Online lectures

The Virgin’s Veil in Tuscan Painting 1250-1400: tradition and innovation

  • Monday 7 February 2022
    (5-6pm --- NB: Booking closes 48 hours before the event.)
  • Lecturer: Dr Lisa Monnas

In Tuscan art, during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, images of the Virgin and Child were transformed from stiff figures derived from Byzantine prototypes to something softer and more approachable. This paper will consider one aspect of the iconography of the Virgin during this period, namely the treatment of her head-coverings, particularly the inclusion of contemporary accessories such as wimples and gorgets, and the messages that these accessories might have conveyed to spectators. It will take as its starting point, duecento images of the Virgin Hodegetria, and end with a work of the early fifteenth century by Lorenzo Monaco, whose art has been characterised (in the title of an exhibition of his work held in Florence in 2006) as ‘A bridge from Giotto’s heritage to the Renaissance’.


Dr Lisa Monnas is an independent textile historian, with a special interest in Italian medieval and Renaissance silks and paintings. Publications include Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550 (New Haven and London Yale University Press, 2008).  She contributed to English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum, the catalogue of the exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2016-2017.

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