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«February 2020»

CAS Guest Lecture Series

14 March 2019

Prof. Bissera Pentcheva will give a talk on the topic: "Ephemeral Liveliness in Medieval Art: Gold Relief, Chant, and the Eucharistic Rite" on 14 March 2019 (Thursday) at 17:00h at CAS conference hall. The lecture will be in Bulgarian.


This lecture explores an unusual take on the concept of animation in pre-modern art understood not as the mastery of lifelikeness and mimesis, but the craftsmanship of liveliness. I argue that this inspiriting of the medieval image is expressed in the use of chameleonic materials like gold and enamel and their manipulation in time and space to create unstable phenomena of moving shadows and glitter that elicit the perception of Spirit in matter. Chant and the performance of the liturgical ritual further intensify this sensorial experience of animation. This exploration ultimately uncovers a parallel between the medieval performative image and the contemporary installation art.

Bissera V. Pentcheva is Full Professor at the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University. Her research on medieval art includes studies on the cult of the Virgin in Byzantium, multi-media relief icons, and an exploration of the architecture, acoustics and ritual in Constantinople's Great Church, Hagia Sophia. She has published three books with Pennsylvania State University Press: Icons and Power: The Mother of God in Byzantium, 2006 (recipient of the Nicholas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of America, 2010), The Sensual Icon: Space, Ritual, and the Senses in Byzantium, 2010, and Hagia Sophia: Sound Space and Spirit in Byzantium, 2017 (recipient of the 2018 American Academy of Religion's Award in historical studies) and edited the volume Aural Architecture: Music, Acoustics, and Ritual in Byzantium, Routledge 2018.

This lecture is convened with the kind support of  Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.


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