ROBERT H. SMITH RENAISSANCE SCULPTURE IN CONTEXT SEMINAR
Wednesday 29 November 2017
Seminar Room A
Victoria and Albert Museum
"Animating Automata in the Age of the Miraculous, 1400-1600"
By Christina Neilson
Associate Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art History
Oberlin College, Ohio
Miracle-working objects were regarded as a distinct category of image during the Renaissance, singled out for their efficacy in responding to petitions by viewers, as sites of sacred intercession, and for their ability to manifest miraculous behaviour. Although most miraculous images were made by anonymous craftspeople, some were created by known artists, such as Donatello’s crucifix from Church of Santa Maria dei Servi in Padua. This paper will explore how sculptors in Europe engaged with miraculous images in creating objects with movable parts (tongues, eyes, legs, arms, etc.), approximating the miraculous in their statues, sometimes creating statues that appeared to have the capacity to come to life. By considering sculpture within this context we gain a deeper understanding of naturalism. Instead of competing with nature, very often sculptors were vying with the supernatural.
No booking is required
Research Seminars are open to all with a research interest in the field. Admission to the Museum is free and the event itself is free of charge. Please note the Museum closes at 5.45pm and late-comers will be turned away. Access to V&A Seminar Room A is via the entrance to the Research Department. To get there, go to the top of the staircase decorated with ceramic tiles that leads from the far end of the V&A Café up past the Silver Gallery (Room 70a).
Please allow at least five minutes to get to the seminar room from the Museum entrances. Alternatively enquire at the Cromwell Road entrance main desk. Please contact Sculpture enquiries ([log in to unmask]) tel: 020 7942 2140 with any questions.