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Images of Corporal Mortification and Corruption 1250-1550

Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, 15-17 April 2010 University of Glasgow.

Friday 22 May 2009, by Mathieu Perona

Images of Corporal Mortification and Corruption, Martyrdom and Mercy:

The psychological implications of the new religiosity with which the
devotional image was in accord are just as complex as the social
conditions from which the religious individual developed his
self-awareness. What took place in the thirteenth century was one of the
most comprehensive transformations European society ever underwent.
While the symptoms were often only visible in images at a later date,
the impulses to modify images reach back to the thirteenth century."
Hans Belting (trans. M. Bartusis and R. Meyer), The Image and Its Public
in the Middle Ages: Form and Function of Early Paintings of the Passion
(New Rochelle, New York: 1990), p. 7.
This session will explore images which illustrate the mortification of
the flesh, bodily corruption, disfigurement, disease, decay, physical
degradation and death. Such images have been used to convey messages of
strength, the triumph of faith over fear and pain, the incorruptibility
of the spirit, salvation, celebration and optimism. Images of suffering
are often coupled with those of compassion and protection. Issues
surrounding the role of gender within images of martyrdom and mercy will
be investigated. Papers are invited which engage with related imagery
(e.g. depictions of justice, punishment, vengeance, restraint and
clemency) from both religious and secular contexts and which explore the
relationship between text and image. We encourage submissions
illustrating examples from a wide range of media (panel and wall
painting, manuscript illumination, sculpture, architectural structures
and contexts, decorated household, religious and civic objects and
textiles) and originating from a variety of geographical locations.

Session convenors: Emily Jane Anderson (University of Glasgow) and
Robert Gibbs (University of Glasgow).

Abstracts of 250 words (max.) are invited by 10 November 2009 for the
above session. The abstract should also include your name, the title of
your paper, your academic affiliation and full contact details. Papers
will be a maximum of 30 minutes in length.

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