Indicating the Present in the Fifteenth-Century Low Countries

Speaker: Dr Matthew Champion - Lecturer in Medieval History at Birkbeck University of London, and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University

When and where is the now? And what is the now anyway? This paper seeks out the possible presents created in and through images made in the fifteenth-century Low Countries. Critical to the construction of the present in the fifteenth century were visual techniques designed to bring distance and foreground, past and present, into paradoxical relations, particularly through pointing hands and fingers. These techniques were complemented by presents evoked through sensory experiences beyond the visual – particularly the tactile and auditory. Such techniques were intimately involved in forming the complicated plural temporalities present across manuscript and early print culture and panel painting in the period. In turn they provide theoretical resources for shaping our own temporal horizons in modernity.

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10 Oct 2018

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