The cats and dogs that appear in some art works depicting members of the Holy Family have been interpreted by art historians in different ways: as purely genre elements; as symbols of witchcraft or faithfulness; or in the case of the cats in certain drawings by Leonardo and Michelangelo as animate forms of Augustine’s simile of Christ as a mouse trap for Satan.
Using the evidence of primary texts along with comparison of late medieval with 16th and 17th century versions of these animals, this paper will propose additional symbolic meanings, and in addition, it will suggest a new interpretation of Leonardo’s cats.
Whilst Irish High Crosses have received much scholarly attention, the stone sculptures of Scotland remain somewhat understudied. Interpretative comment will be offered on the differences in the depictions of Adam and Eve in the stone sculptures of Iona, Pictland, and Ireland signifies as part of a network of relationships between art, literature, theology, and liturgy rather than part of an evolutionary process of independent artistic development.
Adam and Eve provide an excellent starting point for examining the relationship between Irish and Scottish figurative iconography in stone monuments as they are found in different parts of Scotland and are well-depicted in Irish High Crosses.
This paper considers a small group of viking-age carved stone monuments from the York hinterland. Traditionally, these stones have been interpreted as depicting religious scenes and motifs, whether Christian in theme or alluding to Norse paganism. The paper also identifies and discusses two previously unrecognised images of women, and argues that all these stones are contemporary secular portraits. It situates them within an analysis of the concept of secular status in Anglo-Scandinavian society.
This paper will focus on the 14th century wall paintings at South Newington in Oxfordshire, and on the Giffard family (probably Thomas and Margaret) who commissioned and funded the high-quality north-aisle murals. This is indicated by the inclusion of heraldic devices and donor figures, as well as the presence of a unique (in medieval wall painting) representation of Thomas of Lancaster, a political opponent of Edward II who executed for treason in 1322 and venerated by some as a saint. The architectural features of the north aisle indicate it was extended and remodelled when the wall paintings were executed in the 1330s. The area was almost certainly private with limited lay access, which raises the question of painting function. Drawing on comparisons with other churches (including Corby Glen in Lincolnshire where Margery Croill funded the construction of the north aisle), this paper will also examine documentary evidence such as wills, bishops’ registers and manorial documents to consider the precise function of wall painting in private space.