2022 International Congress on Medieval Studies, VIRTUAL, Virtual conference
IAS-Sponsored Session

Drawing Together and Setting Apart: Pulpits and Screens in Medieval Italy, II: Forms and Functions

Monday, May 9th at 11am

Organizer: Ludovico Geymonat, Louisiana State University

Organizer: Nancy Wu, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Emerita)

This session will focus mostly on examples from Mendicant churches, expanding the discussion to larger issues concerning digital reconstructions (Giles) and the use of screens/pulpits for the display of relics (Lai) and for the performance of religious dramas (Debby). The digital reconstruction of the pulpit at the Dominican church of Santa Caterina at Pisa gives Giles an opportunity to demonstrate the use of some of the latest technologies in scanning and modelling medieval architecture. His paper also promises to provide a visual chronology of the screen from the time of its liturgical implementation to its destruction in the sixteenth century. Lai surveys primary documents such as chronicles and ledgers to discuss the use of pulpits and screens for the display of relics. Placed both indoors and outdoors, the examples discussed are scattered throughout northern and central Italy. Finally, Debby will demonstrate how pulpits played an integral part in enlivening the church interior — the performative aspect of preaching, the incorporation of pulpits during liturgical dramas, and the association between the often dramatic decoration of pulpits and theatrical performances.


Lucas Giles
Reconstructing the Pulpitum at Santa Caterina in Pisa: Tramezzo Studies, GPR Technology and Digital Humanities
Alberto Lai
Showing Relics: the Use of Pulpits and Screens to Display Sacred Relics in Medieval Ital
Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby
Preaching, Performance, and the Italian Pulpit
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