Appel à communication : « White, Empty, Silent in Medieval Artistic Creation »

In Spring 2014, Art-Hist will organize two sessions at Kalamazoo International Congress on Medieval Studies (8-11 May). Art-Hist sessions this year will deal with « White, Empty, Silent in Medieval Artistic Creation ». The committee offered us two sessions: « I. Paleographical Aspects »; « II. From Sonorous White to Visual White: Silence and Its Representation ». We are expecting proposals dealing with representation of silence in Medieval art and graphic practices. The deadline for the paper proposal is September 15th.





White, Empty, Silent in Medieval Artistic Creation.

Session I: “Paleographical Aspects”.

Session II: “From Sonorous White to Visual White: Silence and Its Representation”.

The platform ART-HIST is designed as a structure of « virtual symposium » in which an original paper is proposed as support of discussions and exchanges between the members of a community of researchers invited to exchange on artistic creation from Antiquity to Modern times. A moderator assures the flow of exchanges between the participants to the virtual symposium, leads the debate and writes the synthesis of discussions. As a conclusion, the diptych article-synthesis is published on-line and becomes accessible to Internet users.

New questions regarding the ability of inscribed, engraved, sculpted or painted signs to depict absence or emptiness. This topic can be explored in even the more anachronistic connotations through three terms: whiteness, emptiness, and silence. This broad theme of research encompasses both the intellectual conception of blankness and its use in the material and artistic culture.

By ascribing blankness a real value, this call for papers do not intend to understand the terms “whiteness, emptiness, and silence” within the strict sense of their opposition (black, fullness, and the voice), as if blankness were simply a null presence, whether auditory, visual, or gestural. Instead, it returns the material status to blankness that the concept held in the Middle Ages when it was understood as a substance with numerous tangible qualities and a complex, symbolic background.

Blankness, as it is envisioned here, is above all a malleable material, invoked in order to represent things that are unrepresentable by the traditional semiotic methods of artistic creation, of literary and theological exegesis, or of material culture. The topic proposed by the Art-Hist collective will endeavor to find traces of the use and the characterization of this elusive material.

Submission guidelines

Proposals (title and abstract) have to be sent

before September, 10th

to Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (estelle[dot]ingrand[dot]varenne[at]univ-poitiers[dot]fr)

and Vincent Debiais (vincent[dot]debiais[at]univ-poitiers[dot]fr).

Papers can be published after the IMC in the framework on the Art-Hist platform

Please use the PDF form to send your proposal or send an email to this blog editor (

Papers will be evaluated by Art-hist project’s members.


Les propositions seront evalues par les membres du projet Art-hist ; conformement aux objectifs de la plateforme, les textes seront evalues pour leur capacite a créer le debat intellectuel et a favoriser l’echange entre enseignants, chercheurs et etudiants.

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