ICMA at the Courtauld 2018 Lecture: 13 March

ICMA at The Courtauld Lecture 2018
Series made possible through the generosity of William M. Voelkle

Tuesday 13 March 2018
5:30pm - 6:30 pm
The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre
Somerset House, Strand  WC2R 0RN


Prof. Nancy Patterson Ševčenko
Former President of the International Center of Medieval Art

All in the Family: The Byzantine imperial family of the Comnenians as patrons in the first half of the 12th century

The Comnenian imperial family dominated the later 11th and 12th centuries in Byzantium: Emperor Alexios I, and his son and successor John II, ruled for a combined total of 62 years (1081-1143). And the family was large: Alexios had nine children and John had eight, and most of these children were adults, with children of their own, by the death of John II in 1143. Given that the administration of the empire in this period centered around membership in the imperial family, the relative proximity of each family member to the emperor himself, whether by blood or by marriage, became key.

The works of art associated with this famille nombreuse consist of everything from grand monastic foundations to illuminated manuscripts to small metal reliquary crosses. Some of these works, large and small, have survived; for others, there is ample written evidence. This paper will look at the many works of art and literature commissioned by, or associated with, specific members of the family in these decades, tracking issues such as how proximity to the throne of the individual may have affected the nature and general perception of the work and its place on a spectrum between public and private.

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

Nancy Patterson Ševčenko is a Byzantine art historian whose work has focused primarily on illustrated lives of the saints, and on the intersection of art and liturgy. She is the author of The Life of Saint Nicholas in Byzantine Art (1983), of Illustrated Manuscripts of the Metaphrastian Menologion (1990), and of Greek Manuscripts at Princeton, Sixth to Nineteenth Century: A Descriptive Catalogue (2010) with S. Kotzabassi and D. Skemer); she is currently preparing a catalogue of the Byzantine illuminated manuscripts of the monastery of St. John on Patmos. A selection of her articles have been reprinted in her Variorum volume, The Celebration of the Saints in Byzantine Art and Liturgy (2013). She recently completed a term as the President of the International Center of Medieval Art, and is currently Visiting Scholar at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. She lives in South Woodstock, Vermont.

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

Local arrangements: Joanna Cannon, The Courtauld Institute of Art