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18:00 - 20:00 13 March 2017
Nothing is the Matter: Emptiness on Parchment
Seminar room 6 |
History of Art Department
21 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0AH | United Kingdom
Elina Gertsman, Professor of Art History, Case Western Research University
The impulse to fill in visual lacunae – an omnipresent horror vacui, or fear of empty space – has long been seen as a defining trait of late medieval imagery. Yet, empty loci are many and multifarious in the visual culture of medieval Europe, and they invade its material universe persistently and exultantly. Taking as a point of departure the fourteenth-century manuscript of Eustache Deschamps’s 'Le double lay de la fragilité humaine' (1383), and focusing on images on parchment, this talk explores several such empty spaces that treat absence as a generative presence. Contextualizing these spaces within discourses on imagination, natural philosophy, mathematics, and theology, I will suggest that because all emptiness bears traces – visual, cognitive, material – it often functions as a footprint of its makers and beholders, of their viewing practices, and of their sensorium.
Part of 'Past Imperfect' seminar series, History of Art, UCL.
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