Laura Weigert will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Tuesday, October 16, from 12:15 to 1:15 pm. Her talk is entitled “French Visual Culture and the Making of Medieval Theater.”

In this talk Weigert will discuss her book French Visual Culture and the Making of Medieval Theater, which revives what was unique, strange, and exciting about the variety of performances that took place in the realms of the French kings and Burgundian dukes. It brings together a wealth of visual artifacts and practices to explore this tradition of late medieval performance located not in “theaters” but in churches, courts, and city streets and squares. By stressing the theatricality rather than the realism of fifteenth-century visual culture and the spectacular rather than the devotional nature of its effects, Weigert offers a new way of thinking about late medieval representation and spectatorship. She shows how images that ostensibly document medieval performance instead revise its characteristic features to conform to a play-going experience that was associated with classical antiquity. This retrospective vision of the late medieval performance tradition contributed to its demise in sixteenth-century France and promoted assumptions about medieval theater that continue to inform the contemporary disciplines of art and theater history.

Laura Weigert is Professor of Art History at Rutgers University. She specializes in Northern European art of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance and has taught at the University of Nantes and Reed College. In 2015 she was an invited Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Her research has been supported by grants from the NEH, the Fulbright Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society; she has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, a Samuel Kress Fellow at CASVA, and an invited researcher at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art. She has published on manuscript illumination, prints, panel painting, textiles, and the ephemeral arts of performance. Her books include Weaving Sacred Stories: Narratives of Saints and the Performance of Clerical Identity (Cornell, 2004) and French Visual Culture and the Making of Medieval Theater(Cambridge, 2015) and her articles have appeared in Art History, The Oxford Art Journal, Gesta, Studies in Iconography, The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, EMF: Studies in Early Modern France, and in numerous collections of essays. She has served as President of the Consortium for Teaching the Middle Ages (TEAMS) and is currently Chair of the Art Bulletin Editorial Board and Director of Medieval Studies at Rutgers.