Conference: Queens, Noblewomen, and Burgher Women in the Middle Ages: Status, Role, Identity

Interdisciplinary and international conference on the topic of women patrons

Date of event
26. 10. 2023 – 27. 10. 2023
Place of event
Academic Conference Centre, Husova 4a, Prague

Objects of visual and material culture provide insight into how medieval women formed their own identities. To various degrees it is here that their personal wishes and tastes, as well as the roles determined for them by society, were manifested. Of fundamental importance of course was a woman’s social status. It was her roles and status that directly formed or added to the individual personality traits of a woman from both the upper and the lower classes of society. The need to represent her family or family line was felt strongly, particularly at the highest levels of medieval society and this was extensively reflected in the arts. These identity-forming aspects overlapped and complemented each other, together creating the diversity of meanings of the works with which women surrounded themselves and through which they communicated, whether in the family, at court, in public, or sometimes to achieve a political aim.

The purpose of the conference is to inquire into these various aspects by considering a wide range of cultural media. In addition to questions regarding how medieval women perceived themselves and how they wished to be perceived, the conference papers will also look at aspects linked with the external attitudes of society, which was forming a model of identity by means of ‘mirrors’ and advice intended for women. The focus may also be directed at the ways their identity was, in particular instances, reflected and developed further through historiography or other literary works.

This interdisciplinary and international conference follows on from last’s year conference entitled “Queens, Noblewomen, and Burgher Women, 1300–1550: Initiative-takers or Passive Patrons?” The aim of the conference continues to be the development of an international platform for research on the topic of women patrons, their social standing and way they presented themselves in medieval Europe.

The conference is organized by the Institute of Art History of ASCR, Masaryk Institute and Archives of ASCR and Institute of Czech literature of ASCR with the support of the Strategy AV 21 Programme: Anatomy of European society. History, tradition, culture, identity.


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