Northwestern University

Thu 5:15 PM

Early Modern Colloquium

When: Thursday, February 9, 2017
5:15 PM - 7:00 PM  

Where: University Hall, The Hagstrum Room, 201, 1897 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Hana Thomson  

Group: Department of Art History

Category: Academic


In late medieval Renaissance culture Mary Magdalen became a privileged example of religious contrition, confession, penitence, and penance.  Her famous abnegation of worldly for spiritual pleasures infused all manner of cultural documents, from sermons and hymns to religious manuals and popular tales.  The visual arts also contributed, fundamentally, to the form Mary Magdalen took in the cultural imagination.  I focus on Donatello's arresting representation of Mary Magdalen and on the intertwined meanings of hair and wood, tearful liquefaction and eremitical wildness to speak not only about the sculpture as a representation of askesis, but also about a form of ascetic experience.  The work's material articulation of structural decay and surface liveliness tests a chastened eye's ability to wander the limits of conventional visuality.

Co-sponsored by Department of French and Italian, Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, and with generous support from the English Department and Weinburg College of Arts and Sciences.

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