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Online Workshop: Licht aus dem Osten? Natural Light in Medieval Churches Between Byzantium and the West

26.11.2020 - 27.11.2020
View of the altar, Church of the Holy Cross, 1487, Patrauti, Romania

View of the altar, Church of the Holy Cross, 1487, Patrauti, Romania
Bildquelle: © Florin Andreescu

Organisiert von: Alice Isabella Sullivan (Dahlem Humanities Center, Freie Universität Berlin), Vladimir Ivanovici (Accademia di  Architettura di Mendrisio, USI | Masaryk University Brno)

The workshop explores the economy of natural light in medieval churches constructed across Eastern Europe, from the Balkans to the Baltic Sea, and throughout the medieval period. Whether adopted or inspired from the more established traditions on the margins of the Mediterranean, local customs are examined in order to understand how natural light phenomena unfolded in ecclesiastical spaces, and how they related to the design, architecture, decorations, liturgical objects, or rituals performed inside the buildings. The multilayered analyses of light Inszenierung examined in this workshop cast light on the structuring of sacred spaces in the Byzantine-Slavic cultural spheres. Moreover, the expertise behind the deployment of these natural light effects reveals patterns of knowledge transfer and cultural interaction between Byzantium, the West, and the Slavic world that extended in regions of Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages.

Weitere Informationen

Alle Informationen zum Programm finden Sie im untenstehenden Link. Um teilzunehmen, melden Sie sich bitte hier an. Kontakt: Alice Sullivan unter aisulli@umich.edu.


Thursday, November 26, 2020


Welcome and Introduction

Alice Isabella Sullivan



I: Structuring Sacred Space

Travis Yeager, PhD, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (presenter)

Dusan Danilovic, PhD, Iowa State University

Charles Kerton, PhD, Iowa State University

Jelena Bogdanović, PhD, Iowa State University

Magdalena Dragović, PhD, University of Belgrade

Modeling the Interior Sunlight Effects of Studenica Monastery

Ljiljana Čavić, PhD, University of Lisbon

Architectural Emptiness and Natural Lighting of the Church of the Virgin at Studenica Monastery

Anna Adashinskaya, PhD, New Europe College, Bucharest

Illuminated by Divine Presence: Arrangement of Lightened and Lightless Spaces in the Ascension Church of Dečani Monastery


(make your own) Snack | Coffee Break


II: Light(less) Spaces

Elisa Galardi, PhD Student, University of Pennsylvania

Beyond Light: Image and Semi-Darkness in Byzantine Churches

Olga Yunak
, PhD Candidate, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley

Natural Darkness: The Case of the Transfiguration Church on Illina Street in Novgorod (1378)


(make your own) Snack | Tea Break


III: Windows and Divine Light

Vera Henkelmann
, PhD, Max-Weber-Kolleg | University of Erfurt

The Blessed Sacrament Shining in Light: The Case of Oculi in Medieval Livonian Churches

Maria Lidova, PhD, Associazione La Scuola iconografica di Seriate

The Descent of Light: On the Use of Windows in Annunciation Imagery in Byzantium and the West

Friday, November 27, 2020


IV: East-West Negotiations

Maria Paschali, PhD, RISE Centre of Excellence, Nicosia

Dimitris Minasidis, PhD Candidate, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Light, Sight, and Images of Theophany across Medieval Christian Culture in Cyprus

Maria Shevelkina, MA, Hunter College, CUNY

Light and Color as Reverberating Transparency in Ferapontovo’s Nativity of the Mother of God sobor



(make your own) Snack | Coffee Break


V: Aesthetics

Alexei Lidov,  PhD, Moscow State University

The Luminous Cloud in the Cupolas of Byzantine Churches and its Symbolic Meaning

Iakovos Potamianos
, PhD, University of Thessaloniki

Space and Light: An Exploration of the Foundations of the Aesthetics of Light in the Byzantine Church

Sergei Sidorenko, PhD, Independent Scholar

Surprising Mutual Reflections through Centuries: Metaphysics of Light of Nicolaus Cusanus and the Evolution of a Chandelier (πολυκάνδηλον) in the East


(make your own) Snack | Tea Break


VI: Earlier Light Phenomena 

Jorge López Quiroga
, PhD, Autonomous University of Madrid

Natalia Figueiras Pimentel, PhD, Popular University of Ourense

Light of the East in the West: Natural Light and Lighting in the Monastic Rupestrian Complex of St. Pedro of Rocas (Spain)

Andrea Mattiello, PhD, Christie’s Education, London

Sun, Stones, and Saints: On the Orientation of the Church of Sant’ Ambrogio alla Rienna, Montecorvino Rovella, SA, Italy


Concluding Remarks

Vladimir Ivanovici

Zeit & Ort

26.11.2020 - 27.11.2020