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Murray Seminar: Chasing Absence: The Body of Christ and the Measures to Enter in Touch with it

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

No booking required

Part of our Murray Seminar programme on Medieval and Renaissance Art. All seminars are held at 5pm. A break at 5.50pm is followed by discussion and refreshments.

This talk by Emmanuele Lugli focuses on the singular devotion for the 'mensura Christi,' or the act of praying with objects that reproduced the height of Christ. It explores the reasons for its phenomenal success, from its diffusion in the twelfth century up to its ban in the seventeenth, and the motives for its marginalization in historical accounts today. The talk asks questions about what turns an orthodox veneration into a mere superstition, an inversion that is all the more puzzling given that the 'mensura Christi' relies on measuring, one of the methods to fight credulity. The lecture thus reconsiders the relationships of measuring practices, visual belief, and religious orders, thus contributing to discussions on representations, faith, and material studies.

This series of seminars on medieval and renaissance art is supported by the bequest established in memory of Professor Peter Murray, the Department's founder.