122nd Distinguished Research Lecture: The Authentic and the Counterfeit in Medieval Art (Kirk Ambrose)

Professor Kirk Ambrose (Classics) is the 122nd recipient of the Distinguished Research Lectureship—among the highest honors bestowed by the faculty upon a faculty member at CU Boulder. 

About the lecture

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.

A reception will follow the lecture from 5–6 p.m.

Tuesday, November 28 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE), Chancellor's Hall & Auditorium

Event Type

Lecture/Presentation, Featured Event


Research & Innovation


Students, Faculty, Alumni, General Public, Staff

College, School & Unit

Research and Innovation Office





Research & Innovation Office


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