Clark Art Institute to Present Free Lecture: ‘The Art of Commodities: Medieval Venice’

Williamstown, Mass. – April 1 – The Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program welcomes Mellon Decade Fellow Philippe Cordez for the free lecture “The Art of Commodities: Medieval Venice” on Tuesday, April 16 at 5:30 pm. The lecture will be held in the Clark’s auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center.

Since the twelfth century, Europe has seen a steady increase of highly specialized objects produced in large quantities, involving a variety of materials, techniques, ornaments, images, and functions, the very first of which was to be sold. Cordez’s lecture focuses on the case of medieval Venice in order to address the complexities of this art of commodities that remains a challenge for today’s art history.

Philippe Cordez is deputy director of the German Center for Art History in Paris. Primarily a medievalist, he previously led a research group on object studies in art history at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich (2013–2018). Cordez’s book on medieval church objects––investigating notions of treasure, memory, and wonder––was published in German and French in 2015 and 2016, respectively. At the Clark, he is working on nineteenth-century publications of historical and ethnographic objects, seeking to understand how they shaped the modern—and still so influential—concepts of “decorative arts,” “objets d’art,” and “Kunstgewerbe.”


The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 275,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; open daily in July and August. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. Free admission is available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; EBT Card to Culture; and Blue Star Museums. For more information on these programs and more, visit or call 413 458 2303.