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Murray Seminars

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The Murray Seminars on Medieval and Renaissance Art present current research by emerging and established scholars. Seminars are held three times a term and take place at 5pm in the School of Historical Studies (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in The Keynes Library (Room 114), unless stated otherwise. 

Talks finish by 5.50pm to allow those with other commitments to leave, and are then followed by discussion and refreshments. These talks are supported by the Murray Bequest in memory of the department's founder Peter Murray, and are open to all. Please follow booking links to register online if you wish to attend. If you wish to join our mailing list, please contact .







  • Cecily Hennessy on ‘Mary Magdalene in Byzantium’ - A paper which examined the Early Christian and Byzantine imagery of Mary, exploring some eastern texts that contributed to forming her identity and endeavoured to understand why the two traditions, east and west, were so distinct.
  • Zoe Opacic ‘From Sacroscape to Cityscape: Images of Central European Towns in Late Medieval Sources’ 
  • Kim Woods on Speaking Sculptures - Many statues and works of sculpture made in the late Gothic and Renaissance period are represented with mouth open, as if caught in a mid-utterance. These ‘speaking sculptures’ have received remarkably little comment from art historians. What are these speaking statues meant to be saying? And what, as viewers, are we meant to ‘hear’ and respond? The aim of this paper is to begin to unravel this illusion of speech and the agency it implies.
  • Robert Maniura on Decoration and Innovation in 15-century Iberian artManiura considered the output of Jaume Huguet, the most prominent painter in Barcelona in the later fifteenth century, whose elaborate and heavily gilded works conspicuously depart from these familiar patterns. He argues that his paintings reveal a sensitivity to and creative exploitation of his materials every bit as noteworthy as that of his more famous contemporaries.
  • Dorigen Caldwell on Seeking Immortality in Cinquecento Rome - Caldwell examined debates in literary and artistic circles in mid sixteenth-century Rome around portraiture and the encapsulation of the individual. Taking as her point of departure a portrait bust of Pope Paul III, she focused in particular on the highly erudite circles which gathered around the Farnese court, exploring themes of paragone, materiality and the perpetuation of memory.
  • Joanna Cannon on redating the Frescoes by the Maestro di San Francesco at AssisiCannon revisited her often-quoted article of 1982 to argue against some of her earlier conclusions, and to explore the implications of this change of mind. Were the Franciscans always the artistic innovators in thirteenth-century Italy, or did the Dominicans sometimes lead the way?