28. May 2020 - 11:00 till 13:00
Online, Online
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Essex Lectures in Art History 2020 | Thursday, 28. May 2020

These lectures explore how images of miracles performed by mendicant saints worked at the intersection between gender and conversion in Renaissance Italy. Conversion—a turning away from sin and towards Christ—could be enacted violently, through exorcism, or, less dramatically, through the sacrament of penance—confession and reconciliation. Mendicant saints, primarily Franciscans and Dominicans, were visually constructed as both exorcists and confessors in miracle scenes displayed prominently in widely trafficked urban friaries. These images depict the prototypical demoniac as a beautiful but wayward nubile girl, firmly entrenched in a respectable family network; confession is in turn presented as the appropriate prescription for angry young men, prone to bouts of uncontrolled violence. Through close examination of the visual evidence, I show how miracle scenes could serve as sites for negotiating existential threats to family cohesion and social stability.


Lecture Videos (distributed via weblink by 22 May):


#1: Girls in Trouble: Gendering Possession and Exorcism


#2: Assault, Amputation, Absolution: Visualizing the Power of Confession


Discussion Seminar (held live via Zoom, 28 May, 4pm)


Weblink will be emailed to members who sign up