The Devotional Eye: Pre-Modern and Modern Experiments in Slow Looking

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Research Forum, Research Seminars, Sacred Traditions and the Arts

The Devotional Eye: Pre-Modern and Modern Experiments in Slow Looking

Bush House, Strand Campus, King’s College London

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Donald Jackson and workshop, frontispiece of the Book of Genesis, The Saint John’s Bible, illuminated calfskin vellum (2000–2007), Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, USA.

  • Monday 14 October 2019
    PLEASE NOTE: This Date Has Passed
    6:15 pm - 7:45 pm

    Room BH (SE) 1.01, WC2B 4BG

Speakers include

  • Dr Alixe Bovey - FSA FRHistS, Head of Research, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Dr Matthew Rothaus Moser - Lecturer in Theology at Loyola University Maryland, USA

Organised by

  • Professor Ben Quash - King’s College London
  • Dr Scott Nethersole - The Courtauld Institute of Art

In this pairing of papers, we will explore the ways in which visual art might serve and support particular kinds of devotional reading.  Alixe Bovey will draw on her expertise in the art and culture of the Middle Ages, with special interests in illuminated manuscripts and visual storytelling, to discuss how this has been so historically. She will look particularly at Books of Hours. Matthew Moser will look at how this classical practice of holy reading might find new forms in the present, developing a ‘modest constructive proposal’ for contemporary theological aesthetics by practising lectio divina with the Genesis frontispiece of the Saint John’s Bible. He will explore how such a strategy for ‘reading’ an image can open up to theological interpretation without betraying its integrity as an art form.


There will be time for discussion and questions following the papers. The event will be concluded by an informal reception.

About the seminar series

The seminar on Sacred Traditions and the Arts is a joint venture between the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s and The Courtauld. It seeks to place researchers in dialogue who are working on any aspect of the sacred and visual culture. It is open to all scholars and students who have an interest in exploring the intersections of religion and art regardless of period, geography or tradition.

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