April 5 – Matthew Milliner

The Workshop on Late Antiquity and Byzantium is pleased to announce its next meeting.

Matthew Milliner will present “A Madonna of the Future: Rethinking the Afterlife of Icons.”

Echoing Nicholae Iorga’s Byzance après Byzance, the art historical phrase “afterlife of icons” is intended to counter the assumption that the influence of Byzantine icons ended in 1453. The term afterlife, however, implies death, and is therefore ill suited to charting the vibrant life of Byzantine icons from the fifteenth century to the present. After examining its historical beginnings, this paper explores one particular Byzantine icon’s ubiquity in Renaissance painting, popular visual culture, and contemporary art. Replacing afterlife, an alternate biological metaphor emerges: Byzantium as a womb for the embryonic development of icons, leading to the violent birth pangs of 1453, after which the life of an icon actually begins.

Please join us on Tuesday, April 5th, at 4:30 pm in CWAC 152.

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