Dr Ayla Lepine (Fellow in Art History, University of Essex / Ordinand, Westcott House)
Dr Heather Webb (University Lecturer, Department of Italian, Fellow, Selwyn College, University of Cambridge)
Female Performances of Compassion in Late Medieval Italy
Dr Heather Webb
This talk examines the examples of late medieval Italian holy women who 'performed' the Passion or presented, publicly, visible and remarkable enactments of compassion. Focusing on Dominican penitent women, such as Catherine of Siena, Stefana Quinzani, and Giovanna of Orvieto, I will review accounts of these performances and interrogate the terms that have been used historically to discuss these spectacles. How does the term 'performance' help us think through these accounts?
Stitched Theology: Victorian Anglican Sisterhoods and the Performance of the Passion through Textiles
Dr Ayla Lepine
Ecclesiastical embroidery, revived in the wake of the Victorian Oxford Movement and highly influential throughout the Anglican world, is a site for performance and sacred gesture. This practice and its theological implications highlights rich intersections between twentieth-century British architects and Anglican monastic communities. In this talk, theology and visual culture will be brought together in the specific case study of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor and their recently discovered textiles archive. By focusing on ASSP in relation to textiles, Christianity and visual culture as prayerful performance, an account of how and why powerful centres of religious life for women were involved in the production of radically innovative sacred spaces and works of art can be built in an interdisciplinary way.
About the speakers
Dr Heather Webb is University Lecturer in Italian at Cambridge and a Fellow of Selwyn College. She is the author of The Medieval Heart (Yale, 2010) and Dante's Persons: An Ethics of the Transhuman (OUP, 2016). She has edited, with Dr George Corbett, two volumes of Vertical Readings in Dante's 'Comedy' (Open Book Publishers, 2015, 2016) and is working on the third volume, due to be published in 2017.
Dr Ayla Lepine is a Fellow in Art History at the University of Essex and an ordinand at Westcott House, Cambridge. A Gothic Revival specialist, her work focuses on intersections of monasticism and modernity in art and architectural history. Following posts at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Yale's Institute of Sacred Music, she is currently completing a book, Medieval Metropolis (Bloomsbury, 2017).
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