Considering the seal as a transcultural image and medium of reproduction, the conference aims to bring together different disciplines. Its focus lies on the 'insculpta imago' of both the seal matrix and the seal impression, whereby 'imago' corresponds to the medieval understanding of the seal image as a whole, that is, in the interaction of image, text and sign.
The seal as an artifact in very small format displays a multiplicity of images and signs. With a 9000 year-old history the seal belongs to one of the oldest and most enduring forms of image reproduction, embracing numerous cultures.
A seal matrix, or cylinder seal, seal tongs or gems mounted in seal rings can produce a large quantity of impressions in clay, lead or wax. In comparison with other artifacts seals have an exponentially high and wide distribution, in diplomatic correspondence and in trade, and as objects of representation and collection as well. Both the seal matrix and the seal impression are three dimensional, that is, sculptural images - 'insculptae imagines': the recessed image of the die appears raised and relief-like on the impression.
An enormous number of seals are preserved. They are objects of investigation in such disciplines as Egyptology, archeology, Jewish, Byzantine and Islamic studies, medieval historical studies, and, increasingly in recent times, art history, albeit within the context of the single field of research. According to the traditions of the respective discipline emphasis is laid either on the seal die or on the seal impression. The conference to be held at the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence - Max-Planck-Institute will encompass seals from late antiquity to early modern times in the Mediterranean area as a region of contact and coexistence of different cultures.
The issues to be dealt with concern the seal images of different Mediterranean cultures, their legal status, their innovations or their intended adherence to traditional depictions and formulas, their mutual reception, the role of the materiality of seal dies and impressions, and the interaction of seals with other relevant artifacts and symbols.
The conference 'Insculpta imago' originates within the context of the research project on "Siegel-Bilder" financed by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and carried out by Dr. Ruth Wolff under the direction of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf and Prof. Dr. Michael Stolleis at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, in collaboration with the Max-Planck-Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt.
THURSDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2011
Opening Remarks: Gerhard Wolf
Introduction: Ruth Wolff
Julian Gardner (Warwick)
Vision or Design? Some Seals of Medieval Roman Churches
Martin Hirsch (Munich)
Das Bild der Civitas Regis auf den Siegeln der Könige von Jerusalem
Christopher R. Lakey (Baltimore)
Typos: The Theory and Practice of Relief in the Medieval Mediterranean
Agostino Paravicini Bagliani (Lausanne)
La bolla di piombo pontificia. Riflessioni sulle origini
FRIDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2011
Werner Seibt (Vienna)
Besonderheiten des Siegelwesens im Byzantinischen Reich
Vera Bulgurlu (Istanbul)
Byzantine Seals from Kadikalesi/Anaia and their Interaction with other Excavation Finds
Nikolay Alekseienko (Sevastopol)
Byzantine Cherson through Sphragistic Monuments
Saul Antonio Gomes (Coimbra)
'Imago' as Political Identity: the Royal Seals of the Kingdom of Portugal
Brigitte Miriam Bédos-Rezak (New York)
Dialogic Images: Iconicity and Identity on Jewish Seals of Medieval Iberia
Brahim Jadla (Tunis)
De l'usage du sceau en terre d'Islam: al'alama (signature) comme symbole du pouvoir dans le Maghreb Médiéval
Claudia Sode (Cologne) / Stefan Heidemann (New York)
Hasan ibn Gabras - A Sultan of the Rum-Saljuq Sultanate from the Byzantine Nobility
SATURDAY, 5 FEBRUARY 2011
Markus Spaeth (Gießen)
Kulturtransfer durch die Zeiten: Antikenrezeption in südfranzösischen Siegelbildern des 13. Jahrhunderts
Denise LaMonica (Pisa)
La funzione sigillare delle gemme antiche figurate
Kenneth Lapatin (Los Angeles)
What's in a Name? Signatures on Greek and Roman Gems, ancient and modern
Matthias Bruhn (Berlin)
Siegelbild und Reliefkunst
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut
Via dei Servi 51
Dr. Ruth Wolff