Appel à contribution – Visual and Material Cultures of Female Sanctity in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Lieu : Université Otto-Friedrich, Bambert, Allemagne

Dates : 13 et 14 juillet 2023

Dates limites pour proposer une communication : 28 février 2023

Two- and three-dimensional images of female saints are highly complex religious objects. They depict the saints in a wide variety of material and performative settings in which the women are richly gifted and preciously adorned. During their object history, these images have been subjected to repeated changes by multiple actors. Their formation as artefacts is inextricably linked to the developments of the cult of the saints as a social phenomenon (Peter Brown). In sophisticated ways, they reflect, negotiate and sometimes contradict the societal roles attributed to women.

This workshop aims to explore the visual and material cultures of female sanctity in their multiple facets: Agnes, Mary, Clare and many others. It will take objects and cults that have been discussed separately to date and place them in relation to each other. The chronological focus will centre on Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Of special interest are questions of materiality and performativity: what did it mean to render the image of a female saint on parchment, as a panel painting, in stone, glass, metal, wood, ivory or other materials? Was it integral to liturgical and non-liturgical practices of action – in the multisensory church space and beyond? Who tells the story – and to whom?

The workshop is funded by the German Research Foundation. It takes an interdisciplinary perspective. Contributions from art history, history and related disciplines are as welcome as case studies from material and preservation sciences.

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