Colloque – The Profane within Sacred Medieval Art

Aguilar de Campoo, Sept 29th – Oct 1st 2017
Gerardo Boto, Alejandro García Avilés, Herbert L. Kessler (Dtors)

In his The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, the sociologist Émile Durkheim formulated the idea that the division of the world into two domains is the distinctive feature of religious thought, one containing the sacred and the other all that is profane. Durkheim’s distinction cannot be applied to medieval art, however, in which the mixing of secular motifs in religious objects, images, and architecture was characteristic –at least not without complicating the theoretical notion. The senmurf on the eleventh-century reliquary of St. Matthew in SS. Cosma e Damiano in Rome, the figure copied from Orestes on the ancient Husillos sarcophagus above the altar at Fromista, a fragment of victory killing a barbarian from a consular diptych re-used on a 11th/12th century book cover, and the incorporation of diagrams and motifs from natural science in the “aula gotica” in SS. Quattro Coronati in Rome are among myriad examples that document why this is the case.

In one of the best-known texts related to medieval art, Bernard of Clairvaux railed against the imaginative variety of profane art displayed in twelfth-century Cluniac monasteries, which he considered to be a subversion of the moral order of monastic life. Bernard’s diatribe not only confirms the fact that linking the two realms was common but also raises the question of audience and hence also spatiality. As the anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard postulated, sacredness (and therefore the profane) might be considered as situational, in a chronological as well as in a spatial sense. An object considered sacred in a given period may be considered profane or magical in a different time and/or space; decontextualization and reuse are thus also important issues related to the topic. Profane does not always imply anti-sacred. Indeed, given the fact that profanus means “in front of the consecrated enclosure,” the inclusion of secular elements within sacred domains suggests a dynamic interweaving that extends beyond the mere incorporation of motifs and objects. Sometimes the contacts between the two domains was regulated by rites that provided the conditions within which the relationship was made possible (i.e. consecration); other times, as when natural science was assimilated into the choice and manufacture of materials, the overlapping of sacred and profane underlies the processes of art.

In recent decades, historians have explored the uses of subversive elements in sacred art –from marginalia in illuminated manuscripts to coin-imagery and stamping incorporated in Eucharistic hosts. The conference Ars Mediaevalis 2017 sets out to assess the results of the advances made by the new art historiography and, more important, to open up still-unmapped paths for future study of the profane within the sacred during the Middle Ages.

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Programme :

Friday, 29th September
Aguilar de Campoo

09.45h : Colloquium Ars Mediaevalis Opening
Chair: Francesca Español UB

10.00h Michele Bacci, Université de Fribourg – Intrusos en los iconos: perspectivas comparativas sobre los retratos individuales en la iconografía sagrada
10.45h Discussion

11.45h Philippe Cordez, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – Le repentir d’un magicien ? Les camées de la statuette de David à la cathédrale de Bâle (vers 1320)
12.30h Free paper
12.50h Discussion

16.00h Fernado Villansenor, Universidad de Cantabria – Lo profano y sus espacios: discursos marginales en la Castilla tardogótica
16.45h Javier Docampo, Biblioteca Nacional de España – Las representaciones de los trabajos de los meses en libros de horas: la construcción de un imaginario social
17.15 Discussion

17.45 Round table. “Profano: perímetros espaciales, icónicos y semánticos en el arte medieval / Profane: spatial, iconic, and semantic edges in medieval art” Gerardo Boto.

18.45 Public presentation of the new editorial line “Ars Mediaevalis. Estudios de arte medieval”

Saturday, 30th September
Palencia

(Chair: Fernando Gutiérrez Baños UVA)

10.00h Kathrin Müller, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main Subversive – Devices: Cosmological Diagrams and the Problem of the Sacred
10.45h Free paper
11.05h Discussion

12.00h Beate Fricke, Universität Bern – Representing the Cosmos’ Origins, illuminating cosmological thoughts
12.45h Free paper
13.05h Discussion
16.00h Academic visit: Burgos: Santa María de las Huelgas Reales; Cartuja de Miraflores

Sunday, October 1st
Agilar de Campoo

(Chair: Javier Martínez Aguirre UCM)

09.15h Milagros Guardia, Universitat de Barcelona – Las pinturas murales de Sant Joan de Boí: de cómo contextualizar la iconografia profana
10.00h Free paper
10.20h Discussion
11.20h Free paper

11.40h Herbert L. Kessler, Johns Hopkins University / Masaryk University – From Vanitas to Veritas: the Profane as a Fifth Mode of Seeing
12.20h Discussion

13.00h Conclusions and perspectives
13.15h Closing ceremony

Free papers : Submission Deadline: June 30th 2017 (Name, Academic institution, 1 page and main bibliography): plhuerta@santamarialareal.org

Place: Fundación Santa María la Real – Aguilar de Campo (SPAIN) FEES: Regular 125 € Reduced 90 € Special (students) 60 €

Enrollment:
Fundación Santa María la Real del Patrimonio Histórico:
Avda. Ronda, 1-3
34800 – Aguilar de Campoo (Spain)
Tel. (+34) 979 125 000 Fax: (+34) 979 125 680 email: plhuerta@santamarialareal.org
Internet: http://www.santamarialareal.org

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