The Catalan Atlas of 1375: The Most Interesting Map in the World

By: Dr. Markus Cruse

March 16 | 6p | FIA Theater

Dr. Markus Cruse

The Catalan Atlas is a world map made in 1375 for King Charles V of France (r. 1364–1380) and is today housed in the National Library of France. A table map, the Atlas measures about 10 feet long and 2 feet high and is famous for being the oldest surviving map to draw extensively on Marco Polo’s Description of the World. In this illustrated lecture, Dr. Markus Cruse will discuss the Atlas’s origins and sources, its innovative depictions of major places and peoples, its relationship to the library of King Charles V, and its place in the history of cartography. 

Dr. Cruse is Associate Professor of French in the School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University. His research focuses on the relationship between literature and visual culture in medieval Europe. His publications have examined the legend of Alexander the Great, manuscript illumination, heraldry, the Louvre, and medieval theater, among other subjects.

Unicorns and Heroes: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Tapestries at The Met Cloisters

By: Dr. C. Griffith Mann

April 27 | 6p | FIA Theater

Dr. C. Griffith Mann

This talk will explore the history of two unique sets of tapestries on view at The Met Cloisters, The Hunt for the Unicorn and the Heroes Tapestries. The Unicorn Tapestries are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive. Luxuriously woven in fine wool and silk with silver and gold threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn. The Heroes Tapestries, representing the Hebrew heroes (Joshua and David), the Christian hero (King Arthur), and the pagan heroes (Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar), are thought to have been made around 1400. Once part of a larger ensemble featuring Nine Heroes, these remarkable tapestries are among the earliest large-scale tapestries to survive from a moment when these ensembles were part of princely collections. The talk will explore how these works were made, their meaning, and the conservation work essential to their long-term preservation. The lecture will also highlight the role of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in creating The Met Cloisters and consider his involvement in the acquisition of these remarkable works of art. Dr. C. Griffith Mann is the Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters. Dr. Mann received his B.A. in art history and history from Williams College, and his Ph.D. in medieval art from The Johns Hopkins University. A specialist in the arts of late medieval Italy, he has published on civic patronage, painting, and devotion in Tuscany.

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The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture has been established to address the topics of art, religion, and history, and is funded annually by The Sheppy Dog Fund, Dr. Alan Klein, Advisor.

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Archived lectures from 2020-2022

The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture: From Cordoba To Cardamon: The World of The Cairo Geniza
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Gary Rendsburg
During the 1890s, the contents of the Cairo Geniza, the storeroom of the Ben Ezra Synagogue built ca. 900 in Fustat (Old Cairo), came to the attention of scholars in England and elsewhere. The discoveries constituted nothing less than a revolution in the student of the Middle Ages. 

The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture | The Book of Marvels: Imagining Asia in Late Medieval France
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Markus Cruse
This lecture examines one of the most famous and sumptuous manuscripts produced in medieval Europe. The Book of Marvels, today preserved in the National Library of France, was produced circa 1410 for the crusader John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. Its compilation of works on Asia, including Marco Polo, and 265 miniatures offer a sweeping portrait of people, places, animals, and customs from the Middle East to China. We discuss how The Book of Marvels came to be and why it is such a valuable record of the global past.

New Archaeological Evidence for the Biblical Kingdom of David

Guest Lecturer: Dr. Michael Pytlik
This talk discusses why the he ancient site of Khirbet Qeiyafa, or Biblical Sha'arayim, was selected for excavation, the exciting finds, and the scope and reach of the kingdom associated with the historical kingdom of David.

‘There came a deadly pestilence’: Art in Tuscany Before and After the Black Death
Guest Lecturer: Dr. C. Griffith Mann
This talk considers the societies and art produced in Tuscany before and after this global epidemic, with a special focus on works of art in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This recording was sponsored by Friends of Modern Art in memory of Dr. Sarah Jordan Lippert.

The Baroque
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Taylor Hagood
In this lecture, Taylor Hagood will explore the forces driving the development of baroque architectural style and the powerful images of Caravaggio, Velazquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, and other artists throughout Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Neha Vedpathak – Artist Talk
For the exhibition Time (Constant, Suspended, Collapsed)
Neha Vedpathak and Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Tracee Glab will discuss the artist's work and process. 
Sponsored by the Bray Charitable Trust. This recording was sponsored by Friends of Modern Art in memory of Dr. Sarah Jordan Lippert.

The Greatest Bible Ever Written 
Kennicott no. 1, La Coruña, Spain, 1476
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Gary Rendsburg
Dr. Rendsburg presents a general background of Hebrew Bible manuscripts from before the age of printing and then focuses on the Kennicott Bible, its layout, format, biblical text, and beautiful illuminations.

Notre-Dame of Paris: In the Light of the Fire
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Lindsay S. Cook
In this illustrated talk, Dr. Lindsay S. Cook discusses the past, present, and likely future of the cathedral of Paris through its material remains, graphic traces, and digital doubles—including the laser scans produced of the building before and after the fire.

The Silk Road Made Visible: Asian Influence on Medieval European Art
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Mark Cruse
This presentation discusses the influence of Asian art and materials on the design, production, and collecting of art in Europe in the late Middle Ages. Dr. Cruse examines the presence of Asian objects in European collections, and the ways in which contact with the East transformed manuscript illumination, monumental painting, sculpture, and other artistic media in Europe. 

Guest Lecturer: Dr. Taylor Hagood
The immigrant son of a Hungarian rabbi, Harry Houdini remains the most famous magician and greatest escape artist the world has known. From his fabulous escapes to his mysterious death, Houdini's life is itself a kind of grand magic illusion filled with a multitude of secrets and still-unsolved mysteries. 
The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture has been established to address the topics of art, religion, and history, and is funded annually by The Sheppy Dog Fund, Dr. Alan Klein, Advisor.For more Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture, click here.