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The Bible and Art.
The Bible and the Visual Imagination.
Imaging the Bible in Wales. The Bible and Art. Art in the Abrahamic Faiths.




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The Shadow and The Real

The Bible and Painting Symposium
Manchester Art Gallery

Saturday 22 September 2007

This is the fourth of a series of symposia and conference strands jointly organised by the Centre for the Bible and the Visual Imagination, University of Wales, Lampeter and the Centre for Studies in the Visual Culture of Religion, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. The aim is to: stimulate discussion and study; facilitate the publication of academic scholarship; and promote public awareness and participation at the crossroads of  Biblical Studies, Art History and Practice, and Visual Cultural Studies.

Valuable insights into the narrative of the Bible are often gained through an appreciation and critical study of the cultural afterlives of its characters, events, imagery, and doctrines. Artistic expressions of biblical themes and ideas can convey the essence of the biblical text and involve the viewer more personally and vividly than a purely literal reading of it. Moreover, visual expressions of the Bible can draw the viewer into the very subject matter itself, serve as an interpretative or exegetical tool, illuminate the text (in the sense of adorning, illustrating, and casting light upon it), as well as provide a commentary upon the religious and theological values of the producer, percipient, and social and cultural context of the artwork.

Conversely, the study of biblical texts can illuminate the artwork, helping to establish, for example, its iconographical and narrative significance, and didactic, liturgical, and devotional intent and function. While the disciplines of Biblical Studies and Art History and Visual Culture are mutually beneficial, rarely do they interact significantly in the context of serious academic research and teaching. Furthermore, little research has been conducted on the nature of the complex relationship that exists between the textual and visual articulation of biblical thought, or in order to develop a theoretical framework in which to examine the various types of correspondence between word and image in the biblical context.

The Bible & Painting

With this in mind, this interdisciplinary symposium makes use of existing methodologies in the disciplines of the History of Art and Visual Culture and Biblical Studies and explores new approaches that encourage the systematic investigation of visual expressions of biblical subject matter. The symposium is structured around paintings held at the prestigious Manchester Art Gallery.

Booking information | Symposium Speakers | Manchester Art Gallery

Oil painting by Ford Madox Brown.
Ford Madox Brown, Work, detail, 1852–65
Image © Manchester City Art Gallery