WEEK FOUR: 4 - 8 August 2014

Course 25: Dr Eileen Rubery

Queen of Heaven and Humble Servant: The Image of Mary from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance


This course is now FULL

In the Bible, Mary, the Mother of God, almost disappears from view after the nativity.  In art, however, from the medieval period, her image proliferated.  She was depicted by artists major and minor, and in all media, more frequently even than the adult Christ and her imagery powerfully influenced the representation of secular women, too.  Our course explores how Mary became the archetypal cult figure, and how differently the enthusiasm for her was expressed by men and women, priests and laity, rulers and ordinary people.  We will investigate the differences in the perception of  Mary in Byzantium, Syria, Egypt, and in the West, and at different times. We will compare her with other powerful women, from pagan mythology, from the Bible and from history. Many different image types will be explored in the context of relevant Church writings - from Mary, Queen of Heaven to Mary, Madonna of Mercy. Some of the most memorable representations of women produced in art are of Mary, and through them we will assess the multitude of ways people viewed both her and the role of women in society more widely.  Visits will include the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.