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Sarah McHam at Columbia's University Seminar in the Renaissance
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 05:30pm

Dr. Sarah McHam will be giving the first lecture of the fall semester in Columbia's University Seminar in the Renaissance on Thursday, September 13, at 5:30 p.m. in Faculty House. For directions to Faculty House, please follow this link.


Professor Sarah McHam (Rutgers) will be giving a talk entitled: "Riccio’s Paschal Candlestick at the Santo in Padua as a Traditional Liturgical Furnishing." Please find Professor McHam's abstract below.


We would also like to invite you to join the speaker and Seminar members after the lecture over dinner at 7 p.m. in Faculty House. If you plan to attend the dinner, note that the price of the meal is $30, payable by check to "Columbia University."


Please contact the rapporteur, Charles Pletcher (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), by Monday, September 10, if you plan to attend the talk. Please also let the rapporteur know if you plan to stay for dinner.


We look forward to seeing you at our first meeting of the year!


With all best wishes,

Cynthia Pyle

Alan Stewart


Professor McHam has kindly shared the following abstract:


"Riccio’s Paschal Candlestick at the Santo in Padua as a Traditional Liturgical Furnishing"


Almost all scholarship about Andrea Riccio’s (1479-1532) masterpiece, the towering bronze Paschal Candlestick for the Santo (Basilica di Sant’Antonio di Padova) in Padua (1515), concerns its unprecedented, arcane antiquarian format and decoration. Such focus is justified by the intellectual interests of the candlestick’s learned commissioners, the Santo’s overseeing board, and by prominent aspects of its imagery, e.g., a relief of pagan sacrifice, and groups of sphinxes, centaurs, and satyrs. Even its first historian, a friar writing about the Santo in 1590, described some Christian imagery but left future generations to intrigue about the “mysteries” the candlestick depicted that he could not decipher. His puzzlement has shaped all later scholarship.

Very little studied are the candelabrum’s meaningful continuities with medieval traditions. From the early Middle Ages on, Paschal Candlesticks were major liturgical objects with crucial ecclesiastical functions, especially between Holy Saturday and Ascension/Pentecost. Unexplored issues to be considered in this presentation include the Christian implications of the candlestick’s material and its structural scheme of stacking registers. Additional major points of investigation involve the choice and position of narrative scenes and their meaning in relation to paschal ritual, as well as the implications of the candlestick’s orientation in the Santo’s choir.

Location Columbia University, Faculty House