IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 1122: Christian Natural Motives: From the Beginning to the End

Wednesday 9 July 2008, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Fernando Villaseñor Sebastián, Department of Art History & Fine Art, Universidad de Salamanca
Paper 1122-aEl Paraíso: De la isla al jardín
(Language: Español)
Virginia de la Cruz Lichet, Departamento de Historia del Arte III, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Index terms: Art History - General, Liturgy, Mentalities, Theology
Paper 1122-bThe Natural World of the Jesse Tree
(Language: English)
Anne Kirkham, Department of Art History & Visual Studies, University of Manchester
Index terms: Art History - General, Theology
Paper 1122-cFlaring Flames and Luminous Light at the End of the Natural World: Images of Nature in the Last Judgement
(Language: English)
Ann Montgomery Jones, Sarum Seminar, California
Index terms: Art History - General, Art History - Decorative Arts, Art History - Painting, Art History - Sculpture

Paper -a:
La naturaleza ha sido protagonista a la hora de representar el Paraíso cristiano. Durante la Edad Media, tanto la literatura como el arte, han oscilado entre dos tipos de representación: la isla como Paraíso terrenal (que poco a poco se va difuminando) y un Paraíso celestial, antesala del Cielo donde los elegidos disfrutan de la visión divina. Son lugares donde la naturaleza se muestra abundante, complaciente y acogedora recordando el primitivo Edén. Este imaginario colectivo de la felicidad, se convierte en un intento melancólico de regreso a la primera morada perdida por el hombre. En estas descripciones, la naturaleza en todo su esplendor se muestra gloriosa y protagonista de un espacio escatológico sólo accesible para los bienaventurados.
Paper -b:
In the 14th century stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts in England became popular sites for displaying a ‘Jesse Tree’ in which a recumbent Jesse supports, from his abdomen, a luxurious tree or vine filled with Christ and his ancestors, prophets, and a veritable menagerie of birds and animals. Large windows called for the expansive and flowing design which a tree motif so readily fulfilled. Manuscripts invited the creation of coiling branches and a variety of fauna around the text. However, this illustrated paper will consider the extent to which the Jesse Tree’s popularity also derived from recognising the natural world as God’s creation and thus worthy of representation.
Paper -c:
In medieval eschatology, the Last Judgement ends the natural world. Art focuses on the figures involved, and nature is often omitted or merely used to fill space. Flaring flames under a cauldron in a window at Bourges and luminous light streaming from heaven in a Fra Angelico chair back are, however, two of many works in which nature plays an integral part. Images from a variety of media and regions and a wide range of dates are examined to consider the question: How is the natural world presented at its end?