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Art and Devotional Practices in the Byzantine Village: The Long View

Art and Devotional Practices in the Byzantine Village: The Long View

Paper by Sharon E. J. Gerstel

Given at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City on October 9, 2018

In recent years, the art of the Byzantine village—particularly that of the Late Byzantine village—has come under increasing scrutiny. In addition to manifesting local religious practices and liturgical rites, the art of the village is also intimately tied to the agricultural calendar and to life-cycle rituals. The small churches of the Byzantine countryside provide precious information about the lives and devotional practices of men and women who, for the most part, have remained invisible.

Indeed, many medieval village churches continue to function as the center of modern-day family life and ritual. In this talk, Gerstel will look at devotional art in several Greek villages and will also discuss how engaging with art in the village may provide opportunities for medievalists to move beyond the strict chronological confines of our field to take a more activist stance in approaching buildings and their communities.

Sharon E. J. Gerstel is Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also serves as Acting Director of the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture and Associate Director of the Center of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS).

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