Strategies of Narration, Strategies of Transformation. Spazio figurato and Romanesque Painting in Italy, from the Old Testament to the Apocalypse

Research Seminar

  • Event on site and online
  • Date: May 31, 2022
  • Time: 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Speaker: Alison Locke Perchuk
  • Location: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, 00187 Roma & Zoom
  • Contact: rossi@biblhertz.it
Strategies of Narration, Strategies of Transformation. Spazio figurato and Romanesque Painting in Italy, from the Old Testament to the Apocalypse
It is an art historical trope that medieval churches offered the presence of Heaven to those on Earth, but how exactly might this occur? Attention to Romanesque wall paintings in their architectural and liturgical settings offers some indications of the transformative power of images.

In this research seminar, Alison Locke Perchuk examines three categories of images in Italian Romanesque art— narrative sequences of the Apocalypse, representations of the Agnus Dei, and renderings of the Twelve Tribes of Israel — focusing on their presentation in ecclesiastical wall paintings. Each of these examples is rooted in ongoing study of the monasterium Sancti Heliae through its 12th-c. church at Castel Sant’Elia (Vt), demonstrating the depth of thought at a site too often dismissed as provincial. Analysis of images at Sant’Elia and in other medieval Italian churches from the perspectives of spazio figurato, ritual function, and visual and textual exegesis reveals not only the contextual and intellectual flexibility of narrative representation, but the surprising power of images to transform physical altars into celestial altars and even into the altar of the Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel.

Alison Locke Perchuk, Associate Professor of Art History at California State University Channel Islands, studies the intersecting roles of art, architecture, ritual, and landscape in the creation of communal identity in medieval Italy, and how modern perceptions of the Middle Ages shape our understanding of art history. Current projects examine narrative strategies in Romanesque painting, monastic landscapes in Italy, and the use of the Middle Ages in the construction of modern California.


This event will take place on-site (without registration) and via streaming on our Vimeo channel at 11:15: https://vimeo.com/event/2073095

Scientific Organization: Elisabetta Scirocco

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