CFP: Last Orders? Art & Architecture of the Religious Orders in England

Call for papers:
Last Orders? The Art and Architecture of Religious Orders in England, c.1350–1540

Tuesday, 17 May 2011
The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2

In contrast to the arts of the so-called ‘golden age’ of English religious life during the High Middle Ages, the visual culture of subsequent generations of monks, nuns, and canons has received little attention. Recent scholarship, however, has challenged the long-held consensus that the Late Middle Ages was a period of decline for the monastic and religious orders in England and elsewhere in Europe. Many historians now argue that monasticism adjusted adeptly to changing social, devotional, and economic practices and several important studies have recently devoted to this period of monastic patronage. Nevertheless, many aspects of monastic art and architecture remain largely unexplored. These include the role of continuity within orders, the expression of particular institutional and confessional identities, and the importance of innovation. The Last Orders symposium seeks to generate discussion on these questions and others, and we welcome proposals for papers on all aspects of monastic art and architecture in late medieval England.

Questions addressed might include, but are not limited to:

* What evidence does art and architecture provide for continuity or change in late-medieval monastic life?
* What were the motivations of monastic patrons?
* Was there anything distinctive about the art and architecture of the individual orders?
* What consciousness of earlier traditions do late-medieval works reveal?
* What roles did the Reformation and early modern antiquarianism play in shaping subsequent attitudes to late-medieval monastic art?
* How can developments in England to be related to those elsewhere in Europe?
* What kinds of connections and distinctions existed between the cultural practices of laypeople and those of the monastic and religious orders?

This symposium welcomes proposals from doctoral students and established researchers. Proposals of not more than 250 words (for 15 minute papers) should be sent to Michael Carter by 1 November 2010. This symposium is organised by Michael Carter and Jessica Berenbeim.

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