The Pulse of Art History - Aden Kumler 10.10.19

Mon, 09/30/2019

Thursday October 10, 2019, 4:30 pm

Goldwin Smith Hall G22

Reception to follow in the History of Art Gallery


Free and Open to the Public

Please contact or for accommodations


Title: “The gift of screws”: material un-making in the Middle Ages

Much recent work on materials and “materiality” in the Middle Ages has focused on the aesthetic and hermeneutic efficacy of materials and celebrated the entanglement of the human and the non-human. The skillful and laborious destructioninvolved in the pragmatic and conceptual handlings of materials has received comparatively less attention. Examining a selection of European medieval objects and texts as an archive of destructive acts of un-making, in this talk I explore how the forceful, even violent, working of materials involved in the making of works of art powerfully shaped medieval Christian conceptions of the economy of salvation.

Aden Kumler is Associate Professor in the Departments of Art History and Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago and an affiliated faculty member of the University of Chicago’s Medieval Studies program, Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, and Divinity School.

Her first book, Translating Truth: Ambitious Images and Religious Knowledge in Late Medieval France and England was published by Yale University Press in 2011.  Kumler has written on topics ranging from medieval impressed images of the Christ’s face, to forms of medieval abstraction, to the unsavory history of the waffle. Her new book explores the formal and conceptual triangulation of communion wafers, coins, and seals from the sixth century to the sixteenth centuries.

poster for Kumler talk, text here is all within the body of the article