7 June 2018 from 15:15 to 17:00

UCMS Lecture by Vincent Debiais on the definition of silence

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Wikimedia

Organised by the Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Vincent Debiais (CRH-AHLoMA, EHESS/CNRS - Paris) will give a lecture on 'The definition of silence in medieval thought and its visual figuration'. Respondent: Dr Babette Hellemans (RUG). This lecture offers a study of the figuration of silence in medieval images and proposes a broader approach to the intellectual and formal links between silence and visual arts.

Visual recourses to signify silence

Starting from the explicit figurations of the silence that follows the opening of the seventh seal in the Book of Revelation and its visual translation in the manuscripts of the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Beatus of Liebana, the lecture considers the visual recourses deployed by medieval artists in painting, illumination and sculpture to signify the absence of sound or noise.

A sign of the unpronounceable

The perfect expression of God's infinity is an inner experience of silence and light, two images of celestial harmony and its microcosmic reflection in the faithful. Silence becomes a sign of the unpronounceable in medieval images; it also becomes a visual object articulating language and the infinite mystery of God.

Vincent Debiais. Source: YouTube (still)
Vincent Debiais. Source: YouTube (still)

About the speaker

Vincent Debiais (PhD in Medieval History in 2004) is full researcher at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (France), and faculty member of the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Anthropologie historique du long Moyen Age (AHLoMA). His PhD was published in 2009: Messages de pierre. La lecture des inscriptions dans la communication médiévale, Brepols. He completed his habilitation in 2015 (La croisée des signes. L'écriture et les images médiévales (800-1200)) and has published many articles on medieval epigraphy and art history. His current research explores the intellectual conception and uses of silence in eleventh- and twelfth-century material culture, in order to determine its plastic qualities and complex symbolic foundations in material expression.

Start date and time
7 June 2018 15:15
End date and time
7 June 2018 17:00