This international conference will address the question of the multiple roles played by medieval women—among them patron, artist, and owner—in the areas of art and architecture throughout western Europe and the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Works of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, pagan, and secular origins, including textiles, manuscripts, sculpture, wall paintings, and architecture (fifth to sixteenth centuries) are the subjects of interdisciplinary analysis by thirty scholars from the fields of history, art history, and archaeology. The participants, from Belgium, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States, have been chosen to demonstrate the wide range of scholarship being produced today on the topic. Whether by renowned specialists or graduate students, this research is among the most innovative on the topic of women’s involvement with medieval art and architecture. From specific case studies to a treatment of the broader subject from a theoretical or historiographical point of view, these studies demonstrate the great interest of the overall subject, not just for scholars investigating a particular time and place but because, from this range, more synthetic conclusions can be drawn for the question as a whole. While the title of the conference centers on women, the studies situate women firmly within their historical contexts by including interactions and collaborations (or confrontations) with men.
Building on the results of this conference, the studies will be published in 2012 by Brill Academic Publishers under the title Reassessing the Roles of Women as ‘Makers’ of Medieval Art and Architecture (ed. Therese Martin).