IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 811: Weeping and Gender

Tuesday 11 July 2006, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Barry James Lewis, Aberystwyth University
Paper 811-aEqual in Shame: Decoding the Iconography of the Viking Age Sculpture of Barwick-in-Elmet, West Yorkshire
(Language: English)
Victoria Whitworth, Department of English, Trinity & All Saints, University of Leeds
Index terms: Art History - General, Art History - Sculpture, Biblical Studies
Paper 811-bWeeping as a Woman in the Alliterative Morte Arthure
(Language: English)
Mary Dzon, Department of English, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 811-cGestures of Despair, Rituals of Salvation: The Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, Winchester Cathedral
(Language: English)
Sophia Lucia Deboick, Independent Scholar, London
Index terms: Art History - General, Art History - Painting, Biblical Studies

Abstract paper -a: This paper considers the iconography of the pre-Conquest carved stone from Barwick-in-Elmet, West Yorkshire, arguing that it is a unique interpretation of the imagery associated with the Fall and with Adam and Eve’s awareness of their shame, designed to arouse compunction in the viewer and lead him/her to an awareness of the ever-present potential for reconciliation. The paper embeds the stone in other late Anglo-Saxon imagery on related topics, and suggests that this, like much of the sculpture of Northern England from this period, is best understood in a didactic and missionary context.

Abstract paper -b: The anonymous author of the Alliterative Morte Arthure likens Arthur to a widow mourning the loss of both husband and child in his depiction of the emotionally extravagant gestures the king exhibits when coming upon the dead body of his best knight Gawain. My paper will explore parallels in the poem between Arthur and its two main female characters, who do nothing but mourn the loss of loved ones. I will argue that the lamentation scene centered on Arthur and his nephew was influenced by the late-medieval religious themes of the Planctus Mariae, the PitiƩ-de-Nostre-Seigneur, and the Holy Grail, as well as by the epic tradition.

Abstract paper -c: Containing two successive schemes of painting depicting scenes in the life of Christ, the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre at Winchester Cathedral constitutes a highly important survival of late medieval English mural painting. Highlighting the powerful physical expressions of grief and despair found in the post-Crucifixion scenes of both schemes, this paper will re-examine the liturgical purpose of the chapel, and the part the iconography may have played in various Easter ceremonies. These rituals sought to elicit a potent emotional response, and will be shown to have ultimately impacted on aspects of the composition itself.