Thursday, 3 November 2005

Naked truth...

I attended a joint History and Art seminar entitled "Holy eroticisim in an era of censorship: images of Saint Mary Magdalene during the Counter Reformation" by Una D'Elia. Very interesting. Not incredibly erotic (by today's standards) of course but, as a librarian, it's interesting to see the objects of censorship or rather those objects that are not censored despite our assumptions of the past and of religion. The point of the discussion was not only the art and the historical context but the reaction and non-reaction to this "scandalous" religious art. It seems that during this period (approx. 16th and 17th century), censors were more interested in fighting against in-print "obscenities" rather than nude or scantily clad religious figures in paintings. Rather the opposite today.

Also, coming from a background of philosophy and librarianship, it's interesting to follow the process and see the results of information gathering regarding artwork from the past. Not only is time a great destroyer of information but art is not always generous with its revelation. For example, many stories about Mary Magdalene are known primarily through strong literary denials of them. We know that many people believed such and such because there are so many surviving works that argue against such belief. It's also interesting to think about how you can truly dig into the artists intentions or people's opinions in artistic fields, and does the topic seep into the academic analysis, i.e. is there much poetic license taken when discussing poetry?

I like attending things like this. Although it's not really in my field, librarianship and philosophy can really sneak into almost any topic. We're very general and overarching (underpinning) like that. Also, interdisciplinarity is being stressed and regarded as necessary these days. I'm just doing my part. And it doesn't hurt to see breasts while I'm doing it. *laugh*


stark said...

What? No comments on this topic? C'mon! Don't be lazy!

Anonymous said...

*Shivers* I Uuuh I Uuuh See naked art pieces!!*Runs away screaming* You've tainted my eyes with this unholy filth.....More please >:D

Sincerely demented,

Jenn W. :D