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Medieval Memoria Research


2 - 4 November 2017
Lisbon, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

International Congress: Souls of Stone. Funerary Sculpture: from Creation to Musealization

The Institute of Medieval Studies and the IHA (Instituto de História da Arte) of the Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, along with the Centro de Investigação e Estudos em Belas Artes of the Faculdade de Belas Artes of the Universidade de Lisboa and in collaboration with the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon, are organizing the International Congress “Souls of Stone. Funerary Sculpture: from Creation to Musealization”.

Funerary sculpture is definitely a precious source for the understanding of the Middle Ages. This can be observed in the light of a series of studies and projects produced in the last decades by the international scientific community. Those researches, belonging to different domains and representing various methodological approaches, are encouraging the reconsideration of some traditional points of view on the medieval times. The extent, the relevance and the potential of this field of research is therefore becoming very evident. In fact, funerary sculpture can provide a privileged window to the observation of some realities, which are difficult to access through other means and sources. Medieval tombs are testimonies of specific characters and processes; they materialize particular ways of thinking and intentions; they reveal the complexity of some concepts and ideologies, as that of the interactions between body and soul in the afterlife. Therefore, the funerary monuments present a continuous challenge to the scholar. They are, simultaneously, the result of spiritual aspirations and earthly expectations, an aesthetic product and a symbolic device, but also the place where to exhibit the concrete shape of the body (which is incorruptible and lays down at the top of the chest), while the gracefulness of the soul is manifested in stone reliefs, keeping the individual suspended in limbo, in a certain way. This complexity of the sepulchre, understood as an artistic, aesthetic, spiritual, historical, anthropological, sociological and cultural artefact, implies a true and authentic interdisciplinarity, which is one of this congress’ main foci.

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Languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish. For additional information, registration forms, and the soon-to-be-released programme visit the website of the congress.