ICMA Statement: Notre-Dame de Paris

To the ICMA Community,
We are stunned and heartbroken over the news from Paris. We appreciate that so many of our members have engaged with the press, offering expertise on the history and construction of Notre-Dame and providing a much-needed scholarly perspective as journalists report on the tragedy.
Among the many crucial contributions our members have made to the scholarship on Notre-Dame de Paris, please remember Andrew Tallon’s work scanning the cathedral, research that will be essential in the reconstruction of the monument. This National Geographic article from 2015 summarizes Andrew’s investigations. And we remind you of the two obituaries by Dany Sandron and Stephen Murray in the most recent ICMA newsletter. These celebrations of Andrew are particularly poignant at this moment and remind us of the relevance of our work to those outside the academy.
With warmest wishes at this difficult time,
Helen Evans, Nina Rowe, Warren Woodfin, Anne Stanton, and Beatrice Kitzinger, on behalf of the ICMA


CFP: ICMA at CAA 2020 Chicago, due 1 April 2019

ICMA AT COLLEGE ART ASSOCIATION, Chicago, 12-15 February 2020

Call for ICMA Sponsored Session Proposals
due 1 April 2019

The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) seeks proposals for sessions to be held under the organization’s sponsorship in 2020 at the annual meeting of the College Art Association. Session organizers and speakers must be ICMA members. Proposals must include a session abstract and a CV of the organizer(s), all in one single Doc or PDF with the organizer’s name in the title. Session organizers may also include a list of potential speakers.

Please upload all session proposals by 1 April 2019 here.
The organizer(s) will have until 30 April 2019 to upload their approved proposals on the CAA website here.

For inquiries, contact the Chair of the ICMA Programs and Lectures Committee: Beth Williamson, University of Bristol, UK beth.williamson@bristol.ac.uk 

Thanks to a generous grant from the Kress Foundation, funds may be available to defray travel costs of speakers in ICMA sponsored sessions up to a maximum of $600 for domestic travel and of $1200 for international travel. If available, the Kress funds are allocated for travel and hotel only. Speakers in ICMA sponsored sessions will be refunded only after the conference, against travel receipts.  In addition to speakers, session organizers delivering papers as an integral part of the session (i.e. with a specific title listed in the program) are now also eligible to receive travel funding.  
Visit:  http://www.medievalart.org/kress-travel-grant/

ICMA Forsyth and Stahl Lectures: call for nominations


The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) seeks proposals for the Stahl and Forsyth Lectures to be held under the sponsorship of the organization in 2019-2020. Stahl Lectures are to be held in what might be termed the greater southwest, while Forsyth lectures, as a rule, take place in the institutions located east of the Mississippi River, especially in what might be termed the greater Midwest.
Please suggest the name(s) of appropriate speakers and indicate your willingness to host the event at your institution. Joint proposals are welcome, as lecturers are expected to speak at more than one institution. The hosts assume the responsibility for organizing and advertising the event, ideally working in conjunction with colleagues at other institutions; for reserving a suitable venue; for organizing a reception if desired; for publishing the details in advance on the ICMA website and Newsletter; and for reporting on the event after it is over. International exchange of scholarship is encouraged, though not required.
Travel costs and the honorarium will be covered by the ICMA. Travel plans for the speaker will be handled by Ryan Frisinger, Executive Director of the ICMA.
For Stahl Lecture, please submit your CV and CV of the proposed speaker, as well as a brief proposal/preliminary itinerary by clicking here

For Forsyth Lecture, please submit your CV and CV of the proposed speaker, as well as a brief proposal/preliminary itinerary by clicking here.

Please direct any inquiries to the Chair of the Programs Committee: Beth Williamson, University of Bristol, UK; email: beth.williamson@bristol.ac.uk. The deadline for the nominations is 15 April 2019 for lectures to be planned for the late fall of 2019 or the spring of 2020. 

Register today! ICMA at the Courtauld Lecture, 13 March 2019

Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 89v. Bestiary, France, ca. 1270.

Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum,
Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 89v. Bestiary, France, ca. 1270.

ICMA at The Courtauld Lecture 2019
Series made possible through the generosity of William M. Voelkle

Wednesday 13 March 2019
5:30pm - 6:30 pm 

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square
Lecture Theatre 1, First Floor
Penton Rise, King’s Cross
London, WC1X 9EW

Advance booking requried
Open to all, free admission
Lecture followed by a reception sponsored by Sam Fogg

A Beast of a Project:
Curating an Exhibition on Bestiaries at the Getty

Dr. Elizabeth Morrison
Senior Curator of Manuscripts, J, Paul Getty Museum

The prospect of curating a major international loan exhibition is equal parts thrilling and intimidating. After eight years of intense research, loan negotiation, design development, and thousands of emails, Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World will open at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles on May 14, 2019. This presentation will look at the behind-the-scenes planning necessary by the lead curator, from the intellectual origins of the concept to some of the major challenges faced along the way. It will explore the exhibition’s major themes, including how the vivid images of the bestiary created an influential visual language that endured for centuries and became so popular that the animals escaped from the pages of books into other types of art objects ranging from massive tapestries to diminutive ivories. The exhibition will feature 115 objects from 45 lenders across the United States and Europe, including one third of the world’s surviving Latin illuminated bestiaries.

Elizabeth Morrison is Senior Curator of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She received her PhD in the History of Art from Cornell University and began work at the Getty in 1996. During her tenure there, she has curated numerous exhibitions including the 2010 co-curated exhibition Imagining the Past in France, 1250-1500, which was a finalist for the College Arts Association award for outstanding exhibition catalogue. She has published on both Flemish and French illumination and has served on the boards of the International Center of Medieval Art and the Medieval Academy of America.

This lecture is presented by The Courtauld Institute of Art in association with the International Center of Medieval Art and with the support of The Courtauld Institute of Art's Research Forum.

The annual lecture is delivered at The Courtauld by a scholar based in North America, strengthening transatlantic contacts among medievalists from the university and museum worlds.

Organized by Professor Joanna Cannon, The Courtauld Institute of Art

A generous benefaction secured the continuation of the lecture series.  Dr. William M. Voelkle, Curator Emeritus of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, supports the travel and accommodation costs of the speaker.

The ICMA announces a new grant opportunity with the Whiting Foundation, due 15 April 2019


ICMA deadline for summary proposals: April 15, 2019

The ICMA is pleased to announce that we will serve as a nominating body for the Whiting Foundation's programs supporting public-facing scholarship in the 2020–21 competition cycle. The foundation describes these funding opportunities as "designed to celebrate and empower humanities faculty who embrace public engagement" at an early-career stage. We are invited to nominate one or two proposals by full-time faculty at accredited US institutions of higher learning. To be eligible for the grants, faculty must be tenure-track, tenured in the last five years, or full-time adjunct at a comparable early-career status. Nominees may apply to either of the Whiting's funding programs, depending on the stage of development of their project:

  • Fellowship of $50,000 for projects far enough into development or execution to present specific, compelling evidence that they will successfully engage the intended public.

  • Seed Grant of up to $10,000 for projects at a somewhat earlier stage of development, where more modest resources are needed to test or pilot a project or to collaborate with partners to finalize the planning for a larger project and begin work.

Detailed guidelines and recommendations for the full proposals required by the Foundation are available online at https://www.whiting.org/scholars/public-engagement-programs/about (see esp. Appendix 2 for proposal components).

For consideration as an ICMA nominee, please submit a cv, a 2-page summary proposal of your project, and a working budget, to Ryan Frisinger by April 15, 2019. Click here to submit.

Your summary proposal should detail the nature and scope of the project specifying desired outcomes, the communities you hope to work with and your plan to engage them, and partners (if any) with which you will collaborate.. Project proposals will be reviewed by representatives of the ICMA Advocacy and Grants & Awards Committees. Successful nominees will be informed by mid-May to allow time for the expansion and submission of the proposal to the Foundation, due on June 14.

If you have questions at any time, please contact Beatrice Kitzinger (bkitzinger@princeton.edu) and Nina Rowe (nrowe@fordham.edu).

Announcing the recipients of the 2018 ICMA Annual Book Prize

The ICMA is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 ICMA Annual Book Prize. This annual prize is awarded to the best single- or dual-authored book on any topic in medieval art. Click here for more information and information on submitting for the 2019 Prize.



Isabelle Dolezalek
Arabic Script on Christian Kings. Textile Inscriptions on Royal
Garments from Norman Sicily

De Gruyter, 2017.

In her book Arabic Script on Christian Kings. Textile Inscriptions on Royal Garments from Norman Sicily, Isabelle Dolezalek successfully achieves two aims that, at first glance, might appear contradictory: she offers a focused and profound study of Arabic inscriptions in Norman Sicily, while at the same time raising questions on a grand scale for the field of medieval art history. Throughout, the author goes beyond the state of the art, employing innovative approaches and asking new questions that spur readers to think in fresh ways about their own research. Her superb study demonstrates the ideal combination of original thinking with careful, detail-oriented research. Although the focus is on Palermo in the first half of the twelfth century, Dolezalek provides comparisons with both analogous and differing practices in the larger Islamic world. Her research sheds light on the ways in which precious textiles embellished with Arabic inscriptions contributed to the mise-en-scène of the political body. Inscriptions in three languages are interrogated for issues of readability and sound, addressing the performative aspects of legal actions for potential audiences. Along with the well known mantle of Roger II, for which the author identifies continuity as a political choice, she examines other inscribed works, reading the successive texts embroidered on an alb, for example, as a textile archive that documents political authority. Dolezalek deserves high praise for her innovative book that, pushing beyond traditional categories, is an excellent example of investigation into cross-cultural interactions in the Middle Ages. This is a book that encourages multiple rereadings, each time rewarding the reader with a plethora of new interpretations, stimulating suggestions, and original observations. There is no doubt that Arabic Script on Christian Kings will have a significant impact on the discipline of art history as a whole.

De Gruyter site: click here


Heidi Gearhart
Theophilus and the Theory and Practice of Medieval Art
Penn State University Press, 2017.

Beautifully written (and entirely jargon-free), exquisitely edited, lavishly illustrated: Theophilus and the Theory and Practice of Medieval Art by Heidi Gearhart is a model art historical publication. The author offers admirable in-depth analysis of On Diverse Arts, a text that belongs to the canon of medieval primary sources yet has often been misunderstood. In doing so, Gearhart makes a major contribution to our understanding of the medieval viewpoint concerning the meanings of craftsmanship within its religious dimensions. Employing an approach associated with the new medieval philology, the author interrogates the contents of manuscripts in which this text is found to show how readers, writers, and librarians understood its genre and therefore much of its meaning. Gearhart departs from the extant Theophilus manuscripts and their compositions to highlight the important evidence that stems from codicological analysis, paying careful attention to the significance of adjectives and described actions. By demonstrating what can be deduced from the way Theophilus’ text was categorized in the Middle Ages, as for example the importance of it having been bound together with Vitruvius, Gearhart makes clear that identifying the genre of Theophilus's writing is essential to its interpretation. Further, she successfully connects areas of our subfield that tend to be separated: studies on making medieval art, on seeing medieval art, and on medieval aesthetic discourse. The crucial insights in this study show that there is still much to be learned about Theophilus, even for scholars well familiar with his texts. Finally, Penn
State Press is to be commended for its impeccable production of Gearhart’s gorgeous book.

Penn State University Press site: click here

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


Looking across the Atlantic: Circulations d'idées entre la France et l'Amérique du Nord en art médiéval

due 18 February 2019

American art historians in the early stages of their careers (doctoral students or early-stage postdoctoral scholars) may submit proposals for the conference Looking across the Atlantic: Circulations d'idées entre la France et l'Amérique du Nord en art médiéval, 12-13 June 2019, INHA (Paris). 

Please see the attached document (click here) for complete information and the full description of the conference theme. Abstracts of up to 500 words must be submitted before 18 February 2019, with a brief bio-bibliography, to JEfrancoamericaine@inha.fr


ICMA session at CAA New York 2019

Date:  Saturday 16 February 
Time:  4:00-5:30 PM
Location: New York Hilton Midtown - 2nd Floor - Sutton North

Organizer and Chair: Lynn A. Jones, Florida State University
Discussant: Robert Nelson, Yale University

The Miniatures in the Rabbula Gospels and Iconographic Analysis: Everything Old Is New Again
Felicity J. Harley-McGowan, Yale University

Looking Again and Again: The Cross of the Scriptures at Clonmacnoise
Heather Pulliam, Edinburgh University

Touching the Treasury: The Golden Spaces of the Uta Codex (Munich: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, CLM 13601)
Eliza B. Garrison, Middlebury College

Reexamining the Message of the Vestibule Mosaic of Hagia Sophia
Lynn A. Jones, Florida State University

ICMA ANNUAL MEETING: 14 February 2019, 7-9pm, New York



House of the Redeemer
7 E 95th Street
New York, NY 10128

Join us as we honor Linda Safran and Adam Cohen for their editorship of Gesta, George Spera, as he retires as our pro-bono lawyer, and Fronia W. Simpson, our longtime copyeditor of Gesta. We also thank outgoing Directors, Associates, committee chairs and committee members. 

We will welcome new Gesta editors Susan Boynton and Diane J. Reilly, as well as announce and welcome recently elected board members. 

Drinks and small bites will be served.


ICMA co-sponsored symposium: Eclecticism at the Edges; April 5-6, 2019 Princeton University

The ICMA is co-sponsoring the symposium:

Eclecticism at the Edges: Medieval Art and Architecture at the Crossroads of the Latin, Greek, and Slavic Cultural Spheres (c.1300-c.1550)

April 5-6, 2019
Princeton University

The symposium is free, but registration is required to guarantee seating.: https://ima.princeton.edu/register/

M. Alessia Rossi, The Index of Medieval Art
Alice Isabella Sullivan, University of Michigan

Friday, April 5, 2019

5:00-5:15 M. Alessia Rossi, The Index of Medieval Art Alice Isabella Sullivan, University of Michigan Welcome

5:15-6:30 Keynote Lecture Jelena Erdeljan, University of Belgrade Cross-Cultural Entanglement and Visual Culture in Eastern Europe c. 1300-1550

6:30-7:30 Film Screening and Exhibition Introduction by Julia Gearhart, Princeton University “No Woman’s Land”: A 1929 Expedition to Mount Athos and Meteora

7:30-9:00 Reception, McCormick Hall

Saturday, April 6, 2019

9:00-10:40 Session 1 - New Constructs of Identity

Chair: Charlie Barber, Princeton University

Elena Boeck, DePaul University A Timeless Ideal: Constantinople in the Slavonic Imagination of the 14th-16th Centuries

Gianvito Campobasso, University of Fribourg Eclecticism Among Multiple Identities: The Visual Culture of Albania in the Late Middle Ages

Ida Sinkević, Lafayette College Serbian Royal Mausolea: A Reflection of Cultural Identity? 10:40-11:00 Coffee / Tea Break

11:00-12:40 Session 2 - Shifting Iconographies

Chair: Pamela Patton, The Index of Medieval Art

Vlad Bedros, National University of Arts, Bucharest A Hybrid Iconography: The Lamb of God in Moldavian Wall-Paintings

Krisztina Ilko, The Metropolitan Museum of Art The Dormition of the Virgin: Artistic Exchange and Innovation in Medieval Wall Paintings from Slovakia

Ovidiu Olar, Austrian Academy of Sciences A Murderer among the Seraphim: Prince Lăpușneanu’s Transfiguration Embroideries for Slatina Monastery

12:40-2:00 Lunch Break

2:00-3:40 Session 3 - Patronage and Agents of Exchange

Chair: Cristina Stancioiu, College of William and Mary

Dragoş Gh. Năstăsoiu, Centre for Medieval Studies, National Research University “Higher School of Economics,” Moscow Appropriation, Adaptation, and Transformation: Painters of Byzantine Tradition Working for Catholic Patrons in 14th- and 15th-century Transylvania

Christos Stavrakos, University of Ioannina/Greece Donors, Patrons, and Benefactors in Mediaeval Epirus between the Great Empires: A Society in Change or a Continuity?

Nazar Kozak, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Post-Byzantine Art as a Network: Mobility Trajectories of the Akathistos Cycle in the Balkans, the Carpathians, and Beyond

3:40-4:00 Coffee / Tea Break

4:00-5:15 Keynote Lecture Michalis Olympios, University of Cyprus “Eclecticism,” “Hybridity,” and “Transculturality” in Late Medieval Art: A View from the Eastern Mediterranean

5:15-6:00 Roundtable Discussion, Questions, and Closing

6:00-9:00 Final Reception Chancellor Green Rotunda

This event is generously co-sponsored by the following:

The International Center of Medieval Art
The Society of Historians of East European, Eurasian, and Russian Art and Architecture
The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture
The Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies
The Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University
The Index of Medieval Art, Princeton University
The Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund


The International Center of Medieval Art’s 2019 membership is now available online by visiting our website (www.medievalart.org) and creating an account. Memberships are valid 1 January - 31 December 2019.


  • ICMA members receive Gesta, the premier scholarly journal for the history of medieval art (two issues annually).

  • Members receive the digital ICMA Newsletter, which delivers timely information about current issues and events in the world of medieval art (three issues annually, email address required.)

  • Eligibility to publish in Gesta and Viewpoints

  • Eligibility to present at ICMA-sponsored sessions

  • Members receive invitations to ICMA-sponsored receptions and special events at conferences and international congresses.

  • Exclusive funding and research opportunities

  • Searchable member directory

2019 MEMBERSHIP FEES: Student ($20), Independent Scholar/Retiree ($55), Individual ($65), Joint ($80), Contributor ($150), Patron ($300), Sustainer ($600), Benefactor ($1,200)

All prices in USD.

Questions? Email icma@medievalart.org

ICMA Lecture in Paris: The Slanted Lens and the Making of the Image of the Haram of Mecca, 5 Nov 2018 at Reid Hall

Alliance Program of Columbia University, Columbia Global Centers | Paris, and the International Center of Medieval Art present:

The Slanted Lens and the Making of the Image of the Haram of Mecca

A public lecture by Dr. Avinoam Shalem, Riggio Professor of the History of the Arts of Islam and co-director of the Center of the Study of Muslim Societies (CSMS) at Columbia University

Monday 5 November 2018, 19.00-21.00

Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Reid Hall
4 Rue de Chevreuse
75006 Paris

All are welcome, please RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.fr/e/billets-the-slanted-lens-and-the-making-of-the-image-of-the-haram-of-mecca-51066625652

The “Sacred” and the “Holy” (haram in Arabic and, to some extent al-muqaddas), are Semitic words denoting the act of separation, parting, or setting aside, and imply the apparent human faculty of setting distinctive borders between holy and profane zones. Constrained to time, these spaces become chronotopes. But, whereas the sacred space appears as totally autonomous and linked to the eternal, the profane zone seems to exist as bound to historical time. This supposition results in assigning terms such as “common,” “habitual,” and “ephemeral to historic times, as opposed to “pure” and “intact” designating the “Holy” as linked to everlasting time. This lecture analyzes varied iconic visions of the Haram (the sacred sanctuary) of Mecca. A close and attentive gaze at the late medieval and early modern images of Mecca suggests a crucial change and shift in the mode of the depiction of the holy sanctuary. The earlier flattened and two-dimensional images of the sanctuary, which, as I argue, contributed to the hierophany of the sacred and suggested its relic character, were replaced by perspectival images that evoked veracity and authenticity and fixed the sacred space within its larger geographic setting.


Avinoam Shalem studied history of art at the universities of Tel Aviv, Munich (LMU) and Edinburgh where he earned his PhD degree in the field of Islamic art. Prior to his appointment as the Riggio Professor of the Arts of Islam at Columbia University, Shalem held the professorship of the history of Islamic art at the University of Munich and taught at the universities of Tel Aviv, Edinburgh, Heidelberg (Hochschule für jüdische Studien), Bamberg, Luzern and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. He was Andrew Mellon Senior Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2006 and Guest Scholar at the Getty Research Center in 2009. Between 2007-2015, he was the Max-Planck Fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.

Shalem’s main field of interest concerns artistic interactions in the Mediterranean basin, migration of objects, and medieval aesthetics. He has published extensively on medieval Islamic, as well as Jewish and Christian art. Professor Shalem is the author and editor of ten books, including Islam Christianized (Peter Lang, second ed. 1998); The Oliphant (Brill, 2004); Facing the Wall: The Palestinian-Israeli Barriers(Walter-König, 2011); Facts and Artefacts: Art in the Islamic World. Festschrift for Jens Kröger on his 65th Birthday (Brill, 2007); After One Hundred Years: The 1910 Exhibition »Meisterwerke muhammedanischer Kunst« Reconsidered (Brill, 2010); Die mittelalterliche Olifante (Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, Berlin, 2014). He has recently edited the books Constructing the image of Muhammad in Europe (Walter de Gruyter, 2013) and The Image of Muhammad Between Ideal and Ideology: A Scholarly Investigation(Walter de Gruyter, 2014), which introduce the readers to the complex history of the conceptualisation and pictorialization of the Prophet Muhammad in the West and the lands of Islam, from the early medieval times till the 19th century.

Professor Shalem has written more than one hundred articles on varied subjects including stylistic observations, document-based researches and cultural studies, historiographies and art criticism. He also researches and publishes on issues concerning Modernity in the Islamic world, especially in the Near East. He has acted as the initiator of the series of exhibitions Changing Views that were held in Munich in 2010/2011, and co-curated the exhibition The Future of Tradition: the Tradition of Future in Haus der Kunst in Munich. Professor Shalem was one of the directors of the international, Getty-supported project Art Space and Mobility in the Early Ages of Globalization: The Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent 400-1650, and is currently directing the research projects When Nature Becomes Ideology: Palestine after 1947.

About Alliance Program of Columbia University
Created in 2002 and endowed in 2008, Alliance is an innovative academic joint-venture between Columbia University and three major French Higher Education Institutions: École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University. Alliance explores the future of global education and encourages the exchange of people, knowledge practices and resources. https://alliance.columbia.edu/alliance

About Columbia Global Centers | Paris
Columbia Global Centers | Paris
 at Reid Hall is part of a network of nine centers around the globe (Amman, Beijing, Istanbul,  Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Rio, Santiago, Tunis).  These centers were established  by Columbia University (New York) in pursuit of its mission to expand Columbia into a global university by engaging across borders and across disciplines.

The Paris Center hosts a large undergraduate program, a Master of Arts in History and Literature, The Shape of Two Cities New York/Paris - a joint undergraduate/graduate architecture program, and an Executive Master in Technology Management. Our public programming focuses on creative and liberal arts, science, medicine, technology, and pressing social issues. https://globalcenters.columbia.edu/paris

About the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA):
Founded in France in 1953 and re-established in 1956 in New York City, the International Center of Medieval Art promotes and supports the study, understanding, and preservation of the visual and material culture of the Middle Ages during the period between ca. 300 and ca. 1500 C.E. The ICMA facilitates scholarship and education through public lectures, conferences, publications, and exhibitions devoted to medieval art and culture. The ICMA publishes Gesta in partnership with the University of Chicago Press. Grant opportunities and resources are available for the ICMA’s network of members. Memberships start at US$20. www.medievalart.org

image: Turkish Glazed tile. Istanbul. Circa 1720-1730. Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York.


due 31 October 2018

For the fifth time the German Society for Studies in Art History invites to an international congress "Forum Medieval Art", which takes place from 18 to 21 September 2019 in Bern.

Session 15: Walter Benjamin and the Middle Ages

Session organisers: William Diebold (Portland, Oregon) and Christopher Lakey (Baltimore, MD)

Sponsored session: International Center of Medieval Art - ICMA

Twenty-six years ago, in “Der simulierte Benjamin: Mittelalterliche Bemerkungen zu seiner Aktualität”, Horst Bredekamp persuasively argued that Walter Benjamin’s famous thesis that reproduction diminished the aura of a work of art did not apply to medieval art. Instead, according to Bredekamp, in the Middle Ages the correlation between reproduction and aura was precisely the inverse of what Benjamin posited in “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility.” Despite Bredekamp’s historical scruples, Benjamin's popularity and prevalence has only increased in all kinds of historical and cultural inquiry, including about the Middle Ages.

Bredekamp's objection is likely well founded when it comes to medieval cult images and relics, but in his “Work of Art” essay Benjamin was far more interested in non-cultic works of Gothic art, especially cathedrals and their sculptural decorations. Why was this and what does it mean for the validity of Benjamin's thesis in respect to medieval art? This session aims to reinvestigate the question of Benjamin and the Middle Ages to try to understand why Gothic art and architecture loomed so large in his imaginary. We welcome papers that take up any aspect of Benjamin’s writings on the Middle Ages (including correspondences, essays other than “The Work of Art …”, etc.), papers that contextualize Benjamin’s writings against the larger political backdrop of the inter-war period when he wrote or within that period's larger historiography of art history, and papers that examine the utility of Benjamin's ideas to the current study of medieval art.

Please send your paper proposal of up to one page to:

ICMA AT THE GLENCAIRN MUSEUM - reserve your spot by 5 Oct 2018

The spring issue of Gesta features the article “Integrated Pasts: Glencairn Museum and Hammond Castle,” co-authored by Jennifer Borland and Martha Easton.
In this piece, you will learn about two early twentieth-century American collectors of medieval art, Raymond Pitcairn and John Hays Hammond Jr., each of whom housed their collections in elaborate revivalist residences, inspired by medieval art and architecture.

ICMA at the Glencairn Museum
On Saturday, October 27 (please note date change from the previous announcement in the ICMA Newsletter), ICMA members will be welcomed to the Glencairn Museum with Jennifer Borland and Brian Henderson, Director of the museum. The visit will include an intimate guided tour of the Glencairn collections and the extraordinary neo-Gothic Bryn Athyn cathedral.
The Glencairn Museum is in Bryn Athyn, PA, about 45 minutes north of downtown Philadelphia. While participants will be responsible for their own accommodations in the Philadelphia area, the ICMA will organize bus transit between University City, Philadelphia and the Glencairn Museum. Lunch on the premises will be provided.
Space is limited to 30 attendees. Reserve a spot now! Please make your reservation by FRIDAY 5 OCTOBER here: https://goo.gl/forms/TWiqf454l0x6Mhlm1

If you have questions, please email Sarah Guérin, guerinsa@upenn.edu



Due to an unexpected circumstance, this year the International Center of Medieval Art is extending the deadline for ICMA-Kress Research and Publication Grants. To learn about the terms of the award and application requirements, click here.

We are eager to help our members achieve! Don’t miss this great opportunity!

CFP - ICMA sponsored session: MOVING MATERIALS: Medium, Meanings, and Technique in Transit, due 21 Sept 2018 (Student Committee)

MOVING MATERIALS: Medium, Meanings, and Technique in Transit

Leeds International Medieval Congress, thematic strand: Materialities
University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom, 1-4 July 2019

Sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) Student Committee
Organized by D. Esther Kim (Toronto),  Maggie Crosland (Courtauld), and Xin Yue (Sylvia) Wang (Toronto)


The materials of the medieval artist, artisan, and architect were constantly on the move, travelling from one part of the globe to another through trade, gifting, looting, or theft. Likewise, the localized techniques of working with materials and media could travel near and far, through the movement of artists and objects, as well as written and visual descriptions such as artist manuals and travel guides.

While on the move, travelling materials such as stone and marble, metals, fur, textiles, coral, ivory, and pigment—and techniques of working with these materials—might retain their original meanings and function; or they could be integrated with local media, refined, or even significantly transformed to something drastically different, to suit the ideologies and ambitions of their destination.

This panel aims to engage with materials and techniques in transit, as well as the (trans-)regionality of their meanings and significations, by asking: are we still able to trace the ‘origin’ and ‘originality’ of certain materials, techniques, and their meanings? How then would the fluidity and transformation of techniques affect our understanding when we are trying to ascribe a certain technique to a particular culture or region? How are old, new, and combined meanings assessed and understood in the Middle Ages and in scholarship today?

Possible topics of discussion include, but are not limited to: global movements and dissemination of artists and/or their materials and techniques; modes of transmission; regional/transregional meaning and significance of materials and techniques; reuse and repurposing of existing materials and/or artworks; reasons for shifts in meaning and function of materials within and outside particular regions; the integration of materials and medium, and intermediality; trans-temporal/ trans-regional use of spolia, among others.

We welcome submissions for 20-minute papers from graduate student ICMA members, and encourage interdisciplinary submissions from students researching all parts of the globe from c.400-c.1500. To propose a paper, please send a title, abstract of up to 250 words, and CV to the organizers (de.kim@mail.utoronto.ca, margaret.crosland@courtauld.ac.uk, xw388@nyu.edu) by 21 September, 2018.


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


Summer 2018 ICMA Newsletter now available to ICMA members

The summer 2018 edition of the ICMA Newsletter is now available to ICMA members by logging-in to the member portal on our website.

Not a member yet? Join here to access the newsletter and other benefits, including GESTA: http://www.medievalart.org/become-a-member


Reflection: Excess and Austerity: Benedictines Rule at the Cloisters, by Risham Majeed

Teaching Medieval Art History: Teaching Medieval Art at the Advanced School of Art and Humanities, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, organized by Janetta Rebold Benton, with essays by Chen Han and Momei Xia

Report From Chicago: ICMA Study Day in Chicago, by Mark H. Summers

Report From Munich: Exhibition Review: Bewegte Zeiten: Der Bildhauer Erasmus Grasser, at the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, by Tamara Golan

Student Travel Grant Trip Report: Fresco Programs at Trecento Mendicant Chapter Houses, by Laura Leeker

Events and Opportunities 

CFP: The Other Half of Heaven: Visualizing Female Sanctity in East and West (c. 1200-1500) I-II (ICMA sponsored session at Kalamazoo; due 1 Sept 2018)

The Other Half of Heaven:
Visualizing Female Sanctity in East and West (c. 1200-1500) I-II

An ICMA-sponsored session at the 54th International Congress of Medieval Studies
Kalamazoo, 9-12 May 2019

Organizer - Ioanna Christoforaki, Academy of Athens

If, according to the well-known Chinese proverb, women hold half the sky, did medieval female saints hold half of heaven? In her book of 1998, Forgetful of their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society, ca. 500-1100, Jane Schulenburg calculated that of over 2200 female and male saints examined, only one in seven (or 15%) were women. Although documentation on medieval women is notably scarce, this gender-based asymmetry in the celestial realm clearly reflected the values and hierarchy of earthly society.

Female saints were exceptional women who gained social status, popular recognition and enhanced visibility through sainthood. Medieval female sanctity is a multi-faceted phenomenon, which has been mainly explored through words. Historians and literary scholars have fruitfully mined historical and hagiographical texts not only to draw ‘facts’ about the lives of female saints but also to elucidate social mentalities and highlight gender issues. Holy women, however, were also represented on a variety of media, most notably on icons, frescoes, manuscript illuminations and other artworks. Nevertheless, despite the wealth of historical and hagiographical scholarship on female saints, their visual representations have been exploited almost exclusively in stylistic or iconographic terms.

The aim of this session is to consider female sanctity in visual terms both in Western Europe and the Byzantine East. By exploring representations of women saints and their changing iconography, it aspires to shed light on their status and experience in late medieval society. It will examine images of holy women as embodiments of cultural models and explore the social and religious environment that shaped their visual constructions. In the highly symbolic world of the Middle Ages, representations of female saints can become a vehicle for multiple interpretations, including social status, gender, identity, ethnicity and collective memory.

Some of the issues to be addressed include but are not restricted to:
➢ Visual narratives and iconographic attributes defining female sanctity
➢ The corporeality of female saints and the representation of the holy body
➢ The iconography of transvestite holy women
➢ Out of sight, out of mind: forgotten saints and newcomers
➢ The relation between female holy images and text in illuminated manuscripts
➢ The influence of mendicant literature on picturing female sanctity
➢ One saint, many images: changes in iconography and meaning
➢ Iconographic variations of the Virgin in East and West


Participants in ICMA-sponsored sessions are eligible to receive travel funds, generously provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The Kress funds are allocated for travel and hotel only. Speakers will be refunded only after the conference, against travel receipts.

Please send paper proposals of 300 words to the Chair of the ICMA Programs Committee, Beth Williamson (beth.williamson@bristol.ac.uk) by September 1, 2018, together with a completed Participant Information Form, to be found at the following address: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions#papers. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to the Congress administration for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

ICMA Kress Research and Publication Grants: due 31 August

The Kress Foundation is supporting five research and publication grants, of $3000 each.  Applicants must be members of the ICMA.  The deadline for the 2018 grants is August 31, 2018.

You can join the ICMA here: http://www.medievalart.org/become-a-member/

Members may apply for:

Grants for Research on a first book - restricted to ICMA members who have been awarded a Ph.D. by a U.S. or a non-U.S.  institution within the last ten years. Those with a non-U.S. degree must currently hold a continuing position in a U.S. college, university or museum. The grants must be used for travel, and for research costs such as photographs, image permissions, etc.

Grants for Publication of a first book - restricted to ICMA members with book contracts in hand who obtained their PhD at any time from a U.S. or a non-U.S. institution. Those with a non-U.S. degree must currently hold a continuing position in a U.S. college, university or museum.  The grant must be used for publication costs, including photographs, image permissions, copyediting, architectural drawings/plans, etc.  


Applications for either grant must submit:

1) a statement identifying the Kress grant being applied for, and the applicant’s eligibility for the grant

2) a cover letter (no more than three pages) giving a detailed outline of the proposed project

3) a full cv

4) a full budget.

5) a copy of the publication contract if one is in place

6) If a publication grant is being requested, a chapter of the text must be submitted.  If the book is already completed, the entire text should be submitted.


The application should be submitted electronically to awards@medievalart.org.

For large files, please upload to Google Drive and give permission to awards@medievalart.org. 

Failure to include all required materials adversely affects the review process.  

CFP: IMC Leeds, 2019 (ICMA sponsored session)

Call for ICMA Sponsored Session Proposals

The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) seeks proposals for sessions to be held under the organization’s sponsorship in 2019 at the International Medieval Congress (IMC) at Leeds, England.  

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 2019– the theme is ‘Materialities’.  For more information on the Leeds 2019 congress and theme, see: https://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/imc2019_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.  

Thanks to a generous grant from the Kress Foundation, funds may be available to defray travel costs of speakers in ICMA-sponsored sessions up to a maximum of $600 for domestic (within Europe) travel and of $1200 for transatlantic travel. If available, the Kress funds are allocated for travel and hotel only. Speakers in ICMA sponsored sessions will be refunded only after the conference, against travel receipts.  In addition to speakers, session organizers delivering papers as an integral part of the session (i.e. with a specific title listed in the program) are now also eligible to receive travel funding.  

Go to:  http://www.medievalart.org/kress-travel-grant/

Please direct all session proposals (with a slate of papers) and inquiries by 14 September 2018 to the Chair of the ICMA Programs and Lectures Committee: Beth Williamson, University of Bristol, UK (beth.williamson@bristol.ac.uk)