Sacred Arts: Byzantine Materiality



Version 3

Popular descriptions of Byzantium often emphasize the mystical and immaterial while overlooking the mediating role of matter implied by the Christian belief in the incarnation. At the same time, scholars have historically prioritized questions of form, iconography, and meaning in their study of Byzantine art and architecture. But as technology makes the human experience ever more digital and effectively immaterial, scholars across numerous disciplines—including Byzantine studies—have begun reconsidering the significance of matter and materiality.

“Byzantine Materiality” is a two-part interdisciplinary event of the Sacred Arts Initiative at St. Vladimir’s Seminary that explores matter, materials, and materiality in Byzantine art and culture. It aims to examine material strategies of objects, makers, and users; the agency and affective properties of materials and objects in sacred, political, and other social contexts; Byzantine depictions and descriptions of matter in images and texts (including poetry and hymnography, rhetoric, theology, etc.); and sensual/embodied experiences of the sacred.

Scholars from a wide range of fields are invited to participate, including but not limited to: art and architectural history, archeology, liturgical studies, musicology and sound studies, theology and philosophy, history, and others.

A call for papers is forthcoming.