Conferences & Lectures - ICMS

2019 International Congress on Medieval Studies

Date:
Time:
Location: Kalamazoo, MI

The 14th-century Painted Ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte-Steri in Palermo: 3 Linked Sessions

The restoration of the 14th-century wooden ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte—known as Steri—began in September 2017. The outstanding interweaving of decorative and narrative images, that includes courtly Arthurian romance, Carolingian and classical tales, and Biblical allegories, is being brought back to life. The ceiling was crafted between 1377 and 1380, as attested by the inscription that runs along two sides of the ceiling between beams and lacunars, in which the name of the patron is also mentioned: the powerful and noble ruler of Palermo—Manfredi Chiaromonte (d. November 1391). The surface area of the wooden ceiling measures 23 x 8 meters. The iconography is displayed uninterrupted on the three sides of the 24 beams and on the 100 coffered lacunars. After the fall of the Chiaromonte family, the palace was first occupied by King Martin I, the Humane (29 July 1356 – 31 May 1410), then by the Viceroys of Aragon, and the House of Bourbon. Between 1601 and 1782 it became the Palace of the Inquisition and later the halls of the palace were used as the Court of Appeal. Today the building is home to the rectorate of the University of Palermo. The three linked sessions seek to be a fruitful occasion to shed new light on the ceiling of the Sala Magna in Palazzo Chiaromonte-Steri as well as other medieval painted ceilings in the Mediterranean.

Sessions Sponsored by the Italian Art Society

Session Title: Session I: Narrating power, Showing Chivalry: For a Visual Cultural History of Late Medieval Sicily
Sangren 1710
Friday May 10, 10am-11:30am
Organizer: Licia Buttà, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona
Presider: Maud Pérez-Simon, Univ. de Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle
Speakers/Papers:
Patrizia Sardina, Univ. degli studi di Palermo, "The Dames of the Chiaromonte Family between Image and Reality"
Licia Buttà, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona, “'Speculum Principum': biblical exempla and composite iconography in the painted ceiling of the Sala Magna at the Chiaromonte Palace in Palermo"
Kristen Streahle, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, "When Tristan sails south: Trecento Sicilian workshops and the creation of ekphrastic narrative experience"

Session Title: Session II: The Sala Magna’s Ceiling in Context: Medieval Painted Ceilings in the Mediterranean Xth-XIVth century
Sangren 1710
Friday May 10, 1:30pm- 3pm
Organizer: Licia Buttà, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona
Presider: Vera Segre, Univ. de Lausanne
Speakers/Papers:
Lev Kapitaikin, Tel Aviv Univ., "Distanced Visions of Starry Palaces and Heavenly Ceilings in Islamic Mediterranean from the Tenth to Thirteenth Century"
Maria del Mar Valls Fusté, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona, "Behind the imaginary of painted ceilings from the Kingdom of Valencia: seeking links between sense, space and context"
Maud Pérez-Simon, Univ. de Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle, "Text and images in medieval painted ceilings"

Session Title: Session III: The Sala Magna’s Ceiling in Context: Medieval Painted Ceilings in XVth century Italy
Sangren 1710
Friday May 10, 3:30pm-5pm
Organizer and Presider: Licia Buttà, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona
Speakers/Papers:
Roberta Aglio, Biblioteca e Museo del Seminario Vescovile di Cremona, "Circulation and transmission of models in the Lombard ceilings during the late Middle Age and the Renaissance"
Vera Segre, Univ. de Lausanne, "Classical world, chivalric epic and Christian Virtues in a XVth century painted ceiling under the Sforza Duchy"


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