Presentazione della nuova edizione del Platina

NEWS: Presentazione del volume Bartholomaei Platynae. Vita amplissimi patris Ioannis Melini, a cura di Maria Grazia Blasio, Roma 2014 (Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura), pagine lxxviii-98.

Giovedì 6 novembre, ore 17,00, presso l’Archivio Storico Capitolino, Piazza dell’Orologio 4, Roma. Intervengono Concetta Bianca e Andreas Rehberg.

L’edizione presenta il testo della prima biografia umanistica dedicata alla figura di un cardinale, Giovanni Battista Millini (Roma 1405-1478), figlio di Sabba e di Perna Ponziani. Bartolomeo Platina fa emergere il personaggio dalla storia familiare e cittadina risalendo alle vicende del libero Comune trecentesco per arrivare a quel passaggio della storia quattrocentesca di Roma che vede il trasferimento delle prerogative municipali entro l’orbita del potere curiale, quando la strategia difensiva delle famiglie romane produce cambiamenti nella tipologia stessa delle attività economiche.

La biografia è scritta, letta e postillata nell’accademia di Pomponio Leto e del Platina, dove un’élite intellettuale privilegiata dal mecenatismo ­non rinunciava ad imprimere sul recupero della classicità declinazioni politiche e posizioni di denuncia della corruzione negli apparati istituzionali. Era un’idea di sintesi fra umanesimo e visione cristiana destinata ad arretrare nei conflitti del secolo successivo.

Sarà presente la Curatrice.

An English Medieval Book of Hours


ARTICLE: An English Medieval Book of Hours from the Newberry Library, Chicago, by Karen Christianson.

One of the Newberry’s most beautiful medieval manuscript books is Case MS 35, a Book of Hours, Use of Salisbury, probably made in Bruges in the mid-fifteenth century for the English market.

Books of Hours were abbreviated versions of the monastic divine office, a cycle of psalms, readings, and hymns that varied over the course of the liturgical year. Medieval monks or nuns generally gathered to recite or sing these devotional texts at eight set times each day, from before dawn through late at night. By the later Middle Ages Books of Hours were developed to guide lay people through a less rigorous and less time-consuming series of daily devotions.

Wealthy families often commissioned luxury Books of Hours, such as this one, with elaborate and colorful illuminated miniatures embellished with decorative borders and gold leaf. Bruges became a major center of production of these works of art. That this book was destined for England is attested to by inclusion of English saints, including among others Wulfstan of Worcester and Augustine of England, and prayers to the Venerable Bede and Thomas Becket, as well as the phrase “secundum consuetudinem Anglie” (following the usage of the English) at the top of the page for the hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Many of the illuminated miniatures in this book illustrate the stories of saints’ lives in the text. Among them are Saint Margaret emerging unscathed from being swallowed by a dragon; Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with the snake—who has a woman’s head; Saint Catherine standing before her wheel; and Saint George, patron saint of England, slaying a dragon.

While we do not know who originally owned this book, by the early sixteenth century its front endpapers were being used as a family register, beginning with “The namys of the children of Wilham Gonstone and Benet his wif of the perisshe of Saincte Donistones in the est as hereafter ffolowith”. The first entry records the birth of the couple’s first son, Dany, on November 29, 1508 (at five o’clock in the morning). The births of two more sons and a daughter are also listed, the last born in 1515. On the following page appears the family of “Sir Thomas Myldmaye, knight, and the Ladye Frauncys his wiefe”, recording the births of their five daughters and three sons, plus a son borne to Thomas by his second wife Margaret, over the years from 1568 through 1593.

We know that this Sir Thomas Mildmay (to use modern spelling) was the son of Thomas Mildmay of Moulsham, who had been granted this manor in Essex in 1546 by King Henry VIII. The book’s owner was also a nephew of Sir Walter Mildmay, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Queen Elizabeth I. In 1538 Henry VIII had issued a proclamation “unsainting” Thomas Becket. It read, in part, “Therefore his Grace strayghtly chargeth and commandeth that from henseforth the sayde Thomas Becket shall not be estemed, named, reputed, nor called a sayncte, but bysshop Becket.

And that his ymages and pictures, through the hole realme, shall be putte downe, and avoyded out of all churches, chapelles, and other places; and that from henseforthe, the dayes used to be festivall in his name shall not be observed, nor the service, office, antiphoners, colletes, and prayers, in his name redde, but rased and put out of all the bokes.” As evidence of the family’s strong ties to the royal court, the prayer to Becket in this book has been crossed out—though the lovely miniature showing Becket’s martyrdom remains untouched—and his name has been erased from the calendar of saints’ days.

This fascinating book is one of nearly three hundred medieval manuscript books in the Newberry collection. Learn more about our Pre-1500 European Manuscripts (here).

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Society and Rule in Medieval Britain

CONFERENCE: Society, Rule and Their Representation in Medieval Britain,  German Historical Institute London, 17 Bloomsbury Square, WC1A London, 13 – 14 November 2014. Organised by Julia Crispin and Cornelia Linde. Free Admission.

THURSDAY, 13 NOVEMBER 2014, 14:00
* Torben Gebhardt (Münster), Self-Categorisation of Medieval Rulers between 1016-1138 – A Comparison between England and the Holy Roman Empire
* Isabelle Chwalka (Mainz), Conception and Perception of England and the Empire in the Twelfth Century
* Stephan Bruhn (Kiel), Of Suffering Kings, Unwise Bishops and Violent Abbots – Concepts of Elites in ‘Biographical Writings’.

* Grischa Vercamer (Berlin), Descriptions of Power and Rulers in the High Middle Ages: English Chronicles in European Context
* Bastian Walter-Bogedain (Wuppertal), “I ́ve got him, I ́ve got him!” Or: How to Capture a King on a Battlefield
* Ulla Kypta (Frankfurt), The Power of Routines: The Emergence of the English Exchequer during the 12th Century
* Martin Stier (Heidelberg), Barons, Lords, Peers. Rank in the English Baronage in the 14th Century.

* Veronika Decker (Vienna), Planting the Vineyard of the Just: The Foundation of New College, Oxford and the Stained Glass of the College Chapel
* Julia Crispin (Münster), French Treasures for an English Prince: John of Bedford, Regent of France, and his French Illuminated Books
* Antje Fehrmann (Berlin), Courts or Concepts? Cultural Networks and Artistic Exchanges in 15th-Century England and Germany.

* Franziska Klein (Duisburg-Essen), The King’s Converts – Caritas, Conversion and Control in Late Medieval England
* Tanja Skambraks (Mannheim/Rome), Children, Liturgy and Festive Culture in Medieval London
* Ute Kühlmann (Mannheim), Celtic Fosterage.

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AAH Annual Conference 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS: Association of Art Historians Annual Conference 2015, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA, Norwich, 9 – 11 April 2015.

Bringing together eminent scholars and emerging voices in art history and visual culture. The AAH Annual Conference and Bookfair is a UK-based event that takes place at a different institution each year. These prominent, international events take place over three days and attract up to 600 delegates, speakers and publishers. A busy and varied 3-day programme packs in over two-hundred papers, keynote lectures, special interest sessions, excursions, networking and much more.

AAH conferences are highly regarded within the art historical community and more broadly. We encourage and support a diverse academic programme, and pride ourselves on the consistently high standard of sessions and papers selected for these events. The AAH works in partnership with the host venue and organising commitee towards realising a successful and memorable event. The AAH conference is different each year, which is one of its greatest assets. If your institution is interested in hosting an AAH conference, or would like to find out more please email the AAH Office.

Paper proposal deadline: 10 November 2014.

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Looking Through a Binding


NEWS: Looking Through a Binding, by Francesca Galligan (Rare Books).

The difficulties in reassembling information relating to a particular copy of a printed book were a significant theme during the autumn of last year, in the Rare Books masterclasses on printed books. My search for information about this pierced vellum binding provides a brief illustrated example.

Curiosity over a card from our bindings index led me on a circuitous path, starting and ending with different Bodleian resources. The card refers to a binding of blind-tooled vellum with cut-out compartments, laid over green silk, the edges gilt and gauffered, shelfmark 4° A 111 Th.BS.

It covers a Latin translation of the Psalms by Moritz Langrave, printed in Smalkalden (Michael Schmück, 1593). The work is dedicated to Moritz’s father, Wilhelm IV of Hesse-Cassel, who died in 1592. The Landgrave family arms form the centrepiece on the upper board, and are printed on the title page and at the colophon.

An initial search of the British Library’s database of bookbindings gave a similar example of pierced vellum over red silk. It also covers a copy of the 1593 edition of Landgrave’s Psalms, and is attributed to a binder from Erfurt, Hans Bapest.

The database provided references to three more bindings attributed to Bapest, illustrated in Bickell’s Bookbindings from the Hessian historical exhibition (Leipzig, 1893).

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Head of Special Collections (California)

JOB: Head-Special Collections, University of California, Santa Barbara Library. The position offers a starting salary range of $73,238 to $116,220.

Embrace scholarly exploration, collaboration and intellectual engagement working with a team of professionals dedicated to diversity, integrity, and innovation as the Head of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library. The University of California, Santa Barbara, one of ten campuses of the University of California system, seeks an experienced, forward-looking, and engaging leader-scholar for the position of Head, Special Research Collections.

The successful candidate will guide the Department through its continuing evolution into a dynamic and innovative resource serving diverse and changing scholar needs and interests. The Head will articulate a vision and strategic direction that promotes the visibility, accessibility, and impact of nationally and internationally recognized primary research collections, expert services, facilitate collaboration of relevant initiatives and programs, develop fundraising strategies, and integrate the treasures of the Department into teaching, research, and learning at the University.

In addition, The Head of SRC will have the opportunity to participate in the planning, design, and furnishing of the new 2015 three story addition. He/she will have the responsibility for envisioning, defining and initiating services, showcasing prominent collections, and offering special programs, exhibitions, etc. in this new state of the art facility.

The Department of Special Research Collections acquires, maintains, preserves, and ensures accessibility of its most valuable, rare and unique materials. The collection includes approximately 250,000 volumes, 16,000 linear feet of manuscripts, 100,000 photographs and 200,000+ early sound recordings. Named collections are the Wyles Collection of nineteenth and twentieth century American History, the American Religions Collection, the Performing Arts Collections, the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, and the Humanistic Psychology Archives. The Department of Special Research Collections also serves as the University Archive.

Deadline for the applicaion: 9 November 2014.

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Speculation, Imagination and Misinterpretation

CALL FOR PAPERS: Speculation, Imagination and Misinterpretation in Medieval and Renaissance Art, Tel Aviv University, 22 – 23 March 2015.

Art history, as we knew it, had changed in the year 1989 with the publication of two major contributions to the field: David Freedberg’s The Power of Images and Hans Belting’s Likeness and Presence. These books redirected our understanding as to the relations between humans and crafted images, in the context of response, ritual, manifestation, and communication. Image production and consumption became a crossroads of cultural practices and forces, projected upon and through, tempting their users to ascribe to them thought, act, and impact.

Rethinking these seminal works, the IMAGO annual conference seeks to explore the role of imagination, speculation, and misinterpretation of images; it attempts to unravel the processes by which phantasy becomes a res, which, in turn, generates an artistic reality and presence. Do images simulate a possible reality, one that could have existed, as advocated by Aristotle? A phantasmagoria? Or, do they generate the reproduction of a distorted actuality? Is the power of imagination synthetic, reflexive, passive, or is it imbued with corporeal intercreative forces? If God was genitum non-factum, were images factum, non genitum, and therefore open to continuously changing speculations? If images produce presence in the form of imaginative actualitas, do they intentionally encourage misinterpretation?

Proposals for talks may refer (but are not limited) to the following topics :
1. Imagination and representation as a dimension of history
2. Misinterpretations as artistic invention / misunderstanding as creative force
3. Moving images (Imago movens)
4. Living images (lebendes Bild)
5. Collective and individual phantasy
6. Canonization of misinterpretation / of phantasy
7. Magical objects
8. Miraculous images in legendae and hagiography
9. Disappointing images
10. Somaticism as artistic experience
11. Spectacle and interactive spectatorship
12. Images as self-projection
13. Images as speculation.

Keynotes Speakers :
Professor Hans Belting, Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe
Professor David Freedberg, Columbia University
Professor Stephen Perkinson, Bowdoin College, Brunswick.

Abstracts should include the applicant’s name, professional affiliation, and a short CV. Each paper should be limited to a 20 minute presentation, followed by discussion and questions.

Please send English abstracts of up to 250 words to the conference organizers to

Deadline: 10 November 2014. All applicants will be notified regarding acceptance of their proposal by November 30, 2014.

Source: H-ArtHist

The Crusader Bible: A Gothic Masterpiece


EXHIBITION: The Crusader Bible: A Gothic Masterpiece, The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY 10016, 17 October 2014 – 4 January 2015.

The spectacular Crusader Bible is one of the greatest illuminated manuscripts in the world, renowned as much for its unrivalled and boldly colored illustrations as it is for its fascinating history. The work brings Old Testament stories alive in bright images replete with medieval castles, towns, and battling knights in armor, all set in thirteenth-century France.

Before the manuscript is rebound visitors will have the opportunity to view over forty of its miniatures, the work of six anonymous artists who were the artistic geniuses of their day. They will also learn about the manuscript’s incredible journey from France to Italy, Poland, Persia, Egypt, England and, finally, New York.

The picture book, which was likely made in Paris about 1250, has long been associated with the court of Louis IX, the pious crusader king of France and builder of the Sainte-Chapelle. The book originally had no text, but along the way inscriptions were added in Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian, indicative of changing owners. The illuminations represent one of the greatest visualizations of Old Testament events ever made. Some of the stories are familiar, but others, more rarely depicted, are surprising.

To view the entire Crusader Bible, zoom in on image details, browse English translations of the Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian inscriptions, and learn more about this fantastic manuscript and its rich content, visit the online exhibition.

This exhibition is made possible by the Janine Luke and Melvin R. Seiden Fund for Exhibitions and Publications; the Sherman Fairchild Fund for Exhibitions; James H. Marrow and Emily Rose; and the H. P. Kraus Fund.

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