10 Medieval and Renaissance Things to See at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Chest belonging to Elisabetta Gonzaga, 1488. Mantua or Urbino, Italy.

My latest visit to the Victoria and Albert Musuem: 10 Medieval and Renaissance Things to See at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Northern Renaissance? Burgundy And Netherlandish Art In Fifteenth-Century Europe

El Descendimiento, by Rogier van der Weyden (1400-1464)

Everyone who has studied medieval or modern history knows that the periodisation of the eras on either side of the Renaissance provides much food for thought. This contribution aims irst to address the usefulness of the widespread concept of the ‘Northern Renaissance’.

Amending the Ascetic: Community and Character in the Old English Life of St. Mary of Egypt

Saint Mary of Egypt - British library

Among the most eligible saints for such treatment, Mary of Egypt deserves particular consideration: her popularity is evidenced by over a hundred extant Greek manuscripts of her Life and her uniquely prominent position in the Lenten liturgical cycle in the Eastern Church.

Living la vita apostolica: Life expectancy and mortality of nuns in late-medieval Holland

Medieval Nuns

Living la vita apostolica: Life expectancy and mortality of nuns in late-medieval Holland Jaco Zuijderduijn (Utrecht University ) Centre for Global Economic History: Utrecht University, Working Paper No. 44, June (2013) Abstract Data on vital events of medieval women are extremely scarce. We use a dataset based on a necrology of nuns in late-medieval Holland […]

CONFERENCES: Renaissance Drinking Culture and Renaissance Drinking Vessels

Renaissance Tazza cup

This paper took a closer look at Renaissance drinking vessels and drinking culture and examined the types of vessels commonly used in Italy and the Netherlands during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Herb-workers and Heretics: Beguines, Bakhtin and the Basques


During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the word beguine was used by women to identify themselves as members of a wide-spread and influential women’s movement. The same term was used by their detractors and overt opponents, with the highly charged negative meaning of “heretic.” The etymology of the term “beguine” and ultimate origins of the movement have never been satisfactorily explained.

Dutch medieval bone and antler combs


Bone and antler combs are common finds in medieval northern europe. Two major types occur in the netherlands: the composite comb, usually made of antler, and the longbone comb.

Transformations of Print into Painting: A Case Study of the Context of Prints in an Illustrated Brigittine Psalter

Brigittine Psalter

This liturgical psalter raises issues of the production and consumption of religious texts in convents in the northern Netherlands.

New Insights from the Metal Detected Brooches of Early Medieval Frisia

Early medieval Frisian brooch

My research undertook the bulk analysis of over 600 copper alloy brooches by hhXRF and onsite morphological analysis at repositories in the north of Holland.

Into the frontier: medieval land reclamation and the creation of new societies. Comparing Holland and the Po Valley, 800-1500

Medieval peasants - agriculture

In the paper it is shown that medieval land reclamation led to the emergence of two very divergent societies, characterised by a number of different configurations; (a) power and property structure, (b) modes of exploitation, (c) economic portfolios, and (d) commodity markets.

The Anna Selbdritt in late medieval Germany : meaning and function of religious image

Anna Selbdritt

The Anna Selbdritt in late medieval Germany : meaning and function of religious image Virginia Nixon Doctor of Philosophy, Concordia University, School of Graduate Studies, Montreal, Canada (1997) Abstract In the decades between 1480 and 1520 the production of images of Saint Anne with the Virgin and Child increased in Germany and the Netherlands in […]

Elite and government in medieval Leiden

Medieval City

The development of Leiden’s 61ite is traced up to 1420. The siege of the city in that year and the assumption of power by Jan van Beieren resulted in important changes in the urban government: the faction of the Hoeken finally lost ascendancy and the viscount of Leiden ceased to have control over the city’s administration.

Tales of tricks and greed and big surprises: Laymen’s views of the law in Dutch oral narrative

Fox - trickster (animals)

I will be looking at folktales, i.e. popular, international, and (mostly) orally transmitted narratives, varying from traditional genres like fairy tales, fables, and legends to modern genres like jokes, funny riddles and urban legends.

Bawdy badges and the Black Death : late medieval apotropaic devices against the spread of the plague

Vulva pilgrimage badge

Owing to the fact that historians generally view the late medieval period as an “age of faith,” the existence ofthese remarkable objects raises some fundamental questions about the exact socio-religious nature ofmedieval culture. The primary questions, however, that need answering are: when, where, and for whom were the badges produced, and perhaps most importantly, why.

Adventures far from home: Hanseatic trade with the Faroe Islands

Hanseatic Cities

he voyage to Iceland, now a major destina- tion, took about four weeks (gardiner & mehler 2007, 403; Krause 2010, 150). The Faroe Islands are situated more or less in the middle of that distance and provided a fine stop-over. The islands were an additional market for their trade business and in case of storms offered a safe and most welcome shelter.

Tasting Histories Lecture: “Seasonal and Local Dining in the Middle Ages”

Medieval Food at Banquet

This was a paper given at the University of Toronto by Yale Professor, Paul freedman, on food during the Middle Ages and Early Modern period.

Kissing Images, Unfurling Rolls, Measuring Wounds, Sewing Badges and Carrying Talismans: Considering Some Harley Manuscripts through the Physical Rituals they Reveal

Old books

Christianity as practised in the late Middle Ages demanded physical rituals. These rituals encompassed great public displays, such as processions around town walls and through churches, led by clergy dressed in ceremonial garb; smaller public displays, such as priests’ performances of Mass; and actions by the laity, including small private rituals involving a votary with his book and perhaps an image.

The Art of the Science of Renaissance Painting

Van Eyck - Arnolfini Marriage (1434)

During this study we began to examine paintings for the presence of optical artifacts that could serve as supporting scientific evidence for these visual observations. Here we briefly describe some of the scientific evidence contained within three paintings that demonstrate lenses were in use by certain artists to project images as early as c1425. We present only a general discussion here, and refer interested readers to previous publications for details.

The Elusive Netherlands. The question of national identity in the Early Modern Low Countries on the Eve of the Revolt

Philip the Bold - Burgundian court

The identity of the Low Countries was also muddied by contemporary debates about the correspondence between ‘Gallia’ and France and between ‘Germania’ and ‘Deutschland’.

The Medieval Origins of Capitalism in the Netherlands

Medieval Netherlands

One of the fiercest and most productive historical debates – and one of the most ideology-laden – has been that on the transition from feudalism to capitalism.1 Although interest in this specific debate and its ideological implications seems to be waning now, the importance of reconstructing and explaining long-term changes in economy and society is still clear.

Guilds in late medieval Flanders: myths and realities of guild life in an export-oriented environment

Medieval guild 2

The opinion of historians on the social and economic role played by guilds in late medieval and early modern cities has changed considerably throughout the last century.

The German Reformation and Medieval Thought and Culture

Martin Luther

After Luther’s death in 1546, it was said, the seeds mostly fell dormant in Germany, where leaders failed to rally around the philosophical core of Luther’s message, retreating into political division and older authoritarian patterns of thought.

‘Low’ culture, laymen, and what we can learn from history

Jacob van Maerlant - Flemish poet

Historical evidence shows strong interaction between philosophy and the emancipation of the common man or the rise of popular culture in Western Europe during the late Middle Ages and Early Modernity

Symbol and Meaning in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance

Northern European Art of the Middle Ages

We all know that twentieth-century scholars have recovered forgotten elements of meaning from selected works of fifteenth-century northern art.

The Manuscript Context of the Middle Dutch Fabliaux

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. germ. fol. 1413, f. 225v

Busby’s conclusion with regard to Old French fabliaux might just as well apply to Middle Dutch tales: “Reading fabliaux in their manuscript context reveals an important aspect of their significance for early readers or listeners which would otherwise remain concealed.”

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