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Stanford | Medieval Art & Music between Heritage, Modernity, & Multi-Media Symposium

February 11 @ 11:00 am - 8:00 pm

Medieval Art and Music between Heritage, Modernity, and Multi-Media Symposium

This symposium explores the role of multi-disciplinary scholarship in uncovering and communicating the multi-media nature of medieval art. Focus is on the cult of Ste. Foy at Conques, a site where the eleventh-century architecture, relief sculpture, golden statue, and liturgical poetry, and music have survived intact to this day. The chants written for the feast have not been performed for over a thousand years. Stanford’s “Enchanted Images” (http://enchantedimages.stanford.edu) project is the first to transcribe, translate, and perform this corpus of music and explore the visual art through its aural envelopment. The symposium engages the results of this research project and engages the first live performance of Ste. Foy’s medieval Office featured in Stanford Live program for February 10. Art historians, curators, and musicologists of international reputation are invited to participate.

Medieval art does not fit modern art historical categories. The field’s secular, atheistic bent has put aside interest in the study of this tradition, excised religion, and prioritized an engagement with modern and contemporary. But is medieval art distant and irrelevant to our times? Is it also art? Should this tradition be placed on the slide between modern and heritage? Medieval images and architecture were not designed as art, but as a medium through which to reach to the metaphysical. Heritage lives with us, continuously taping into past and future and staying us in the present, giving us identity. How does the performance of medieval art and its installation in museums can strengthen heritage and the relevance of this tradition to contemporary audiences? These are some of the questions the art historians and curators will address. While we hope that the musicologist would engage the issue of performance and will also uncover the importance of Aquitanian chant for our understanding of the development of medieval music.

Event Program



Kristen Collins, The Getty Center

Thomas Kelly, Harvard University

Henry Parkes, University of Nottingham

Laura Steenberge, Independent scholar

Bissera V. Pentcheva, Stanford University

James Grier, University of Western Ontario

Thomas Dale, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Francisco Prado-Vilar, University of Santiago de Compostela

Isabelle Bardies, Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge

Speaker Abstracts