Session Title

Materiality and Aesthetics in Medieval Art

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Gerry Guest, Beth Williamson

Organizer Affiliation

John Carroll Univ., Univ. of Bristol

Presider Name

Beth Williamson

Paper Title 1

The Agency of Ivory: Tactility and Transformation in Gothic Virgin and Child Statuettes

Presenter 1 Name

Marian Bleeke

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Cleveland State Univ.

Paper Title 2

Materiality and the Reliquary Collection of Blanche of Navarre

Presenter 2 Name

Marguerite Keane

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Drew Univ.

Paper Title 3

The Beautiful Wounds of Saint Francis: Materiality and Aesthetics in the Portrayal of Medieval Sanctity

Presenter 3 Name

John Renner

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Courtauld Institute of Art

Paper Title 4

Stained Glass, Fresco, and Material Transformation in Fourteenth-Century Italy

Presenter 4 Name

Nancy M. Thompson

Presenter 4 Affiliation

St. Olaf College/Material Collective

Start Date

11-5-2014 10:30 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1330

Description

Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the material qualities of medieval art. This turn has helped to refocus our attention on the material complexity of medieval art, the ways in which various substances come together in objects yet maintain their integrity, the tendency for one medium to signify another or even multiple others, and the complex processes by which the rich materiality of medieval things was able to affect human behavior on a number of levels.

What is often left out of such analyses are the aesthetic values of medieval art. Clearly, medieval artists, patrons, and viewers found both beauty and pleasure in the materials of medieval art and their technical transformations and combinations. Certainly, quality and cost were two factors at play here, but materials and/or techniques might be chosen to call attention to themselves for a whole host of other reasons.

Consciousness of style might be influenced by the materials selected, and vice-versa. Materiality and media are undoubtedly linked, but are not necessarily synonymous. Representation itself was undoubtedly affected by the aesthetics of both materials and media. In these ways, medieval art called attention to itself as art, as made thing, and simultaneously pointed to other values, values both earthly and supernatural.

Gerry Guest, Beth Williamson

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May 11th, 10:30 AM

Materiality and Aesthetics in Medieval Art

Schneider 1330

Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the material qualities of medieval art. This turn has helped to refocus our attention on the material complexity of medieval art, the ways in which various substances come together in objects yet maintain their integrity, the tendency for one medium to signify another or even multiple others, and the complex processes by which the rich materiality of medieval things was able to affect human behavior on a number of levels.

What is often left out of such analyses are the aesthetic values of medieval art. Clearly, medieval artists, patrons, and viewers found both beauty and pleasure in the materials of medieval art and their technical transformations and combinations. Certainly, quality and cost were two factors at play here, but materials and/or techniques might be chosen to call attention to themselves for a whole host of other reasons.

Consciousness of style might be influenced by the materials selected, and vice-versa. Materiality and media are undoubtedly linked, but are not necessarily synonymous. Representation itself was undoubtedly affected by the aesthetics of both materials and media. In these ways, medieval art called attention to itself as art, as made thing, and simultaneously pointed to other values, values both earthly and supernatural.

Gerry Guest, Beth Williamson