Left: reception following Madeline Caviness's ICMA at the Courtauld lecture, November 2008. Centre: Barbara Boehm inspects an object in The Courtauld Gallery before delivering the 2009/2010 lecture. Right: image from Lucy Freeman Sandler's 20010/2011 lecture, Lichtenthal Psalter, Baden-Baden, Lichtenthal Abbey Archiv MS 2, Psalm 119, fol. 124v.

This lecture series, established in 1999, is sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, New York.  ICMA promotes the study of the visual arts of the Middle Ages.  Its worldwide membership includes academics, museum professionals, students, and other enthusiasts.  ICMA publishes a scholarly journal Gesta, a newsletter, sponsors lectures and conference sessions and maintains the website www.medievalart.org 

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. 

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

Forthcoming Lecture

The lecturer for 2015/16 will be announced in due course.

Previous lecturers and their topics

2014/2015, Professor Holger A Klein (Professor of Art History and Archaeology & Department Chair, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University)

Art, Faith, and Politics in Late Medieval Venice

Following the Crusader conquest of Constantinople in 1204 and the subsequent looting of its churches, chapels and palaces, Venice became a key repository of sacred relics imported from Byzantium and the Eastern Mediterranean. Some of the most treasured relics were soon incorporated into the liturgical and ceremonial rituals of the city and its most distinguished churches. While Venetian efforts to acquire new relics slowed down considerably after the end of the Latin domination of Constantinople in 1261, several prominent Eastern relics entered the city during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and enriched the city with their spiritual and miracle-working power. This lecture will explore how two prominent donations of relics of the True Cross, one to the confraternity of San Giovanni Evangelista the other to the Scuola di Santa Maria della Carità, impacted religious, public, and artistic life in Venice from the mid-fourteenth through the early sixteenth century.

2013/2014, Professor Robert Nelson (Robert Lehman Professor, Department of the History of Art, Yale University)

Patriarchal Lectionaries of Constantinople

The Greek Gospel lectionary, containing those passages read during the liturgy and arranged according to the church calendar, has long been of interest to art historians. Earlier attempts to study it did not produce lasting results until the basic text of these manuscripts began to be explored. That research has gathered momentum in recent years, thanks especially to the work of Professor John Lowden, and has coalesced around the concept of the Patriarchal lectionary, created for the use of Hagia Sophia during the eleventh century. This lecture will look further into history of that lectionary before, during, and after this period.


2012/2013 by Dr. Helen C. Evans (Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art, The Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

“Sailing to Byzantium”: Understanding a Lost Empire

Since The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s founding in 1870 its collection of Byzantine Art has been presented in dramatically differing ways. The changes reflected, or led, the interest of scholars and the public in the arts of an empire whose state ended more than half a millennium ago. This paper considers the Metropolitan Museum’s installations and exhibitions as they relate to the evolution of our understanding of Byzantium and its periphery and possible future areas of exploration and installation.

2011/2012, Professor Henry Maguire (Department of the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University)
Meadows of Delight: Metaphor and Denial in Byzantine and Western Mediaeval Art
Abstract of  2011/2012 lecture

2010/2011, Prof. Lucy Freeman Sandler (Helen Gould Sheppard Professor of Art History Emerita, New York University.)
The Bohuns and their Books: Illuminated Manuscripts for Aristocrats in Fourteenth-Century England

2009/2010, Barbara Drake Boehm (Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
The Count of Clermont and the Case of Conques: Unravelling Some Mysteries of Medieval Enamelling
Abstract of  2009/2010 lecture

2008/2009, Prof. Madeline Caviness  (Mary Richardson Professor Emeritus, Tufts University)
The Sachsenspiegel Law Books:  Working to put Women and Jews “in their Place.
Abstract of  2008/2009 lecture

2007/2008, Prof. Ilene H. Forsyth (Professor Emerita, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Moissac: The Sacred and the Secular in the Sculpture of the South Portal
Abstract of 2007/2008 lecture

2006/2007, Prof. Anne D. Hedeman (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Visual Translation in Fifteenth-century France: Laurent de Premierfait and Boccaccio
Abstract of 2006/2007 lecture

2005/2006, Prof. Annemarie Weyl Carr (Southern Methodist University)
Cyprus and Jerusalem’s Long Shadow: Building Holy Sepulchres in the Holy Isle
Abstract of 2005/2006 lecture

2004/2005, Prof. Dorothy Glass (Richard Krautheimer Guest Professor, Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome)
Fabrication and Self-Representation: The Benedictine Abbey at Nonantola in ca. 1100

2003/2004, Prof. Elizabeth Sears (University of Michigan)
‘False Work’: Craft Ethics and the Critical Eye in Medieval Paris

2001/2002, Prof. Paula Gerson (Florida State University)
Reconsidering Abbot Suger’s Great Cross

2000/2001, Prof. Dale Kinney (Bryn Mawr)
The Horse and the Cuckoo: Narrating Marcus Aurelius

1999/2000, Dr. Charles Little (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Kingship and Justice: Reflections on some rediscovered sculptures from the circle of Frederick II Hohenstaufen