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Grant number like: FEL-262948-19

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Erik Inglis
Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH 44074-1057)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019

Objects of Memory: The Medieval Art Historical Imagination

Research and writing leading to publication of a book about medieval art and attitudes of medieval people toward art, from 600 to 1500.

Art history is a modern discipline that did not exist in the Middle Ages. Despite the discipline’s absence, medieval people were passionate about old objects and buildings, asking questions we recognize as art historical: Who made that? How? What does it mean? I demonstrate that they asked these questions for varied reasons, including pride (institutional, civic or national), nostalgia, and aesthetic fascination, and answered them by examining technique, style and iconography. My synthetic account covers the period from 600 to 1500 in Europe and the Mediterranean, comparing aristocrats, commoners and monks, Christians and Jews. My book will offer a new perspective to medieval art historians, who typically concentrate their interpretive energies on our objects’ origin while neglecting their reception. This new perspective is both necessary and useful, since medieval people encountered more old objects and buildings than new ones.