• 30 October 2014
  • 9:30 – 10:30 am
  • British Museum

In this paper I will try to place in a relation of creative friction two notions of invention, one magical one rational. In doing this I want to ponder the potency of invention as a source of affective wonder experienced at a work of art being brought into creation, but also of fear or anxiety. Some of the richest ideas about the potency of invention were and are morally negative, and were not easily absorbed into medieval rationalities which stressed the disciplinary basis of art - that emphasis on limitation or 'boxing-in'-which was so richly developed in later eras (Goethe, Wilde), rather than the magical or even demonic. My examples will be eclectic and possibly noisy.

About the speaker

  • Head shot of man

    Paul Binski is Professor of the History of Medieval Art at Cambridge University.  He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and was Slade Professor, Oxford University, 2006-7.  His publications include Becket’s Crown. Art and Imagination in Gothic England 1170-1300 (2004) and, with Patrick Zutshi, Western Illuminated Manuscripts: a Catalogue of the Collection in Cambridge University Library (2011). His study of medieval art and aesthetics, Gothic Wonder: art, artifice and the Decorated Style 1290-1350, was published by Yale University Press in 2014. His new book, Gothic Sculpture, Eloquence, Craft and Materials will be published by the PMC in Spring 2019