Events in 2009-10


Medieval 'mise-en-abyme'

The Object Depicted Within Itself

Monday, 16 February 2009

14.00 - 18.00, Research Forum South Room

Speaker(s): Peter Bokody (Central European University, Budapest), Laura Cleaver (Courtauld Institute of Art), Margaret Graves (University of Edinburgh), Jim Harris (Courtauld Institute of Art), Anthony McGrath (Sussex University), Joanna Milk (Courtauld Institute of Art), Eileen Rubery (Courtauld Institute of Art), Stuart Whatling (Courtauld Institute of Art), Hanna Wimmer (University of Hamburg)

This workshop session, organised by Laura Cleaver, explored the representation of artworks within artworks of the same form.  Mise-en-abyme has been a popular subject of discourse in modern art-historical theory, but has rarely been applied to pre-modern contexts.  This workshop considered whether mise-en-abyme was a useful way of thinking about objects from the medieval and Byzantine world in the period c.400-1500.

pdfDownload programme

pdfDownload papers and abstracts

framing the middle ages

Concepts of the Frame in Medieval Art and Architecture

Monday, 23 November 2009

14.00 - 18.00, Research Forum South Room

This workshop will explore the significance of concepts of frames and framing for the understanding of medieval art and architecture. It will address how images and architecture are ‘framed’ and how both might contribute to the beholder’s perception of texts, spaces or objects, thereby constituting hermeneutical or ontological frames in themselves. Proposals are sought for papers which explore such concepts of frames and framing in all media, from Byzantium and Western Europe, in the period c.400-1450.

pdfDownload the Introduction to the Workshop (Stuart Whatling, Courtauld Institute)

pdfDownload Abstracts

Preliminary bibliography:

Meyer Schapiro, ‘On Some Problems in the Semiotics of Visual Art: Field and Vehicle in Image Signs’, in A.J. Greimas et al. (eds.), Sign, Language, Culture, The Hague, 1970.
Victor Stoichita, The self-aware image, A-M. Glasheen (trans.), Cambridge, 1997.

Deborah Tannen, Framing in Discourse, Oxford, 1993.
Werner Wolf and Walter Bernhart (eds.) Framing borders in literature and other media, Amsterdam, 2006.

Medieval Art Medieval Theory

Reading Group

In 2009/2010 this reading group for PhD students will explore the relationships between art and thought at the Augustinian house of Saint Victor in Paris, from William of Champeaux’s arrival in 1108 to c.1220.  The reading group will meet twice a term.  The sessions will focus on the work of individual scholars and teachers, or on a theme which seems to unite works of art and scholarship.  During the course of the year we will explore the work of Hugh, Richard and Andrew of Saint Victor, as well as that of the lesser known canons Godfrey, Walter and Adam.  We will also explore the output and influence of the Abbey’s scriptorium.  There will be set reading for each session, which will include twelfth- or thirteenth-century texts and secondary source material.  For further information, timetable and detailed bibliography please contact Dr. Laura Cleaver at

Preliminary bibliography:

M. Carruthers, The Craft of Thought: Meditation, rhetoric and the making of images 400-1200, Cambridge, 1998.

M.W. Evans, ‘Fictive Painting in twelfth-century Paris’ in J. Onians (ed.) Sight and Insight: Essays on art and culture in honour of E.H. Gombrich at 85, London, 1994, pp.73-88.

D. Knowles, The Evolution of Medieval Thought, London, 1962, pp.141-149.

E. Panofsky, Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism, London, 1957.
B. Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, Notre Dame, 2nd ed. 1964.