2021 ICMA Stahl Lecture 2 – Bissera Pentcheva

Image, Chant, and Imagination at Ste. Foy in Conques 
Bissera Pentcheva, Professor of Art and Art History at Stanford University

Online, 12 November 2021, 1330 MT (13 November 2021, 0730 AEDT)

Medieval images decorating the interior and exterior of the ecclesiastical spaces were experienced in a sustained aural atmosphere of chanted prayer, recitation, and song. It is this sonic envelope and more specifically the melodic form and content of what is being sung that is rarely explored together with the visual, despite the fact that the music shaped how the figural was perceived. This talk engages the late-tenth, early eleventh-century music for the Office of Ste. Foy and places it in relation with the cult statue and the relief images in the church at Conques. How does the melody shape the meaning of the words; how does chant transform the perception of the architectural space and its images; how does music invite the imagination to conjure up the presence of the saint? Answering these questions will gradually uncover the multisensorial immersive atmosphere, created by the medieval liturgy, which led to a transcendence of subject and object into a mystical union.

This lecture is funded by the International Center of Medieval Art as the second Stahl Lecture 2021. It is hosted by the Arizona State University School of Art and co-sponsored by the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Design School, and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Advance registration is required HERE.