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CFP: “Sacred Medium – Pictures and communication strategies on Saints in the Middle Ages and Early Modern” (Hamburg, 24-28 Sept 18)

Study Course of the Warburg House
Organizers: Prof. Dr. Peter Schmidt and Lena Marshall, MA, University of Hamburg

If the world is conceived in separate spheres of this world and beyond, of the divine and the creaturely, structures of mediation are needed. Mediality has therefore been worked out in recent years by the cultural sciences and theology as a central aspect of Christianity. Christ and the saints are media in the sense of the mediation structures between humanity and God. The sacred can become a medium in its sensually perceptible concretization - in the form of sacred places, objects, relics, etc. At the same time, the sacred itself requires mediation. For, as Gregor the Great put it, man has become so dull from the fall of sin that he can only recognize the divine through aids such as sensuous perception.

This is where the picture comes into play. The presence of the saints in or behind the pictures has been much talked about in the field of art science; not enough about the medial functions of images with regard to the sacred. This is now the goal of this year's study course of the Warburg House. Possible topics include:

- Images multiply / spread sacred
- How new visual media conveys the sacred
- Pictures and sacred places / sacred objects
- The bodies of the saints - invisible, visible
- The sacraments (as media salutis) and the medium of the picture
- Pictures thematise mediation processes between the human and the divine
- Reformations of the mediation function of images

These are only suggestions.

The annual in-house Warburg study course, which is jointly organized by the Art History Department at the University of Hamburg and the Aby Warburg Foundation, provides a forum for young academics. We expect from the genius loci of motivation and inspiration.

Weed out applications from advanced students or graduates of art history or a relevant area of ​​cultural studies that have begun a master's or doctorate in a broad thematic field of study course or recently completed. Advanced students in the main or master's degree, who have developed a relevant and concrete interest, are also invited to apply. The participants will present their research topic or a relevant aspect in a 30-minute contribution. Intensive discussion and exchange on these contributions, on selected aspects of the Framework subject and relevant texts should be the focus. In addition, a one-day field trip is planned. Discussion language of the study course is German, but non-native speakers can recite in English their own contributions. The cost of travel (2nd class) and accommodation in a double room bears the Aby Warburg Foundation.

Applications can be written in German or English and should contain the following documents (all in one PDF):

1. Curriculum vitae
2. Brief outline of a presentation topic, and statement of motivation for participation (together max. 500 words)
3. Estimates of travel expenses

Applications must be until May 7, 2018 addressed to Prof. Dr. Peter Schmidt and Lena Marshall, MA, at the e-mail address:

Relevant research areas: Western Europe, Medieval, Book arts, Papermaking

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