerably, though interest in the study of gender and particularly masculinity has raised questions as to how we now relate to and engage with the study of women’s lives and experience in the medieval past. Recent scholarship has moreover returned to some of the questions that were pioneering a quarter of a century ago, particularly in relation to the ‘status’ of women after the Black Death. By revisiting the theme of medieval women, this conference seeks to explore where scholarship, particularly scholarship first inspired by the ‘Women and the Later Medieval World’ has taken us.

This then is both an exploration and a celebration. It is also an opportunity to welcome scholars from Central Europe who a quarter of a century ago saw their world transformed by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Velvet Revolution and the collapse of authoritarian communist regimes. We are delighted that the conference is supported by the Department of History of the Palacky University, the Czech Republic.

Programme

Thursday 7 July

16:00 REGISTRATION

16:30 WELCOME

16:45

Isobel Davis (Birbeck, UK) The Woman Question – then and now
Rachel Moss (Oxford, UK) (B)Romance and Rape Culture in Late Medieval England

18:30 Wine Reception

Friday 8 July

09:15

Daniela Rywiková (Ostrava, Czech Republic) Sin and Death Gendered: Female Identity in the Late Medieval Pastoral Care and Visual Culture
Gerhard Jaritz (CEU, Hungary/KREMS, Salzburg, Austria) Late Medieval Visual Culture and the Constructions of Female Space

11:00 Coffee break

11:15

Hollie Morgan (Lincoln, UK) Where the Magic Happens: The Lady’s Chamber in the Late-Medieval English Imagination
Kim Phillips (Auckland, NZ) The Breasts of Virgins: Sexual Reputation and Female Bodies in Medieval Culture and Society

13:00 LUNCH

14:00

Marija Mogorović Crljenko (Pula, Croatia) Marriage and Concubinage in Istria during the Transition from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Times
Vicki Blud (York, UK) Unspeakable Acts and Queer Medieval Women

15:45 Tea break

16:15

Beata Możejko (Gdańsk, Poland) Women in the medieval Hanseatic city of Gdańsk,: Sources and research problems
Deborah Youngs (Swansea, UK) ‘In most humble wise sheweth and compleyneth….’: female plaintiffs and Star Chamber in early Tudor England and Wales

19:00 Speaker’s Supper

Saturday 9 July

09:30

Teresa Phipps (Nottingham, UK) Locating Women: Gender and Space in Borough Court Records
Jeremy Goldberg (York, UK) Material Girls Revisited: Problematising the Social and Economic Position of Women in Later Medieval England

11:15 Coffee Break

11:30

Michaela Antonín Malaníková (Olomouc, Czech Republic) Guardianship or Partnership? Property Relations of Spouses in Late Medieval Czech Towns
Cordelia Beattie (Edinburgh, UK) Did married women stop making wills in fifteenth-century England?

13:15 Lunch

14:30 Round Table: Medieval Women: Where Next?

York Festival of Ideas – Shared Heritage: West and Islamic World (16 June 2016)

Thurs 16 June, 6.30pm to 7.30pm, KG07, King’s Manor, Exhibition Square

Free tickets: www.york.ac.uk/english/news-events

Every day we hear the media talking about ‘us’ and the Islamic World as if there are two societies with little or nothing in common. Many public commentators seem unaware that both societies developed to a large extent from Roman and Greek roots. Roman and Greek art and architectures laid the foundations for both Islamic and Western creative developments. Greek philosophy and science was translated into Arabic with the West often learning about these works from Arabic texts. Join Michele Campopiano of the University of York as he addresses this shared cultural heritage. He will explain how English scholars in the age of the Normans travelled east to learn about the advancements of their Muslim contemporaries. Christian theologians discussed the works of Muslim philosophers and their reflections about God and Religion developed along the same lines as their Arab and Persian contemporaries. Europe and the Islamic World shared legends and myths of the great heroes of Antiquity – Alexander, Caesar and others. As Roman ruins stand in their magnificence in our city of York, so they stood and stand in Syria, Egypt,Libya and other countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

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About the speaker

Dr Michele Campopiano is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Latin Literature at the University of York. He has studied and worked in several countries in Europe and the Middle East. He has also published extensively on the history of the Islamic World.