Hybrid lecture: “Christ’s Petrified Blood – Heliotrope Cameos in Early Modern Europe and Beyond” on October 5, 2023 at 6PM

The Director of the Netherlands Interuniversity Institute for Art History (NIKI), Michael W. Kwakkelstein, has the pleasure to invite you to the lecture by Johannes Gebhardt (Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Art History, University of Leipzig), entitled “Christ’s Petrified Blood – Heliotrope Cameos in Early Modern Europe and Beyond”.

Despite the excellent research into the symbolism and materiality of stones in theological and art-theoretical discourses on medieval and early modern lapidaries, no comprehensive study is dedicated to the heliotrope, or bloodstone: A green jasper speckled with red spots resembling blood, the material properties of this species of stone perfectly align with the artistic search for ways to represent and substantiate the salvific message of the Incarnation and Passion. Thus, bloodstone was favored to produce artworks depicting violent scenes of Christian iconography. The lecture explores the functions, iconography, and symbolic meanings of heliotrope in light of current discourses on the materiality of stones in early modern Europe – and beyond.

Johannes Gebhardt

Johannes Gebhardt is Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Art History at the University of Leipzig, where he received his PhD in 2018. In 2022/2023 he was Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies / Museo Nacional del Prado Joint Fellow (Postdoc) in Florence and Madrid. His research focuses on early modern art from a transcultural perspective, with a particular emphasis on cult images, art theory, materiality and, most recently, on blood. Johannes is the author of the book, Apparitio Sacri–Occultatio Operis. Zeigen und Verbergen von Kultbildern in Italien und Spanien (1600–1700): the first systematic investigation of moveable altarpieces, highly popular early modern devices for the staging of cult images. He has received fellowships from the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Düsseldorf.

The conference is open to the public free of charge. Pre-registration is required to guarantee seating: niki@nikiflorence.org.

Please click here to register for online attendance.

The NIKI is located in Florence, Viale Evangelista Torricelli 5.