ICMA Announces 2017 Annual Book Prize Recipient

The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) is pleased to announce the 2017 Annual Book Prize is awarded to:

Ittai Weinryb, The Bronze Object in the Middle Ages: Sculpture, Material, Making
Cambridge University Press, 2016, ISBN 9781316402429      

Ittai Weinryb’s The Bronze Object in the Middle Ages: Sculpture, Material, Making has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 book prize of the International Center of Medieval Art. Published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press, Weinryb’s monograph makes the case that the medieval bronze object is a coherent subject of study, identifying bronze as the material used for the most prestigious works of art in the medieval period. He brings to bear evidence for a multiplicity of objects through chapters on making, signifying, acting and being. This is a remarkably original approach to the notions and uses of bronze in the early and central Middle Ages. Addressing both the making and the reception of monumental works in bronze, he argues that new notions were developed to imagine ideas about public works of art – including the fascinating concept of sound as inherent in bronze –together with the relationship between artisanal techniques and divine actions. Weinryb interrogates how the newly introduced ancient philosophy, superstition and cosmology also affected ideas related to bronze works. Probing the interconnection between notions of divine and human creativity, his analysis invigorates the current art historical discussion concerning materiality and public monuments, particularly the public as the site of reception of works of art by a large audience. The book’s strength, however, is less in original discoveries than in the complex interpretation it provides, e.g. of the problem of the pagan history of the material or the relationship among alloys, alchemy, and idolatry. Weinryb invites the reader to consider such apparently unrelated aspects as technological developments, worship, pagan associations, Biblical hints at the use of bronze, belief in the magical agency of images, etc., as mutually interacting in giving shape to the experience and perception of bronze objects in the Middle Ages. All this makes Weinryb's book especially groundbreaking, and useful not only for specialists but also as a good pedagogical tool for students, given that it is written in an easily accessible style. The Bronze Object in the Middle Ages: Sculpture, Material, Making is truly thought-provoking in the best sense of the term. 

Michele Bacci
William Diebold
Beate Fricke
Kathleen Nolan
Therese Martin, Chair, ICMA Annual Book Prize Jury

Cambridge University Press site: click here
ICMA Annual Book Prize site: click here



ICMA Statement: Misappropriation of Medieval Studies and Anti-Harassment

The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) is an international and inclusive society that values the diversity of its membership. We do not condone the ideological misappropriation of medieval sources or scholarship in Medieval Studies. We will not tolerate bullying, threatening, belittling, or harassing behavior towards others, especially untenured colleagues and students, who are the most professionally vulnerable members of our community. We advocate for ethical standards of civil exchange, tolerance, and respect that affirm every scholar's right to practice in an intellectual environment that encourages pluralism. We denounce racism, gender bias, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of personal discrimination. We welcome a variety of scholarly ideas and opinions expressed according to high standards of mutual respect and professional conduct

ICMA statement: Medievalists Respond to Charlottesville

The ICMA is a signatory to the joint letter written by the Medieval Academy of America denouncing white supremacy and the misuse of medieval history and art.

Medievalists Respond to Charlottesville
In light of the recent events in the United States, most recently the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the undersigned community of medievalists condemns the appropriation of any item or idea or material in the service of white supremacy. In addition, we condemn the abuse of colleagues, particularly colleagues of color, who have spoken publicly against this misuse of history.

As scholars of the medieval world we are disturbed by the use of a nostalgic but inaccurate myth of the Middle Ages by racist movements in the United States. By using imagined medieval symbols, or names drawn from medieval terminology, they create a fantasy of a pure, white Europe that bears no relationship to reality. This fantasy not only hurts people in the present, it also distorts the past. Medieval Europe was diverse religiously, culturally, and ethnically, and medieval Europe was not the entire medieval world. Scholars disagree about the motivations of the Crusades—or, indeed, whether the idea of “crusade” is a medieval one or came later—but it is clear that racial purity was not primary among them.

Contemporary white nationalists are not the first Americans to have turned nostalgic views of the medieval period to racist purposes. It is, in fact, deeply ironic that the Klan’s ideas of medieval knighthood were used to harass immigrants who practiced the forms of Christianity most directly connected with the medieval church.  Institutions of scholarship must acknowledge their own participation in the creation of interpretations of the Middle Ages (and other periods) that served these narratives. Where we do find bigotry, intolerance, hate, and fear of “the other” in the past—and the Middle Ages certainly had their share—we must recognize it for what it is and read it in its context, rather than replicating it.

The medieval Christian culture of Europe is indeed a worthy object of study, in fact a necessary one. Medieval Studies must be broader than just Europe and just Christianity, however, because to limit our object of study in such a way gives an arbitrary and false picture of the past. We see a medieval world that was as varied as the modern one. It included horrific violence, some of it committed in the name of religion; it included feats of bravery, justice, harmony, and love, some of them also in the name of religion. It included movement of people, goods, and ideas over long distances and across geographical, linguistic, and religious boundaries. There is much to be learned from studying the period, whether we choose to focus on one community and text or on wider interactions. What we will not find is the origin of a pure and supreme white race.

Every generation of scholars creates its own interpretations of the past. Such interpretations must be judged by how well they explain the writings, art, and artifacts that have come down to us. As a field we are dedicated to scholarly inquiry. As the new semester approaches at many institutions, we invite those of you who have the opportunity to join us. Take a class or attend a public lecture on medieval history, literature, art, music. Learn about this vibrant and varied world, instead of simply being appalled by some racist caricature of it. See for yourself what lessons it holds for the modern world.


due 10 September 2017

The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) seeks proposals for sessions to be held under the organization’s sponsorship in 2018 at the International Medieval Congress (IMC) at Leeds, England.  

2018 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Leeds congress and the congress organizers are very keen to host an ICMA sponsored session at this special event. While session proposals on any topic related to the art of the Middle Ages are welcome, the IMC also chooses a theme for each conference. In 2018 – the year of the 25th IMC – the theme is ‘Memory’.  For more information on the Leeds 2018 congress and theme, see: https://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/imc2018_call.html
Session organizers and speakers must be ICMA members. Proposals must include a session abstract, a CV of the organizer(s), and a list of speakers, all in one single Doc or PDF with the organizer’s name in the title.  

Please direct all session proposals and inquiries by 10 September 2017 to the Chair of the ICMA Programs and Lectures Committee: Janis Elliott, Texas Tech University. Email: janis.elliott@ttu.edu

CFP: ICMA at Kalamazoo, due 15 Sept: Art and Aftermath

Kalamazoo, 10-13 May 2018                                

due 15 September 2017 

Art and Aftermath

organized by Patricia Blessing (Pomona College, CA) and Beatrice Kitzinger (Princeton University). 

Deadline:  15 September 2017  

This session seeks papers that provide culturally and chronologically diverse perspectives on the relationship between particular artworks and external events. The session considers how art-making constitutes response to urgent concerns of the people who made buildings, objects, and images; examining how artworks were designed to shape their historical contexts in the aftermath of decisive events. The impact of such events may be observed in the immediate aftermath, such as rebuilding after an earthquake or fire, or in the long term, such as slow changes caused by demographic shifts, conversion movements, and migrations. Catalyzing circumstances that demonstrably affect the form or content of artworks might include shifts of political power, the unusual provision or lack of materials, the impact of a new theological or philosophical idea, the forced or voluntary movement of people, or the direct reaction to other works of art. We seek papers that characterize medieval productions as art of their contemporary moments, and that ask us to consider the question of art's role in societal intervention or documentation.
Please submit abstracts of max. 300 words to Patricia Blessing by 15 September 2017. (patricia.blessing@pomona.edu) and Beatrice Kitzinger (bkitzinger@princeton.edu)


CFP: ICMA at Kalamazoo, due 10 Sept: Moving People, Shifting Frontiers: Re-contextualising the Thirteenth Century in the Wider Mediterranean

Kalamazoo, 10-13 May 2018

due 10 September 2017

Moving People, Shifting Frontiers: Re-contextualising the Thirteenth Century in the Wider Mediterranean

organized by Maria Alessia Rossi (Courtauld Institute of Art) and Katerina Ragkou (University of Cologne).  

Deadline: 10 September 2017

Every day we witness people moving, with them objects and skills, knowledge and experience; either forcibly or willingly; for work or for pleasure. The communities living along the shores of the Mediterranean and the hinterlands of the Balkans during the thirteenth century share many of the characteristics of our contemporary world: military campaigns and religious wars; the intensification of pilgrimage and the relocation of refugees; the shifting of frontiers and the transformation of socio-political orders.

The transformations of the thirteenth century span from east to west, from northern Europe to the Byzantine Empire and from the Balkans to the Levant. The geographic breadth is paralleled by crucial events including the fourth crusade, the fall of Acre, the empowerment of the Serbian Kingdom and the Republic of Venice, the loss and following restoration of the Byzantine Empire, and the creation of new political entities, such as the Kingdom of Naples and that of Cyprus, the Empire of Trebizond, and the Principality of Achaia. Eclectic scholarly tradition has either focused geographically or thematically, losing sight of the pan-Mediterranean perspective. These societies had multifaceted interactions, and comprised a variety of scales, from the small world of regional and inter-regional communities to the broader Mediterranean dynamics.

This session aims to address questions such as which are the various processes through which military campaigns and religious wars affected the urban landscape of these regions and their material production? Is there a difference in economic and artistic trends between “town” and “countryside” in the thirteenth-century wider Mediterranean? What observations can we make in regards to trade, diplomatic missions, artistic interaction and exchange of the regional, interregional and international contacts? How did these shape and transform cultural identities? How did different social, political and religious groups interact with each other?

This session welcomes papers focused on, but not limited to: the role played by economic activity and political power in thirteenth-century artistic production and the shaping of local and interregional identities; the production and consumption of artefacts and their meaning; the transformation of urban and rural landscapes; religious and domestic architecture and the relationship between the private and public use of space.

Proposals for 20 min papers should include an abstract (max.250 words) and brief CV. Proposals should be submitted by 10 September 2017 to the session organizers: Katerina Ragkou (katerina.ragkou@gmail.com) and Maria Alessia Rossi (m.alessiarossi@icloud.com). 

CFP: Regionalism in Medieval Art and Architecture (ICMA Student Committee), Kalamazoo 2018; due 10 Sept 2017

Call for Papers

Regionalism in Medieval Art and Architecture
Sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) Student Committee


Organized by Mark H. Summers (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Andrew Sears (University of California, Berkeley/University of Bern)

International Congress on Medieval Studies
May 10-13, 2018
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI


In 2001, Eva Hoffman introduced the concept of portability, suggesting a style that transcended traditional geographic, cultural, and religious boundaries. Since then, studies of traveling objects, trade networks, and pluralistic communities have created a veritable new field of the “Global Middle Ages,” which has helped us to better understand the interconnected medieval past as well as its role in shaping our sense of place today.

Our panel seeks to consider how local identity was shaped by such global networks. Potential questions include: Are artistic or architectural styles connected to specific places for specific reasons? Were medieval artists conscious about their own regional styles and the social, political, and religious impact they had? How was art positioned to both create communities and delineate boundaries? What about the rise of the “International Gothic” towards the end of the Middle Ages? Our concerns are also temporal, such as how the use of historicizing motifs and spolia helped medieval artists to communicate something about the here and now.

We welcome submissions for 20-minute papers from graduate student ICMA members. To propose a paper, please send a title, abstract of 300 words, CV, and completed Congress Information form to Mark H. Summers (mhsummers@wisc.edu) and Andrew Sears (asears@berkeley.edu) by 10 September 2017.


The Student Committee of the International Center for Medieval Art involves and advocates for all members of the ICMA with student status and facilitates communication and mentorship between student and non-student members.

CFP: ICMA at CAA 2018, due 14 Aug 2017

Calls for Papers

ICMA sponsored session at CAA, Los Angeles, 21-24 Feb 18    

“Medieval Echo Chambers: Ideas in Space and Time”, organized by Jack Hartnell (University of East Anglia, Norwich) and Jessica Barker (University of East Anglia, Norwich).   Deadline:  14 August 2017

In recent decades, historians of medieval art and architecture have begun to think about the ways in which the interaction of objects, images, and performances were focused by particular medieval spaces. Whether directed towards a powerful cumulative spirituality, a slowly-accruing political self-fashioning,

or more everyday performances of social coherence, it is clear that medieval space had the power to bind together sometimes quite disparate objects, forming their multiple parts into coherent messages for different types of viewers.

Thus far, however, such discussions have largely chosen to focus on individual moments of such medieval consonance, thinking through these Gestamtkunstwerken in only one particular iteration. This session proposes to expand this type of thinking beyond the snapshot by considering how medieval spaces could not only encourage resonance between objects in the moment but also echo these ideas over time. How did certain medieval spaces act as ideological echo chambers? How did certain spaces encourage particular recurring patterns of patronage, reception, or material reflection? How did people in the Middle Ages respond to the history of the spaces they inhabited, and how did they imagine these spaces’ future?

In an attempt to attract papers on different aspects of this diverse theme, as well as hear from speakers coming from a broad range of backgrounds and at different stages of their career, we have not preselected a group of speakers but rather envisage putting out a call for around four or five short papers, to be framed in the session by an introduction from the organisers. We encourage speakers to put forward proposals on material from any part of the Middle Ages, broadly defined both chronologically and geographically.

Topics could include, but are by no means limited to:

·         longue durée narratives of interaction between objects and architecture, particularly in ideologically-charged public or private spaces such as churches, palaces, or shrines;

·         tracking the resonance of quotidian spaces, such as marketplaces, bridges, squares, over time and across evolving audiences;

·         relationships between objects from the classical world brought forward into medieval settings;

·         medieval stagings of objects that project forward into the early modern period and beyond;

·         evolving relationships between particular types of artist and particular types of space;

·         documents and performances through which the histories of particular spaces and objects were

remembered, reiterated, repeated;

·         the role of the immaterial—sound, light, smell, touch—in drawing together spaces and objects,

and their changing nature over time;

·         ‘future spaces’, which point to times and places beyond themselves, whether an imminent reality or a more fantastical future.


250-word proposals should be sent with a short academic CV to Jack Hartnell (j.hartnell@uea.ac.uk) and Jessica Barker (j.barker@uea.ac.uk) by 14th August 2017


ICMA at Byzantine Studies Conference, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, 5-8 Oct 2017

ICMA at Byzantine Studies Conference, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, 5-8 Oct 2017

ICMA co-sponsored Keynote Lecture:

The ICMA, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Center for Medieval Studies, will co-sponsor the annual Carl Sheppard Lecture in Medieval Art History to be delivered at the BSC on Friday 6 October in 120 Elmer Andersen Library.  Elizabeth S. Bolman (Temple University) will talk on “The White Monastery Federation (Upper Egypt) and the Early Byzantine World: Rethinking Sites of Cultural Production”. 

ICMA at IV Forum Kunst des Mittelalters/IV Forum Art History, Berlin, 20-23 Sep 2017

ICMA at IV Forum Kunst des Mittelalters/IV Forum Art History, Berlin, 20-23 Sep 2017

ICMA sponsored session: “The Treasury of San Isidoro de León and its Global Connections”, organized by Jitske Jasperse (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid).


Amanda W. Dotseth (Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and CSIC, Madrid), “The Treasures of a Medieval Church in a Modern State: San Isidoro de León and the Making of Spain’s National Collections”;

·Silvia Armando (American Academy in Rome), “‘Siculo-Arabic’ ivories in the Treasury: perception and practises within a Christian context”;

Janet Kempf (Kloster und Kaiserpfalz Memleben), “How Ottonian Artists illuminated Spanish Art”;

Jitske Jasperse (CSIC, Madrid), “Holy Exoticism: New Perspectives on a Princess’s Portable Altar”.


ICMA Call for Proposals - CAA 2018 - due Thursday 20 April 2017

due 20 April 2017

The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) seeks proposals for sessions to be held under the organization’s sponsorship in 2018 at the annual meeting of the College Art Association. Session organizers and speakers must be ICMA members. Proposals must include a session abstract, a CV of the organizer(s), and a list of speakers, all in one single Doc or PDF with the organizer’s name in the title.

Please direct all session proposals and inquiries by 20 April 2017 to the Chair of the ICMA Programs and Lectures Committee:  Janis Elliott, Texas Tech University. Email: janis.elliott@ttu.edu .



The ICMA is proud to present the keynote lecture by David H. Caldwell (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland), “Unsealing a Forgotten Resource - Scottish Glyptic Art ,” on 17 March (5-6pm) at the 38th Annual Canadian Conference of Medieval Art Historians.

The conference is hosted by Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, 17 & 18 March 2017.