Detail of compartments containing relics in Limburg Staurotheke, circa mid to late 10th century. Sycamore, gilded silver, gemstones and pearls. Diözesan Museum. Photo: HIP / Art Resource, NY

The Secrets We Keep featuring Roland Betancourt

Museum Lecture Hall and Online

This is a past event

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From the relics of the imperial palace to the military uses of Greek fire, some of the most seductive aspects of the Byzantine Empire were shrouded in secrecy. In this talk, Roland Betancourt examines the role of the art historian in approaching arcane knowledge, demonstrating how visual evidence allows us to decode new answers—and sometimes, how it purposely conceals them.

Betancourt considers how secret knowledge is transmitted and how social relations are shaped around collective secret keeping, asking: How do scholars access histories preserved in only fragmentary glimpses? And how do practices of speculation and reconstruction manifest differently across the work of historians?

Roland Betancourt is professor of art history at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Performing the Gospels in Byzantium: Sight, Sound, and Space in the Divine Liturgy (2021), Byzantine Intersectionality: Sexuality, Gender, and Race in the Middle Ages (2020), and Sight, Touch, and Imagination in Byzantium (2018), as well as several edited volumes.

Sponsored by the Getty Research Institute Council, the annual Thomas and Barbara Gaehtgens Lecture series is dedicated to highlighting leading research in the field of global art history.

The conversation will be available on the Getty Research Institute YouTube channel following the event.

Visit the Getty Research Institute's Exhibitions and Events page for more free programs.

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