Memory and Oblivion: Ritual Lament in Images from Antiquity to El Greco

Search for:
Coll & Cortés Medieval Spain, Research Forum, Research Seminars

Memory and Oblivion: Ritual Lament in Images from Antiquity to El Greco

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

Get Directions

Mourners on the tomb of knight from the Téllez de Meneses family, c. 1300. MNAC, Barcelona. Photo: Tom Nickson

  • Thursday 25 January 2018
    PLEASE NOTE: This Date Has Passed
    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

    Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN


  • Professor Felipe Pereda - Harvard University

Organised by

  • Dr Tom Nickson - The Courtauld Institute of Art

An old narrative tradition going back to Ancient Egypt but documented across the Mediterranean – from the Middle East to Greece — shows women attending funerals performing theatrical, but also highly ritualized gestures that express unbearable pain. This visual trope corresponds to a practice that was surveyed and prosecuted in this part of the world well before the arrival of Christianity. The practice continued in Iberia throughout the Middle Ages, producing from the 12th century onwards an extraordinary tradition of painting and monumental sculpture. This lecture will explore the persistence, survival and repression of this practice and discuss the contribution of the visual arts to the production of cultural memory.


Felipe Pereda is Fernando Zóbel de Ayala Professor of Spanish Art at Harvard University. Born in Madrid, he studied at the Universidad Complutense, and the Autónoma University where he received his PhD (1995) and taught until 2011. In more recent years, he has also taught at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas (Universidad Autónoma de México), and Johns Hopkins University (2011-15). He has worked on Spanish late medieval and early modern art, art theory, image theory and history of architecture.

His books include, La arquitectura elocuente (1999), El atlas del Rey Planeta (3rd. ed. 2003), and Images of Discord. Poetics and Politics of the Sacred Image in 15th century Spain (Spanish ed. 2007; English translation, Harvey Miller, forthcoming). He has recently published on artists such as Luis de Morales, Ribera, or Zurbarán.

Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close