January 2019

"Let there be light" - Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages

Welcome to The Arts Society Pewsey Vale
Monday, January 14, 2019 - 19:30
Bouverie Hall
North Street Pewsey SN9 5EQ

Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages

With the lecturer Janet Robson, we look at medieval ideas about beauty, and how these affected the aesthetics of art. Medieval aesthetics developed within the framework of Christian theology. God created the world in his own image, and so all material beauty was believed to be but a shadow of the divine, ideal beauty. The concept of God as Light had the most powerful impact, with the most desirable qualities in works of art being brightness, brilliance and lustre, the ability to reflect and create light. Hence the prevalence of reflective or translucent materials such as gold, gemstones and glass, bronze and highly polished marble, and the use of gilding and punchwork in panel paintings.


Dr Janet Robson

An independent art historian with a BA in History from UCL (1980), an MA in Early Sienese Painting and a PhD in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art (1997 & 2001). Has over a decade of lecturing and teaching experience, including summer schools and public programmes, for the Courtauld, Birkbeck (University of London) and Christie's Education, as well as private study groups. She has published extensively on thirteenth and fourteenth-century Italian art. The Making of Assisi: the Pope, the Franciscans and the Painting of the Basilica , her book on the frescoes of the Upper Church of San Francesco in Assisi (co-written with Donal Cooper) was published in August 2013 by Yale University Press. She has also published numerous book chapters, essays and articles in journals including the Burlington Magazine, Apollo and Art Bulletin. Has travelled and studied extensively in Italy, having held research fellowships at the British School at Rome and at Villa I Tatti (Harvard University) in Florence, and now divides her time between Assisi and London.