Wood, Flesh, Vermillion, Blood: Making Supernatural Sculpture

Monday 27 November 2017, 4.30PM

Speaker(s): Christina Neilson (Oberline College)

Miracle-working objects were regarded as a distinct category of image during the early modern era, singled out for their efficacy in responding to petitions by viewers, as sites of sacred intercession, and for their ability to manifest miraculous behavior. Although most miraculous images were made by anonymous craftspeople, some were made by known artists, such as Donatello’s crucifix in Padua. This paper will explore how sculptors in Europe and the New World engaged with miraculous images in creating objects with movable parts (tongues, eyes, legs, arms, etc.), approximating the miraculous in their statues, sometimes creating statues that had the capacity to come to life. By considering sculpture within this context we gain a deeper understanding of naturalism. Instead of competing with nature, very often sculptors were vying with the supernatural. 


Location: BS/005 Bowland Auditorium