CONF Jan 14, 2023

Artificial Light in Medieval Churches (online, 9 Feb 23)

Online, Feb 09, 2023
Registration deadline: Feb 9, 2023

Vladimir Ivanovici

Artificial Light in Medieval Churches between Byzantium and the West.

Alice Isabella Sullivan, Tufts University.
Vladimir Ivanovici, University of Vienna | Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, USI.

Throughout the Middle Ages, artificial illumination was used to draw attention to and enhance certain areas, objects, and persons inside Christian sacred spaces. The strategies usually found in Latin and Byzantine churches have been analyzed in recent decades. However, the cultures that developed at the crossroads of the Latin, Greek, and Slavic spheres, particularly in regions of the Balkan Peninsula and the Carpathian Mountains, have received less scholarly attention. The uses of artificial light in churches were likely shaped by aspects such as inherited practices, the imitation of other societies, as well as by local climatic, economic, and theological parameters.
Following a similar workshop that focused on natural light, which showed how uses of sunlight reveal patterns of knowledge transfer and cultural interaction between Byzantium, the West, and the Slavic world throughout the Middle Ages, this workshop hosts papers on the economy of artificial light in medieval churches with a focus on examples from Eastern Europe and other regions of the medieval world that developed at the crossroads of competing traditions. Whether innovative or inspired by the more established traditions on the margins of the Mediterranean, local customs are examined to understand how artificial light was used in ecclesiastical spaces, and how it brought together and enhanced the architecture, decoration, objects, and rituals

Thursday, 9 February 2023 (EST time)

09:00-09:15 Alice Isabella Sullivan
Welcome and Introduction

09:15-09:45 Teresa Shawcross (Princeton University)
The Influence of the Jerusalemite Miracle of Holy Light on Medieval
Sacred Space

09:45-10:15 Thomas E.A. Dale (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
The Phenomenology of Artificial and Natural Light at San Marco in Venice

10:15-10:30 (make your own) Snack / Coffee Break

10:30-11:00 Anna Adashinskaya (New Europe College Bucharest | The University of Bucharest, Center for Russian Studies)
“The Radiance of the Divine”: Lightening Iconography, Its Significance, Equipment, and Procurement in the Katholikon of Visoki Dečani Monastery

11:00-11:30 Jelena Bogdanović, Leslie Forehand, Magdalena Dragović, Dušan Danilović, Travis Yeager, Debanjana Chatterjee, Jacob Gasper, Marko Pejić, Aleksandar Čučaković, Anastasija Martinenko, Suvadip Mandal, and Charles Kerton
Modeling the Illumination of the Church at Studenica Monastery During Evening Services

11:30-12:00 Vlad Bedros (National University of Arts Bucharest)
“In thy light shall we see light”: The Interplaying of Light, Liturgical Furnishings, and Images in Moldavian Monastic Churches (15th–16th c.)

12:00-13:00 Longer Break

13:00-13:30 Vera Henkelmann (University of Erfurt | Max-Weber-Kolleg)
The Use of Artificial Light in Medieval Churches of Old Livonia – On the Relationship between Lighting, Ritual, Furnishings and Architecture

13:30-14:00 Anthony Masinton (Independent Scholar)
Lux ex Machina: Methodological Approaches to Simulating and Analyzing Light in Medieval Churches

14:00-14:30 Discussion followed by concluding remarks (Vladimir Ivanovici)


The workshop will take place on Zoom.
In order to receive the link please register in advance at:

CONF: Artificial Light in Medieval Churches (online, 9 Feb 23). In:, Jan 14, 2023 (accessed Apr 16, 2024), <>.