Category: Blog Posts

Spinning Suns and Dizzy Angels

Laura Stefanescu Research Associate at the University of Sheffield   Summary In fifteenth-century Florence, Neri di Bicci produces in his workshop a bestseller: altarpieces of the Coronation of the Virgin with large gilded circles surrounded by angelic figures in the background. In this post, Laura Stefanescu explores this puzzling motif by uncovering its roots in the world of religious theatre,…

Performing French-Indigenous Encounters in Seventeenth-Century New France

Weiao Xing PhD Candidate in History, University of Cambridge Image Caption: ‘The First Play in Canada, 1606’ by C.W. Jeffreys (1869-1951), pen and black ink over pencil on cardboard. Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1972-26-83. This image recreates Marc Lescarbot’s Le théâtre de Neptune in colonial Acadia.   Summary: In this post, Weiao Xing explores how translingual wonders…

‘It Was Drawn from the Life’: Medieval Alchemy and the Proto-Homunculus

Curtis Runstedler, Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow at University of Stuttgart     Medieval alchemy has long conjured images of smoky laboratories, strange substances, dodgy practitioners, and misguided pursuits. While the alchemists of old remained mostly unsuccessful in their experiments, their pursuits often led to other chymical discoveries or helped establish the foundations of modern chemistry. The goal of medieval…

Hero of Alexandria and the machinery of the modern theatre

By Philip Steadman, Emeritus Professor of Urban and Built Form Studies at University College London.   The modern theatre was invented in Italy in the late sixteenth century. Before then, the revived tragedies of classical Greece, the plays of Terence and Plautus, and modern comedies, had been performed in converted halls, or in buildings that recreated ancient amphitheatres. The most…

Music in Paris, 1200: Ambitious, Exciting, Lost…

By Chloë Allison, Creative Director of the Cambridge-based performance collective Marginalia   Summary In this post, Chloë explores the vibrant, unique, and little-known polyphonic practices developed in the cultural and intellectual hub of twelfth-century Paris. As part of the Multimedia Craft of Wonder, she is organising a concert, freely open to the public, called ‘In the Shadow of Notre Dame’,…

To Make a Man Seem Headless

By Chelsea Silva, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Oklahoma State University To make a ma(n) seme hedles Nyme bre(m)sto(n) poud(er) & do yt y(n) a lampe abowte þe lyȝt & loke þer be no(n) lyȝt þe whyle y(n) þe hows but þe lyȝt of þe lampe To make a man seem headless: Take brimstone powder and put…

Heavy Metal, Minimal Noise

By Josh Fitzgerald, Junior Research Fellow in History and Art History, Churchill College   Summary: Churchill College, the setting for our December conference, is an institution known for its twentieth-century Brutalist architecture, extensive modern art collections, and engineering expertise. In this post, Josh Fitzgerald explores themes of wonder, craft, and multimedia through one of the sculptures located in Churchill’s grounds:…