Jelena Bogdanović, a leading historian of medieval art and architecture at Iowa State University, will discuss “The Canopy and the Byzantine Church” April 14 at the Divinity School. The lecture highlights the canopy—a four-columned structure with a roof—as an iconic image of the temple and presents its use in architectural design and visual arts of the Christians in Byzantium, medieval Serbia and the eastern Mediterranean. Drawing on the conclusions of her book, The Framing of Sacred Space, Bogdanović shows how the canopy was used to reaffirm architectural, symbolic and sacred ties between the old and new covenants in Byzantine Christianity.
Bogdanović earned a master’s degree in history of art from Vanderbilt in 2002. She also holds an engineering degree in architecture from the University of Belgrade and earned a master’s degree and doctorate in art and archaeology from Princeton University.
Bogdanović’s areas of research and teaching include the meaning and form of micro-architecture; the relationships between the architecture and the monumental and performative arts; the relationships between the human body, sacred space and memory; and the integration of aesthetics, anthropology, geography and spirituality across cultures. Among her other publications are three edited volumes: Perceptions of the Body and Sacred Space in Late Antiquity and Byzantium; Political Landscapes of Capital Cities (with Jessica Christie and Eulogio Guzmán); and a book on the architecture and arts of Serbia between the two world wars, On the Very Edge: Modernism and Modernity in the Arts and Architecture of Interwar Serbia (1918-1941) (with Lilien Robinson and Igor Marjanović).
Bogdanović’s talk, scheduled for 3 p.m. in Room G-23, will be immediately followed by a gallery showing of “Eikon: A Triple Encounter,” an exhibition by Julia Liden, a master of theological studies candidate at the Divinity School. As exhibition curator, Liden has paired selections from ancient and medieval Christian texts with a series of full-sized reproductions of Byzantine church frescos from the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery collection. These large-scale icon reproductions were hand-painted by the medieval conservator and copy artist Zdenka Živković on a commission from Vanderbilt. The “Eikon” exhibit also will be open through April 20.
“Curating ‘Eikon’ has provided an opportunity for Liden to extend her creative reach to the larger university and Nashville community,” according to Dave Perkins, associate director of the Divinity School’s Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture program. This exhibit is the second such exhibit curated by Liden this year. She also has worked as a research assistant for the study of Syriac cultures with David Michelson, assistant professor of the history of Christianity. That collaboration resulted in an exhibit, “Syriac: Preserving an Endangered World Culture,” which is on display in Cohen Hall through May 13.
In addition to Religion in the Arts, the free program on April 14 is co-sponsored by the Department of History of Art, Program in Classical and Mediterranean Studies, Department of Religious Studies and the Department of History.