Header Knir Colloquim Schraven Van Heemskerck, Portrait Of Unknown Woman, Frans Hals Museum, Long Term Loan From Hofje Van Codde

Workshop: Handling Devotional Objects in Late Medieval and Early Modern Worlds. Materiality, Mobility, Anxiety

KNIR Colloquium
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This Colloquium looks into the materiality and mobility of small, portable devotional objects so central in Catholic devotion, such as crucifixes, blessed beads, images, rosaries, medals and the wax talismans known as Agnus Dei. Taking cue from the so-called material turn and recent interests in material religion, a group of twelve experts will explore how these objects functioned in devotional practices, and how they were instrumental in constructing identities, both on individual and collective levels. A special interest will be in the growing preoccupations of church authorities with the correct handling of these objects, both in global missionary endeavors and in areas where the authority of the pope was no longer accepted, such as Elizabethan England and the Low Countries.

List of Participants

  • Anna Adashinskaya (New Europe College, Bucharest); devotional objects in medieval orthodox
  • Francesco Barbierato (Università di Verona), early modern history; heresy and religious dissent in early modern Italy.
  • Alebachew Birru (Fellow at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence / Debre Berban University, Ethiopia): for his research on the circulation of beads between the Christian and Islamic Mediterranean and Ethiopia during the Middle Ages.
  • Vanessa de Cruz Medina (University of Castilla / La Mancha, Toledo campus): relics and devotional objects at the Monastery of Las Descalzas Reales in Madrid
  • Serena Franzon (Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio, Florence) early modern religious material culture
  • Susanna Ivanic (Kent University) religious material culture in early modern Central Europe
  • Carolina Lenarduzzi (Leiden University) catholic material culture in the Dutch Republic.
  • Francesca Leoni (curator Islamic Art Ashmolean Museum, Oxford); islamic talismans.
  • Anne Mariss (Early Modern History, Universität Regensburg), early modern devotional objects, esp rosaries.
  • Marianne Ritsema van Eck (postdoc at Norwegian Institute in Rome) – St Helena, her relics and afterlives.
  • Minou Schraven (Amsterdam University College), coordinator.


Tegel Knir Colloquim Schraven Van Heemskerck, Portrait Of Unknown Woman, Frans Hals Museum, Long Term Loan From Hofje Van Codde

Maarten van Heemskerck, Portrait of unknown woman, c. 1540/45, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, long-term loan from Hofje van Codde.


In the sixteenth century, Maarten van Heemskerck (Heemskerck 1498-Haarlem 1574) was a one of the greatest, most widely-admired artists in Holland. In 2024, the first major retrospective of his work will appear in three museums: the Frans Hals Museum, Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar and Teyler’s Museum. Heemskerck’s early career is the focus in the Frans Hals Museum’s exhibition from 27 September 2024 till 19 January 2025. More information about the exhibition here: https://www.franshalsmuseum.nl/en/event/maarten-van-heemskerck/