First lecture for Pictish Arts Society

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The first lecture in the 2014/2015 season of the Pictish Arts Society will be given at Pictavia, near Brechin, by Samuel Gerace on Friday, September 19.

The title of talk is Moving Heaven on Earth: Material, Form and Function of Insular House-Shaped Shrines.

During his talk, Samuel will discuss the materiality and form of Insular house-shaped shrines.

By drawing on recent scholarship on the function of house-shaped shrines, he will re-examine their association with sarcophagi and purse-shaped reliquaries.

Using the works of Bede and Aldhelm as key sources, the exegetical importance of the Temple of Jerusalem can be seen as a key means of understanding the construction and possible function of Insular house-shrines.

He further suggests that house-shaped shrines are themselves miniature churches, expanding beyond Erhadt-Siebold’s 1935 ‘Aldhelm’s Chrismal’ article, integrating house-shaped shrines further into a more holistic image of early medieval reliquaries and chrismals.

Samuel Gerace is a second year PhD student in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Samuel completed his MSc in Art in the Global Middle Ages at the University of Edinburgh and graduated with distinction.

This global perspective influences his present PhD research, which examines the materiality, function, and movement of Insular house-shape shrines.

He is co-supervised by Dr Heather Pulliam and Dr Claudia Bolgia.

A spokesperson for the PIctish Arts Society explained: “This year, as last, our season of talks will have a slightly different timetable. As usual, they will be held on the third Friday of the month (7.00 for 7.30) but they will again run from September to November before taking a three-month break (so that speakers and members don’t have to run the gauntlet of winter travel). We will then resume in March until May.”

Doors open at Pictavia at 7 for a 7.30 p.m. start. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available before and after the talks. The talks are free to members and £2.50 to non-members.