“Painting the Plasticity of the Virgin’s Healing Plants: Grünewald’s Heller Altarpiece in Frankfurt’s Dominican Church,” Gregory Bryda
October 28 @ 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies and the Department of Art History.
2:30 pm, Hagen Room (Elvehjem 150): Workshop for graduate students and faculty. Please contact Claire Kilgore (email@example.com) to reserve a place and receive a copy of the reading.
5 pm, Elvehjem L150: Public lecture: “Painting the Plasticity of the Virgin’s Healing Plants: Grünewald’s Heller Altarpiece in Frankfurt’s Dominican Church”
In Matthias Grünewald’s altarpiece for Jakob Heller in Frankfurt’s Dominican Church, a patron motivated by care for the sick and the medicinal qualities of plants commissioned an altarpiece with a ritual function particular to a specific time of year. During the so-called Virgin Thirty (Frauendreißiger), the approximately thirty days between Mary’s Assumption (15 August) and Birth (8 September), plants came to be laid at the altar to be blessed and thus rendered sanctified. Drawing on intersections of a sanctioned religious tradition and folk practice, this talk unveils a layer of meaning to the altarpiece that has thus far been missed, and a sensitivity on the part of patron, artist, and viewers to the seasonal relationship of plants to the ritual calendar both within and beyond the walls of the church.