Professor Kopta chairs panel on Venice, Materiality, and Byzantium at ICMS

Translatio of the body of Saint Mark to Venice, restored 13th century mosaic, Porta di Sant’Alipio, San Marco, Venice

Professor Joseph Koptawill co-chair (with Dr. Brad Hostetlerof Kenyon College) the double session, “Venice, Materiality, and the Byzantine World” at the 53rdInternational Congress on Medieval Studies, May 10–13, 2018, at the Medieval Institute of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The sessions are sponsored by the Italian Art Society.

The Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Symposium leading to the 2010 publication of San Marco, Byzantium, and the Myths of Venice introduced new perspectives on Byzantine and Venetian visual and material culture that extended Otto Demus’s survey of Saint Mark’s Basilica. The authors’ application of more recent approaches—such as the social function of spolia, the act of display, the construction of identity, and cultural hybridity—brought fresh analyses to a complex and richly decorated monument.

These two panels seek to expand this methodological discourse by taking into account questions related to materials, materiality, and intermediality between Venice and Byzantium. The arrival of material culture from the Byzantine world to Venice as gifts, spoils, or ephemera during the centuries surrounding the Fourth Crusade allowed for both appropriation and conceptual transformation of material culture. In light of the renewal in the interest of Venice’s Byzantine heritage, this panel seeks to reflect on the interaction of material culture between la Serenissima and the Byzantine world, especially during the eleventh through fifteenth centuries. Topics are wide-ranging, including, but not limited to: issues of reception and cultural translation; changing concepts of preciousness; different valuation of materials between Venice and Byzantium; the fluctuating simulation of material visual effects; the transformation of Byzantine objects incorporated into Venetian frames; intermedial dialogue between Byzantine and Venetian art; and the process and technique of manufacture of works between Byzantium and Venice. Some points of departure includes: the building of San Marco itself; Byzantine objects in the Treasury; Byzantine manuscripts included as part of the Cardinal Bessarion gift to the Republic; and issues raised as a result of recent conservation projects.

Participants include:

Justin Greenlee (University of Virginia), “The Staurothekeof Basilios Bessarion as a Weapon for Crusade”

Ana Munk (University of Zagreb), “Sacer Lapisin Andrea Dandolo’s Program for the Baptistery of San Marco”

Mark H. Summers (University of Wisconsin-Madison), “Material Meanings: Islamic Rock Crystal from Constantinople to Venice”

Danai Thomaidis (Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice), “Byzantine Icons in Venetian Piety: Medium – Message – Fruition from the East to the West”

Galina Tirnanic (Oakland University), “The Triumphal Gateway of Venice: Columns on the Piazzetta di San Marco”

John Witty (Emory University), “The Santa Chiara Polyptych: A Trecento Translation of a Hybrid Luxury Aesthetic”