Cultural Contributions of Medieval Scribe Focus of Lawrence University Address

Medieval art scholar Lawrence Nees will examine the life and cultural contributions of Godescalc, a talented, but largely unknown, 8th-century scribe of King Charlemagne, in a Lawrence University address.

Nees, professor of art history at the University of Delaware, presents “The Career of Godescalc, Artist at the Court of Charlemagne,” Thursday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Nees will trace the works of Godescalc, the “ultimate servant,” during the “cultural flowering” of Charlemagne’s reign. The presentation will focus on Godescalc’s role in the creation of numerous important works of art for Charlemagne and his circle of advisors, especially the “Godescalc Evangeliary,” a set of illuminated gospels commissioned by Charlemagne and his wife, Hildegard.

A specialist in the art of the early Middle Ages, Nees is the author of several books, including “The Gundohinus Gospels; From Justinian to Charlemagne: European Art A.D. 565-787” and “A Tainted Mantle: Hercules and the Classical Tradition at the Carolingian Court and Early Medieval Art 300-1000.” A member of the University of Delaware’s art history department since 1978, Nees earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D from Harvard University.

Nees’ appearance is supported by the William A. Chaney Lectureship, which brings distinguished speakers in the humanities to the Lawrence campus. The lectureship was established in 1999 in honor of Chaney’s retirement as the George McKendree Steele Professor of History. He was the longest serving faculty member at the time of his retirement, having taught at the college for 47 years.