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Thursday, April 5, 6:30 – 8pm

Olivuccio di Ciccarello. The Madonna of Humility with the Temptation of Eve (detail), 1400. © The Cleveland Museum of Art, Holden Collection 1916.795

Free; reservations required

About the Talk

For the 23rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Art, Megan Holmes, a professor of art history at the University of Michigan, will deliver the keynote lecture, “Obdurate Objects and Methodological Challenges: Interpreting Scratches on Italian Panel Paintings as Indices of Period Reception.”

The art historian’s “tool kit” has both frustrating limitations and unexpected potential when applied to unconventional representational materials—in this case, the markings on Italian panel paintings resulting from intentional scratching by their late-medieval and early-modern viewers. While these interventions are typically characterized as vandalism or iconoclasm, physical and textual evidence suggests a rich reception history that reveals complex cultural understandings about the activation, efficacy, and power of visual images in Italy circa 1250–1550.  


Megan Holmes, professor of art history at the University of Michigan