Approaching Portraiture Across Medieval Art, Special Session,50th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, May 14–17, 2015
Organizer: Maeve Doyle, Bryn Mawr College
Figural representations of specific, contemporary people served numerous purposes in medieval societies, from commemorative and memorial functions to assertions of political power or social status, markers of ownership and use, and enactments of piety. Portraits, furthermore, proliferate across media, in stained glass, manuscript, and sculpture both monumental and miniature. This variety of historical, religious, and material contexts inflects the function of medieval portraits and their reception. While portraiture had long been considered an essentially modern genre, recent scholarship has worked to establish terms for considering portrait forms within the social, artistic, and theological contexts of the Middle Ages. In his book on royal representations in late medieval France, Stephen Perkinson situated the rise of veristic portraiture within the social and artistic concerns of the Valois court. Scholars such as Brigitte Bedos-Rezak and Alexa Sand, on the other hand, have approached the question of portraiture through medium-specific studies of personal seals and illuminated manuscripts, respectively. These studies emphasize the extent to which the creation and reception of a portrait depends upon its specific historical and material contexts. This panel seeks to explore the degree to which such focused studies can inform one another. In order to further investigation into medieval portraiture (or portraitures), this panel seeks to spotlight studies of portraiture across contexts and across media and to place them into dialog. This panel invites proposals for papers treating portraiture, loosely defined, from across medieval cultures and in any area of representation.
Source: BSANA listserv