Next Faculty Work in Progress talk features art history and art’s Elina Gertsman

Elina Gertsman, assistant professor of medieval art, will present “Breaking Flesh: Performance, Anatomy, Memory” as part of the Faculty Work in Progress series. Her talk will be held April 5 at 4:30 p.m. in Clark Hall 206. A reception will begin at 4:15 p.m.

In his Christmas sermon Puer natus est nobis, Jean Gerson, the outspoken chancellor of the University of Paris, raged against a vile statue he saw in a local Carmelite church: a sculpture of the virgin whose body split open to unveil the trinity placed within. Gerstman will explore one such statue—the so-called Shrine Madonna—within the context of late medieval mnemotechnic discourses, anatomical and childbirth treatises, and performance practices that foreground obsession with uncanny anthropomorphic puppets. Through her study of Shrine Madonnas, Gertsman will explore the processes of empathetic beholding of a performing object, which both controls and is controlled by the viewer.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is recommended at