Published: Jan. 2, 2024

Picture of Kirk Ambrose

Kirk Ambrose

In fall 2023, Professor Kirk Ambrose was selected as a 2023-4 Distinguished Research Lecturer. This prestigious award, one of the highest honors bestowed on the CU Boulder faculty, recognizes colleagues with a distinguished body of academic and/or creative achievement and prominence, as well as contributions to CU's educational and service missions. 

Kirk delivered his Distinguished Research Lecture, "The Authentic and the Counterfeit in Medieval Art," on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 4:00-5:00, to a packed house in Chancellor’s Hall and Auditorium (CASE building).

To view the recording of Kirk’s stimulating lecture, click here.

The abstract of his talk is below:

Authenticating relics was a foundational activity during the Middle Ages in Europe, for it was widely understood that these earthly remains of saints offered a vehicle for the divine to work miracles, from healing the sick to punishing—and even killing—enemies of the Church. Because possessing a venerable saint’s bodily remains could bolster the prestige and financial fortunes of institutions, the temptation to invent fake claims could be great. Indeed, the years between 1000 and 1150 have been dubbed the “golden age of medieval forgery.” To explore how institutions bolstered their claims to possess authentic relics in this period rife with fakes, Professor Ambrose's lecture will focus on the case of the monastery of Sainte-Foy, Conques, in France. He will examine how this community used the visual arts to advance their claims, as well as to condemn those who engaged in counterfeiting practices.