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Teaching Cruel and Abject Art (


My work explores the importance and presence of the female body in medieval religious practice as exemplified in medieval art, religious texts and hagiographies. My research shows that while the reasoning behind female imagery and imagery of the nude is disputed, the prevalence of mandorla-like images, images of the female nude, and images displaying the femininity of Christ suggest the meaningfulness to the medieval viewer. I discuss extensively Julia Kristeva’s writing on the woman as abject and the artistic experience as an element of religiosity. For this research I analyzed works by various artists including Robert Campin, Jan Gossaert and Jacob Cornelisz, as well as explore Caroline Walker Bynum’s work Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion, and The Lady as Saint: A Collection of French Hagiographic Romances of the Thirteenth Century by Brigitte Cazelles.


Art Practice | Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Medieval Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Other Religion