A large majority of recent studies related to the connection between art and liturgy mainly focuses on paintings and sculptures, leaving aside other cult objects. The few studies that do take these essential ritual instruments into consideration, are primarily devoted to the Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period have attracted far less attention, whereas liturgy underwent profound transformations. Although there are some studies limited to certain collections or types of objects, we are still in need of a broader analysis instigated by recent methodological trends in historical anthropology and iconology, which have renewed our understanding of images and art objects.

We have invited an international group of scholars, experts in their fields and specialized in exactly these methodologies. As a result, the symposium will contribute to this broader analysis and will offer new insights on:

1) The material dimension of objects. It is now understood that the properties and values of materials are part of the very meaning of works of art and the way in which they are received. It invites us to consider how materials generate certain forms and appearances, and how they bring about and maintain certain beliefs in the immanent power of objects, independent of their formal or representational value.
2) The replacement of the work of art within a network of relationships will be considered. To better apprehend this efficacy, a strictly stylistic and typological study cannot suffice any longer. Furthermore, the Performative turn has opened up new avenues in the field of Art History: since Austin’s ground-breaking work in the field of Linguistics, many scholars have considered the art object as an agent.
3) The history of senses and the sensible upon the material and contextual uses of the liturgical object as material carriers of synaesthesia. This is a highly innovative contribution to the space between Art History and Liturgical Studies.
4) The way in which ornamentation affects meaning. Further, the way in which meaning is conveyed and often transformed by the force of the art objects, but also by the ornamental apparatus accompanying it and bringing it before the viewer will be examined.

Confirmed speakers: Michele Bacci, Sébastien Bontemps, Charles Caspers, Frédéric Cousinié, Anne-Clothilde Dumargne, Cynthia Hahn, Caroline Heering, Emmanuel Joly, Ethan Matt Kavaler, Kamil Kopania, Anne Lepoitevin, Marie Lezowski, Eric Palazzo, Nicole Pellegrin, Herman Roodenburg, Ruben Suykerbuyk, Frédéric Tixier, Anne-Laure Van Bruaene, Soetkin Vanhauwaert, Wendy Wauters

Organizing committee: Barbara Baert, Marie-Christine Claes, Ralph Dekoninck, Annick Delfosse, Veerle Fraeters, Pierre-Yves Kairis

Date and Venue: 24-25 October 2019: Brussels – Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. Parc du Cinquantenaire, 1 B-1000 Brussels. 26 October 2019: KU Leuven (Faculty of Arts) – Auditorium Justus Lipsius, Blijde Inkomststraat 21, 3000 Leuven

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