Past Events

The Living Church: Art, Architecture and the Religious Imagination in Thirteenth-Century England

Lecture – Paul Binski

  • 28 October to 25 November 2002
  • 6:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Sainsbury Wing Theatre, National Gallery, London

This year's Paul Mellon Lectures will explore key issues in the development and understanding of English Gothic art. They aim to present a cultural history of art and architecture as representational and imaginative forms, between the crisis of Thomas Becket's martyrdom at Canterbury in 1170 and the emergence of the so-called 'Decorated Style'. Becket's Canterbury authorised one influential vision of the Church as a living entity. The idea of the Church as comprising 'living stones' had widespread implications for the Church conceived as a space of the religious, aesthetic and ethical imagination. This conception wlll be traced through the art and architecture, cults of saints, physical expressivity, devotional preoccupations and, finally, crises of the 'long thirteenth century'.

The lectures are the fifth in a series given biennially by an invited specialist in British art, held at the National Gallery and supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Illuminated Medieval text


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