Thursday Seminar: "Flesh and Fabric: The Raiment of the Passion in a Crucifixion by Pietro Lorenzetti"


Thursday, May 19, 2022, 6:00pm to 7:30pm


I Tatti / Zoom
detail from a small Crucifixion panel ((Harvard Art Museums 1943.119)

Speaker: Jeffrey F. Hamburger (I Tatti/Harvard University)

First attributed to Pietro Lorenzetti by Bernard Berenson in 1923, the small Crucifixion, once the central panel of a triptych, at the Harvard Art Museums (1943.119) has never received the attention it deserves on account of its unique iconography, most notably, the inclusion at its summit, just below the peak of its pediment, of a half-length angel who holds in his concealed right hand a white tunic, complete with sleeves and neckline, embroidered in gold, and stained with rivulets of blood. The panel’s exceptional imagery as well as its pictorial implications form the focus of Prof. Hamburger’s presentation. Doubling as the eschatological bridal gown, not only of Christ, but also, in time, of the Clarissan nuns to whom this painting was presented, the blood-stained garment, which renders present the flesh of Christ’s resurrected body, defines itself as a luminous membrane, and Pietro’s panel as a permeable veil, mediating between this life and the next.


The Kuno Francke Professor of German Art and Culture at in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, Prof. Hamburger is a specialist in the art of the Middle Ages, with a focus on medieval manuscript illumination. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society as well as a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, he has published extensively on the art, religion and literature of the Middle Ages. Recent publications include Color in Cusanus (2021), The Birth of the Author: Pictorial Prefaces in Glossed Books of the Twelfth Century (2021), Imperial Splendor: The Art of the Book in the Holy Roman Empire, 800–1500 (2021), and Diagramming Devotion (2020).


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