October 11 – Henry Maguire Lecture

Meadows of Delight: Metaphor and Denial in Byzantine and Western Medieval Art

Henry Maguire
Professor Emeritus of Art History, John Hopkins University
Thursday, October 11, 5:00pm, Carpenter B21

After the eighth century, motifs from nature, such as animals and plants, were more prominently displayed in Western churches than in those of the Byzantines, sometimes even appearing in the principal apses, in direct imitation of early Christian models.  In Byzantium, there was a rich literary tradition of verbal and written metaphors drawn from nature, especially addressed to the Virgin, but the art of Byzantine churches often excluded all reference to nature from holy images.   This presentation explores the root causes of this division between Eastern and Western art, which is to be found in contrasting attitudes toward the sacred image.  In Byzantium, a fear of venerating nature lingered after Iconoclasm, while in the West, animals and plants lost much of their association with idolatry, becoming, instead, a language for understanding the divine.

Reception immediately following the lecture, London Room, Thomas Hall

This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the University Seminars Program of the Onassis Foundation (USA), The Center for Visual Culture and the Department of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College