Jenny H. Shaffer will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Wednesday, September 26, from 12:15 to 1:15 pm. Her talk is entitled “The Church of Saint-Riquier: Lost Monument as Work in Progress.” Dr. Shaffer is a Visiting Fellow at Bard Graduate Center and will be in residence through October.

In this talk Shaffer explores the continuing and transforming existence of the monastic church of Saint-Riquier at Centula—an eighth-century structure gone since the twelfth century—through architectural representations of this “lost” monument. Art historical knowledge of Carolingian Centula was spurred by and predicated upon three seventeenth-century engravings of the monastery, all based on an eleventh-century drawing, also lost. The church’s prominence in scholarship—Saint-Riquier, known for its westwork, is seen as a progenitor of the medieval two-tower façade—underscores the paucity of extant Carolingian structures and the scholarly hunger for works to populate art history’s linear timeline. The engravings stand behind reconstructions of the church and inspired sporadic excavations. While the antiquarian images and medieval drawing have been elided in the narrative as intermediaries leading back to the original, they suggest multiple and divergent contexts for Saint-Riquier. In tandem with select scholarly images, Saint-Riquier materializes, not as lost, but as a work in progress, intermittently under (re)construction.

Jenny H. Shaffer is Adjunct Associate Professor of Art History at New York University School of Professional Studies/Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies. Her research centers on ways in which buildings generate and communicate layered meanings within the complex contexts of their production and reception, with a focus on early medieval architecture, and Charlemagne’s chapel at Aachen in particular. She has explored these issues in publications which include: “Picking Up the Pieces of Charlemagne’s Column Screens: The Church at Ottmarsheim, the Westbau of Essen, and the Discovery of Aachen’s Copies” (Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, 2015); “Restoring Charlemagne’s chapel: historical consciousness, material culture, and transforming images of Aachen in the 1840s” (Journal of Art Historiography, 2012); and “Letaldus of Micy, Germigny-des-Présand Aachen: Histories, Contexts, and the Problem of Likeness in Medieval Architecture” (Viator, 2006). Shaffer is currently writing a book of essays that revolves around the long and tangled lives of selected Carolingian buildings. While at Bard Graduate Center, she will be working on a chapter for this project: “The Church of Saint-Riquier: Lost Monument as Work in Progress.”