History of Art and Architecture

The Sense of Embodiment: Medieval Relief and the Problem of Perspective


Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 5:15am

Focusing on key examples of perspectival experimentation in monumental sculpture and painting during the later Middle Ages, Lakey’s paper sheds new light on the role of relief in the history of perspective. Using relief, medieval artists experimented with optical refinements, thus moving between two and three dimensions, between the material form of relief and the illusionistic space of the picture- forging a model for Renaissance artists to emulate.

Christopher Lakey earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009 with a dissertation titled, "Relief in Perspective: Medieval Italian Sculpture and the Rise of Optical Aesthetics." He has since served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities at Reed College and currently is an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. His article on the role of material relief in Trecento painting will appear in the Getty Research Journal in 2012.