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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

Open to: Public | Academic
Admission: 0
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

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.


Robert Mills
02031084020 | robert.mills@ucl.ac.uk


More information about Past Imperfect