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Evan Gatti presents No/Thing at International Medieval Congress

Evan A. Gatti, associate professor of art history, presented the paper "The Vercelli Roll: The No-Thing That It Is and the Thing It Might Be" in May 2014 in No/Thing: Medieval Art and Apophasis at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

Scene from the Rotolo di Vercelli in the Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare. Photographed with permission.

Gatti's paper explored the problems scholars face when discussing the Rotolo di Vercelli (Vercelli Roll), a medieval document comprised of three sheets of vellum, glued together, and decorated with scenes from the Acts of the Apostles.

The roll includes an inscription on each end that states it is meant to be a copy of the deteriorating frescoes in a church, believed by many scholars to have been the Cathedral in Vercelli, but the relationship between this "copy" and the thing it was supposed to have copied is a complex one.

Gatti investigated the physical aspects of the Vercelli Roll as we encounter it today, articulating the issues that make the roll interesting, inaccessible, and enigmatic. Gatti then used an example of apophasis (a theological and theoretical concept that invites us to consider how we come to know a thing that we don’t want to or can’t talk about) illustrated in the roll to offer a model for future reading and thinking about the Vercelli Roll in its many contexts. 

Evan Gatti,
5/11/2014 6:25 PM