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Santiago Beckons: Artist and Scholars on the Pilgrimage Road

This year marks the holy year of the city Santiago de Compostela, when the Feast Day of Saint James the Greater—July 25—falls on a Sunday. This program revisits the magnificent Romanesque structure with a virtual presentation reconstructing the Romanesque Cathedral, talks, and a musical feast featuring pieces from the famed Codex Calixtinus, performed by the group Lionheart.

Professor Janice Mann broadens the discussion around the Cathedral to include the scholars and artists drawn to the pilgrimage route through the modern and contemporary centuries. Exquisite examples of art grew alongside the pilgrimage road since the journey's inauguration—Romanesque churches, decorative arts, illustrated manuscripts like the codex calixtinus. However, it was the art of oral poetry, the grassroots creation and telling of tales that combined heroism and holiness, that first framed the pilgrimage as a site of creativity in scholarly discourse. Mann focuses on the early twentieth-century storytelling around the pilgrimage, especially on Georgina Goddard King's art historical travel book The Way of Saint James (1911), and the work of Arthur Kingsley Porter. Artists, scholars, early and contemporary pilgrims, and all who are drawn to the Cathdedral share in a unique experience that merges the deeply personal with broader communities.

Janice Mann, Samuel H. Kress Professor, Department of Art and Art History, Bucknell University; introduced by Nancy Wu, Museum educator, The Cloisters

Learn more about pilgrimage in medieval Europe:

Learn more about Romanesque art on the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:

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