Paper proposals of max. 1 paper are due by 31 October 2016 for the session organized by Ioanna Christoforaki. Send proposals at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the concept of crusader art is effortlessly understood by scholars, its precise definition is notoriously elusive. Crusader art has traditionally been described as the figural art and architecture produced for the Crusaders in the Holy Land. The patrons were men and women, laymen as well as clergymen, who arrived to the Holy Land as pilgrims, soldiers, settlers, rulers, or merchants, while the artists were Franks and Italians who were residents in the Outremer, Westerners who travelled to the Latin East, or Eastern Christians who worked for Crusader patrons.
In recent decades, however, this conventional definition of crusader art has been challenged. Since it sits on the boundaries of many artistic traditions, its borders have become more porous. The centres of production have shifted beyond the Holy Land, to include places like Cyprus. From Sinai to Cilician Armenia, multifold artistic traditions have converged and numerous people have interacted in the production of what is recognised as crusader art.
The aim of this session is to reflect critically on the limitations of terminology, while addressing issues of artistic transmission across the fluid borderland of the Medieval Mediterranean. It will seek to expand the cultural dialogue between the various religious and ethnic groups in the Eastern Mediterranean, by examining how Islamic, Syrian and Jewish artistic traditions interacted with the Byzantine and Western paradigms. It will attempt to identify the varied forms of crusader art that have emerged in recent years and explore how this revised corpus of crusader material challenges accepted notions. Finally, it will inquire whether crusader art, as an essentially transcultural contact zone, acted as an agent of separation, communication, or convergence.
This session invites papers which re-evaluate traditional approaches to crusader art, artefacts and architecture and seek to re-examine the interplay between material culture, patrons and artists. Participants are expected to explore the artistic interaction between the different ethnic groups in the region and are encouraged to explore a novel approach in defining the notion of crusader art.