Harvard Scholar Discusses Merits of Medieval “Art” in Lawrence University Address

Harvard University scholar Jeffrey Hamburger shares his perspective on the debate of whether the Middle Ages produced “art works” or merely “images” in a William A. Chaney Lecture at Lawrence University.

Hamburger presents, “The Medieval Work of Art: Wherein the ‘Work’? Wherein the ‘Art’?,” Thursday, May 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

A specialist in medieval art of the High and later Middle Ages, especially medieval manuscript illumination and iconography, Hamburger believes the argument need not be merely a choice between image vs. art, craft vs. artistry or manual vs. liberal arts. He will discuss some of the ways in which medieval images offer a statement over and against the texts which claim to speak for them.

Focusing on some of the archetypal works of art of the Middle Ages — the temple, tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant — Hamburger will examine the ways in which those images could be used to address issues of authorship, authority and artistic invention.

A native of London, England, Hamburger joined the department of history of art and architecture at Harvard as a full professor in 2000. He previously taught at the University of Toronto and spent 11 years on the faculty at Oberlin College.

A Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, Hamburger is the author of five books, including the award-winning “Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent” and “The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany.”