OSHMAN HALL, MCMURTRY BUILDING
This talk focuses on the singular devotion for the 'mensura Christi,' or the act of praying with objects that reproduced the height of Christ. It explores the reasons for its phenomenal success, from its diffusion in the twelfth century up to its ban in the seventeenth, and the motives for its equally extraordinary absence in historical accounts today. The talk asks questions about what turns an orthodox veneration into a mere superstition, an inversion that is all the more puzzling given that the 'mensura Christi' relies on measuring, one of the methods to fight credulity. The lecture thus reconsiders the relationship of measuring practices and visual belief while assessing the validity of 'trans-figuration' as an art historical concept, thus contributing to discussions on representations, faith, and material studies.
Emanuele Lugli teaches and writes about art, architecture and visual culture in medieval and early modern Europe, with a particular emphasis on Mediterranean trade, technology, and intellectual connections. His theoretical concerns include questions of scale and labor, the history of measurements, notions of precision and vagueness, the making of fashion and the fabrication of networks.