Maritime Civilizations & Art History Joint Book Launch Event

A Singular Mediterranean Monument:

Justinian’s Bronze Horseman and Its Global Reach

Prof. Elena N. Boeck

Department of History of Art and Architecture, DePaul University

This lecture is based on my new book, which explores seminal moments in the biography of a contested medieval monument between ca. 500 C.E and 1600 C.E. Justinian’s triumphal column was the tallest, free-standing column of the pre-modern world was crowned by the largest metal, equestrian sculpture created anywhere in the world before 1699. The Byzantine empire’s bronze horseman towered over the heart of Constantinople, assumed new identities, spawned conflicting narratives, and acquired widespread international acclaim.  Because all traces of Justinian’s column were erased from the urban fabric of Istanbul in the sixteenth century, scholars have underappreciated its astonishing agency and remarkable longevity.  Its   impact in visual and verbal culture was arguably among the most extensive of any Mediterranean monument.  Its agency can be recovered from Byzantine, Islamic, Slavic, Crusader, and Renaissance historical accounts, medieval pilgrimages, geographic, apocalyptic and apocryphal narratives, vernacular poetry, Byzantine, Bulgarian, Italian, French, Latin, and Ottoman illustrated manuscripts, Florentine wedding chests, Venetian paintings, and Russian icons.  This lecture discusses some of the evidence analyzed in the book.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 14:15