Michael Michael: Re-Orienting the Westminster Retable

Join us in Glasgow for the Association of Art Historian’s 36th annual conference, from the 15th to the 17th of April, 2010. On Saturday 17th, Postcolonising the Medieval Image will be convening Medieval Art/Postcolonial Questions, including the following paper:

Michael Michael (Christie’s)

Re-Orienting the Westminster Retable

The Westminster Retable made the high altar of Westminster Abbey is re-interpreted. Attempts to extract individual motifs through a typological sequencing have had the perverse effect of editing out the non-Christian elements and making them into alien interlopers. What appears to us to be the appropriation of motives associated with the ‘East’ or Islam in our own culture, can be interpreted as an unprejudiced inclusiveness in medieval culture. New modes of expression owe their inspiration to what we view as a medieval ‘orientalist taste’, but should be defined differently.