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WOMENART Résumé de rapport

Project ID: 263036
Financé au titre de: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Pays: Spain

Final Report Summary - WOMENART (Reassessing the Roles of Women as "Makers" of Medieval Art and Architecture)

This project has successfully proposed a renewed way of framing the debate around the history of medieval art and architecture: while recognizing the real limits to which women were subject during the Middle Ages, we demonstrated that their importance within the history of art has been undervalued. Our research brings to the fore their roles as patrons and facilitators, producers and artists, conceivers and builders, owners and recipients, within specific social and political contexts, including their interactions and collaborations (or confrontations) with men. Our integral approach to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish women has placed our topic at the research frontier for medieval art history, contributing to the enhancement of scientific knowledge at the European level and addressing issues of gender that are of cardinal interest to the EU.

Over the course of the project, we produced three major publications, with contributors that included team members and other international scholars:
1), Therese Martin, ed., Reassessing the Roles of Women as ‘Makers’ of Medieval Art and Architecture, 2 vols., Leiden, 2012. Paperback edition, 2015.
2), Julie Harris, ed., Women’s Creativity and the Three Faiths of Medieval Iberia, special issue, Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies 6 (2014).
3), Therese Martin, ed., ‘Me fecit’. Making Medieval Art (History), special issue, Journal of Medieval History vol. 42, no. 1 (2016).

Beyond these publications, the team produced an additional five books, two completed dissertations, and forty-three peer-reviewed articles or book chapters, with three team members winning prizes for their publications:

1), Stefanie Seeberg, Textile Bildwerke im Kirchenraum, Leinenstickereien im Kontext mittelalterlicher Raumausstattung aus dem Prämonstratenserinnenkloster Altenberg/Lahn, Petersberg, 2014: Offermann-Hergartenpreis 2015 (Preis der Philosophischen Fakultät der Universität zu Köln).
2), Glaire D. Anderson, “Sign of the Cross: Contexts for the Ivory Cross of San Millán de la Cogolla,” Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies: Bishko Prize for best article in medieval Iberian history, 2014.
3), Therese Martin, “Crouching Crossbowmen in Early Twelfth-Century Sculpture: A Nasty, Brutish, and Short(-Lived) Iconography,” Gesta: Bishko Prize for best article in medieval Iberian history, 2015.

By bringing together all our strengths and expertise, we as a team were able to galvanize our intellectual possibilities and open the subject to an enquiry at once broader and deeper than any scholar could achieve alone. The impact of our work has already been powerful: we have succeeded in creating a shift not just in the way women's roles in the production of medieval art and architecture are addressed, but in the way the overall making of art is discussed. Throughout this project, we used the term ‘makers of art’ as a shift in language intended to remove us from a comfortable place where the commonly used terms—artist, patron, owner—carry with them preconceived notions about the individuals who fulfilled those roles. Among these assumptions is that men were more likely to be artists and patrons while women were recipients and owners; while this was undoubtedly the case at times, as a starting point, it tends to be deterministic. Our ultimate goal was one of integration: in shedding light on the many varied and significant roles of women in the medieval arts, we have contributed to the reintegration of their stories into the common narratives of art history.

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