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The Virgin Mary: a History in Matter and Emotion

Date: 16 February 2016
Time: 6.00 - 7.00pm
Venue: Napier 102, Level 1, Napier Building, The University of Adelaide
Contact: Jacquie Bennett (jacquie.bennett@adelaide.edu.au)/+61 (0)8 8313 2421 


Professor Miri Rubin, Queen Mary University of London

Since its emergence, the figure of the Virgin Mary has inspired a vast range of material objects as well as a great deal of music. While the themes and styles have changed over the centuries, Mary remained a prompt for experiments in visual form, material design and sound. Prayer, meditation, procession, liturgy - the many forms of religious experience - were all associated with emotional participation by individuals and groups, and facilitated by prayer beads, devotional images, dolls, religious jewellery and more. This is as true of the experience of Mary in Europe as it is of the global reception of her figure.

This lecture will offer some pathways into the rich world of religious materiality and emotional expression around the figure of the Virgin Mary. It will develop an historical arc within which these qualities can be situated, and offer it as a case for reflection on historical practices in the study of emotions and in the appreciation of historical materiality.

Image: Albrecht Dürer, Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, 1519. © Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913