IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 716: Cathedral Façades: Discourse and City Space

Tuesday 10 July 2007, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Julian Gardner, Department of the History of Art, University of Warwick
Paper 716-aRelief Sculpture and the Art of Socialized-Personal Space
(Language: English)
Christopher R. Lakey, Department of History of Art & Architecture, University of California, Berkeley
Index terms: Architecture - Secular, Art History - General, Art History - Sculpture, Philosophy
Paper 716-bThe Saint and the City: Images of the Apostolic Mission in Gothic Cathedral Sculpture
(Language: English)
Dorothy Gillerman, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Hagiography, Lay Piety, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 716-cThe Cathedral Façade: Papal Politics and Religious Propaganda in Medieval Orvieto
(Language: English)
Pippa Salonius, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Art History - General, Education, Religious Life

Paper a: This paper takes the portal programs of the cathedrals at Modena (c. 1100) and Ferrara (c. 1135) to demonstrate how the real-spatial situations of the relief sculpture – the public space surrounding the cathedral – contained a dialogical relationship between subject and object, a relationship replicated back into the sculptures in their form and iconography. In turn, this reflects the symbolic landscape of the city’s and the church’s relationship to their viewing subjects. Thus, I put forth a new theoretical paradigm for understanding how subjects were integrated into the geographical spaces of their of cities through fixed representational models.
Paper b: From the earliest times French cities eagerly embraced the legend of the Clementine mission and the idea of a national apostolate of founder saints. On the north transept portal at Reims (c. 1220-30) the apostolic role of the bishop/saint is suggested in scenes of conversion and martyrdom. On the west facade, however, this model has been re-configured in sculptured reliefs (c. 1260-70) which seem to reflect mid-century pastoral reform movements which focused on disseminating the word of God. Framing narratives of Paul and John depict the apostles preaching to mixed audiences, and remind us that sermons were the main medium for communicating theological ideas to society at large. In these images the city is perceived as the arena for a new urban discourse that draws on the medieval ars praedicandi and model sermons to interpret central narratives of the Invention of the Cross and the Apocalypse.
Paper c: Orvieto was a place of popes in the second half of the 13th century. Urban IV, Gregory X, Martin IV, Nicholas IV and Boniface VIII all held court there. The pope and his numerous entourage made what was essentially a modest hilltop town of artisans and feudal nobility, a magnet for men of wealth and culture. The city also had a violent history of heresy. Its Gothic cathedral, which still houses one of the most renowned Eucharistic relics in Christendom, was conceived in this cosmopolitan atmosphere. Its façade iconography addressed the qualms of faith experienced by both intellectuals and less educated members of the Orvietan populace.