Mapping the Body, Mapping the World. Black Body Figurations in Hans Memling’s Painting

Mapping the Body, Mapping the World. Black Body Figurations in Hans Memling’s Painting
850 521 Sacha Zdanov
Institut royal du Patrimoine artistique, Fondation Périer-D'Ieteren

Mapping the Body, Mapping the World. Black Body Figurations in Hans Memling’s Painting

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La Fondation Périer-D’Ieteren a le plaisir de vous inviter à la présentation que donnera Melis Avkiran et qui marquera l’achèvement de ses recherches menées à l’Institut royal du Patrimoine artistique. Au cours de son séjour en Belgique, Melis a effectué une étude sur la représentation de personnages africains dans les peintures de Hans Memling. Elle partagera ses découvertes centrées plus particulièrement autour des deux paysages panoramiques du peintre conservés à Turin et à Munich.


Memling’s art production is in many ways inextricably linked to the commercial metropolis of Bruges. Not only because of its access to an international clientele, but also because of the way the artist represents the world itself in his paintings. This is probably best discussed on Memling’s two panorama paintings in Turin and Munich. Usually compared to each other due to their conception as so-called Simultanbilder, the paintings share yet another common characteristic: the representation of Black people.

Although Memling contributed significantly to the introduction of Black figures into northern European painting, an in-depth art historical study of the integration and conceptualisation of Black figures in his compositions has yet to be undertaken.

Exemplified by the Turin and Munich panels, this lecture will bring the hitherto overlooked Black figures into the focus of art historical attention. It will be shown that it is precisely through their bodily figuration that they form important elements for the interpretation of the pictorial narratives.

Melis Avkiran is a PhD candidate and lecturer at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany). She is currently visiting scholar at the Studiecentrum Vlaamse Primitieven/ KIK-IRPA, which is supported by the Fondation Périer-D’Ieteren. After her master’s degree she worked as a research associate in a research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on Pictorial Myth Reception in the Middle Ages and Modern Art Historiography’s Discourse of Periodization, under the direction of Prof. Ulrich Rehm (RUB). Her examination of Erwin Panofsky’s so-called ‘principle of disjunction’ in the context of early twentieth-century models of time and culture was published in two parts in Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft.

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Date And Time

21-06-2023 – 10:00

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