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Patronage and Reception of Medieval Churches in 14th-Century Cyprus
March 3, 2014 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Solmsen Fellow (2013-2014)
Art and Art History, University of New Mexico
The modern image of the country of Cyprus is one that is fraught with banking crises, communities divided, and war. While war was ever-present in medieval Cyprus, the image of that island kingdom was drastically different. The intervening centuries have pushed scholars of the middle ages towards specific studies of Byzantine Art on Cyprus, and the relationship of Cyprus to Western Europe and the Crusades. These two areas of study are obviously limiting and new research, which digs under the layers of modern political discourse and seeks information from the monuments and documents of the middle ages broadens our understanding of the island kingdom and its visual culture. The evidence (architecture, sculpture, paintings, documents) reveals a remarkable multiplicity of agents and audiences. Through an examination of the patrons and audiences of ecclesiastical monuments in the two major cities of Cyprus, Nicosia, and Famagusta, we will see the complexity of a shifting definition of identities within the medieval Mediterranean and discuss the difficulties of defining a medieval Cypriot visual culture.
Justine M. Andrews is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of New Mexico. She has published on the art and architecture of Medieval Cyprus, as well as on illuminated Books of Job in the Medieval Mediterranean. Her research interests include cross-cultural interaction in the Medieval Mediterranean, the artistic legacy of the Crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean, and illuminated manuscripts from Byzantium. She is currently co-curating an exhibition of Byzantine illuminated manuscripts titled: East Meets West: Byzantine Illumination at the Cultural Crossroads for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.