The early Middle Ages enjoys a special place in the reconstruction of national histories in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The talk will focus on the history of reception of the baptismal font of Duke Višeslav. Interpreted as an example of “Old Croatian Art” the font remained in the focus of scholarly debate on the Christianization of the Croats throughout the twentieth century. Made a symbol of national identity and Croatia’s Christian roots, the font acquired an important place in the collective memory of the nation. The talk will trace the journey of this extraordinary object through the changing ideological horizons from the mid-nineteenth to the early twenty-first century.
Trpimir Vedriš is Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Zagreb. He has a background in history and ethnology and has received PhD in History (2009) and Medieval Studies (2015). His research and teaching focus on the history of Christianity, hagiography, and the cult of saints, as well as issues concerning the formation of ethnic identities, most notably in south-eastern Europe. His recent publications include (co-edited with J. S. Ott) Saintly Bishops and Bishops' Saints (2012) and (co-edited with M. Ančić and J. Shepard) Imperial Spheres and the Adriatic: Byzantium, the Carolingians and the Treaty of Aachen, 812 (2016). His talk presents the findings of his research undertaken in the framework of the research seminar “Framing Medieval Mediterranean Art”, part of Paul J. Getty Foundation’s “Connecting Art Histories initiative,” based at the American Academy in Rome.