IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 512: The Tree as Symbol, Allegory, and Structural Device in Medieval Art and Thought, IV: Trees and Moral, Trees and Knowledge

Tuesday 8 July 2008, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Andrea Worm, Cambridge University Library, University of Cambridge
Moderator/Chair:Ulrike Ilg, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut, Firenze
Paper 512-aTrees of Virtues and Vices
(Language: English)
Jennifer O'Reilly, Department of History of Art, University College Cork
Paper 512-bVisualizing Salvation: The Role of Arboreal Imagery in Manuscripts of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis
(Language: English)
Sabrina Funkner, Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Universit├Ąt Kassel

This session, most closely linked to the previous one, is dedicated to the overall phenomenon of shaping knowledge. The visual organisation of the material influenced not only the way it was perceived. It determined at the same time, and more subtly, also its interpretation, especially in the case of the Trees of Virtues and Vices. They sometimes include the imagery of Christ’s ancestors, so that their moralizing qualities are enhanced and expanded. Hence, they function as visual compendia interconnecting in their arboreal shape various branches of knowledge and setting it into the context of the history of salvation as in the widely used late medieval devotional book, the ‘Speculum Humanae Salvationis’ (IV.2). The session concludes with the discussion of an extraordinary example of moralizing arboreal imagery, the late medieval ‘Phallus-Trees’ in profane wall-painting in Northern Italy and Tirol (IV.3).