Séminaire : Jeffrey F. Hamburger, « Panizzi Lecture », Londres, British Library, octobre-novembre 2022

This event will take place at the British Library. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical), or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

Diagrams constitute an omnipresent feature of medieval art and thought. From Antiquity onwards, the forms and procedures of geometric reasoning held a privileged place in the pursuit of truth, the understanding of which remained closely linked to ideals of beauty and perfection. Drawing on the collections of the British Library, whose holdings provide virtually comprehensive coverage of all ramifications of the diagrammatic tradition, this series of lectures examines the practical, theoretical and aesthetic dimensions of medieval diagrams as matrices of meaning and patterns of thought informing diverse areas of medieval culture.

The Panizzi Lecture series 2022 is given by Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Kuno Francke Professor of German Art & Culture, Harvard University. Jeffrey F. Hamburger’s research focuses on the art of the High and later Middle Ages. He is the Kuno Francke Professor of German Art & Culture at Harvard University. Beginning with his dissertation on the Rothschild Canticles (Yale, 1987), his scholarship has focused on the art of female monasticism, culminating in an international exhibition Krone und Schleier (Crown and Veil), 2005. Professor Hamburger holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from Yale University. He previously held teaching positions at Oberlin College, University of Toronto and has been a guest professor in Zurich, Paris, Oxford and Fribourg.

2022 Series Introduction – Drawing Conclusions: Diagrams in Medieval Art and Thought

By definition, diagrams transcend boundaries. They represent an unusual class of images in so far as their delineations extend to include lettering, even full-blown text. They also simultaneously serve theoretical, demonstrative, and instrumental functions. Diagrams both reproduce and generate maps of the mind. To what extent can modern understandings of diagrammatic procedures inform inquiry into historical diagrammatic practices, and vice versa? This lecture addresses this and related questions through a series of examples ranging from the Middle Ages to the present.

  • Thu 27 Oct 2022, 18:30 – 19:30, The Codex in the Classroom: Practical Dimensions of Medieval Diagrams

Of all of the ideas and institutions the modern world has inherited from the Middle Ages, the university remains among the most durable. As demonstrated by a wide range of medieval schoolbooks, diagrams had a secure place throughout the curriculum, in which they served not simply as didactic aids but also a means of inculcating enduring patterns of thought.

Diagrams had a pragmatic as well as a Platonic aspect. The very appearance of diagrams – their elementary abstraction and etiolated forms – stamped them as exemplifications of thought that stood at the boundary between what is visible and what is not.

In the double character of the diagram – its liminal status at the boundary between the physical and the metaphysical, the rational and the irrational, the visible and the invisible – lay a large part of its appeal to medieval exegetes and artists.The Panizzi Lecture series 2022 is given by Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Kuno Francke Professor of German Art & Culture, Harvard University.

  • Poetry, play, persuasion. The diagrammatic imagination

Poetry and play are probably the last words that come to mind when most of us think about diagrams.

Throughout the Middle Ages, however, and beyond, diagrammatic techniques provided the underpinning for practices informing complex aesthetic procedures in poetry and the visual arts. Although associated with the rigours of reasoning, diagrams also possessed a playful dimension central to artistic as well as intellectual invention.

Just as diagrams play a critical role in modern game theory, so too in medieval culture, diagrams incorporated a playful element that sought to unify text with image, clarity with complexity, and simplicity with difficulty.

Medieval games themselves were often conceptualised in terms of diagrams. Whereas in modern understandings, medieval art is often associated with the monstrous, viewing it against the backdrop of the diagram permits one to see this aspect as but one side of a coin – the other side of which represents a profound pursuit of order.


Citer ce billet
Florence Larcher (2022, 18 octobre). Séminaire : Jeffrey F. Hamburger, « Panizzi Lecture », Londres, British Library, octobre-novembre 2022. Collectif d'Historiens de l'Art de la Renaissance. Consulté le 16 juin 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/mp0p

Florence Larcher

Florence Larcher est doctorante à l'Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Ses recherches sur les images de saint Roch en Italie de 1350 à 1680 l'amènent à étudier la peinture murale, la sérialité et l'itinérance des peintres.

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