Department of Art History and Art

Navigation + Search
Home / News / Save the date! October 17, 2018: Julius Fund Lecture in Medieval Art by Marc Michael Epstein, Vassar College

Save the date! October 17, 2018: Julius Fund Lecture in Medieval Art by Marc Michael Epstein, Vassar College

Posted on February 7, 2018

The Subversive Afterlife of Images: Implied, Ensuing Action in Medieval Jewish Visual Culture
In any given work of art, the view of the object at rest is a snapshot of the extant state of theological and political affairs surrounding a given image. But as soon as we notice that ensuing action is implied, that the static image we are witnessing is but a single moment in a kinetic continuum, it becomes clear that the status quo of political and theological meaning may also hint at or imply a potential or consequence that remains hidden when we merely look at the image as it is frozen in time. When we take such a view, dissident or questionably orthodox political and theological messages that are implied (but not articulated) in the image reveal themselves.

Marc Michael Epstein, Professor on the Mattie M. Paschall (1899) & Norman Davis Chair in Religion and Visual Culture at Vassar College was Vassar’s first Director of Jewish Studies. He is a graduate of  Oberlin College, received the PhD at Yale University, and did much of  his  graduate research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for, and about Jews.  His 2011 book, The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination (Yale University Press) was selected by the London Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of the year. His 2015 Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Manuscript Illumination (Princeton University Press)—a magisterial large-format survey of the genre with over 300 illustrations in brilliant digital color—was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award. His work-in-progress—from which this talk is drawn— is titled People of the Image: Jews & Art, and is scheduled to for release next year. During  the 80s, Epstein was  Director of the Hebrew Books and Manuscripts division  of Sotheby’s Judaica department, and continues to serve as consultant to various  libraries, auction houses, museums and private collectors throughout the world.
Page last modified: February 7, 2018