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religion and the arts

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Call for Papers

Special Centenary Issue of Religion and the Arts: The Poetry and Spirituality of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Edited by Jude V. Nixon

Sermons and Spiritual Writings shows how Hopkins’s mind worked. His sermons along with his parish duties inform the poems written between 1877 and 1889. Even the Oxford, pre-Jesuit poems reveal a nascent spirituality. The Ignatian and spiritual writings, which entered into Hopkins’s preaching, his daily exercises, correspondence, poetry, and other prose writings, disclose the shaping of a religious poet along with the intersections and disconnections between faith and poetry. Hopkins’s spiritual writings as a body disclose the complexities and particulars of his theology and religious belief, and comment meaningfully on contemporary religious, social, and political issues.

In anticipation of the release of the entire Collected Works of Hopkins by Oxford University Press and to commemorate the centenary of the poetry of Hopkins (1918–2018), Religion and the Arts invites scholarly articles for a special issue engaging the seminal interactions, intersections, and crosscurrents between Hopkins’s spirituality and poetry, and the diverse and complex relationship between them.

We invite submissions of around 7,000 words on any aspect of Hopkins’s spirituality. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

– Anglo-Catholicism
– Tractarianism
– Tractarian poetry & architecture
– Pre-Raphaelitism
– Scotus
– Ignatian & Catholic spirituality
– Roman Catholic hierarchy
– Liturgical practice
– Parish ministry
– Hagiography
– Mariology
– Mysticism
– Religious geo-politics
– Nature & naturalism
– Natural theology
– Environmentalism & Sustainability
– Science
– Darwinism
– Irish politics
– Poverty & society
– Gender, sexuality, & race
– Asceticism & aestheticism

Please submit electronically a 5000–10,000 word article in MLA Style to Religion and the Arts. Submission should be received by 10 January 2018. Contact:


Rafael Soriano: The Artist as Mystic

30 January 2017–4 June 2017, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College.
Cuban painter Rafael Soriano (1920-2015) was an acclaimed master of geometric abstraction and a global figure in the twentieth-century art world; his work resonated with international artists of Latin American origin like Roberto Matta, Rufino Tamayo, and Wifredo Lam.As a result of the Revolution in Cuba, in 1962 Soriano immigrated to the United States. An unprecedented examination of his life's work, this exhibition focuses on the multiple influences that nurtured a style where, in his words, "the intimate and the cosmic converge."

Featuring more than ninety paintings, pastels, and drawings from the Rafael Soriano Family Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Museum of the Americas, and Long Beach Museum of Art as well as other institutions and private collections, The Artist as Mystic begins with Soriano's works in the Cuban geometric abstract style. It then moves to his transitional, experimental paintings from the 1960s and the 1970s reminiscent of surrealist biomorphism. The exhibition concludes with luminous, mystical imagery in paintings from Soriano's mature period.

Accompanied by a bilingual English-Spanish catalogue with contributions from American, Cuban-American, and Cuban scholars, The Artist as Mystic opens at the McMullen from January 30 to June 4, 2017. The exhibition then travels in June 2017 to the Long Beach Museum of Art and in October 2017 to the Patricia & Philip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University.

Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections

12 September 2016–11 December 2016, Multi-Venue Display Includes McMullen Museum of Art, Harvard Library, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Beyond Words, which comprises a total of 260 bound volumes, single leaves, and cuttings from nineteen Boston-area libraries and museums, is the largest exhibition of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and early printed books ever to take place in North America. It also is the inaugural exhibition at the McMullen Museum's new state-of-the-art venue at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue. On display will be 180 European illuminations from sixteen Boston-area collections, dating from the eleventh to sixteenth century.

See the website for other venue and exhibition dates and additional information.

Whirling Return of the Ancestors: Egúngún Masquerade Ensembles of the Yorùbá

15 July 2016–8 January 2017, RISD Museum, Providence RI.
Whirling Return of the Ancestors
celebrates the rich and varied artistry of the ensembles worn in Egúngún masquerades—performances that celebrate the power and presence of ancestral spirits among Yorùbá peoples of West Africa. In this installation, works on loan from Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology are presented alongside a magnificent, newly commissioned ensemble from Yorùbá artisans in Benin. Egúngún masquerade regalia is constructed from disparate layers that are appliqued, patched, and sewn into panels or lappets. Some of the oldest cloth—often locally handwoven—is found at the core of each ensemble, while the outer layers present more contemporary textiles drawn from the global market. Bold and vibrant, these assemblages are multidimensional feasts for the senses.

Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt

19 October 2016–8 January 2017, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas TX.
From domesticated cats to mythic symbols of divinity, felines played an important role in ancient Egyptian imagery for thousands of years. Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt explores the role of cats, lions, and other feline creatures in Egyptian mythology, kingship, and everyday life through approximately eighty different representations of cats from the Brooklyn Museum’s
world-famous Egyptian collection.

Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan

6 December 2016–8 January 2017, Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago.
The story of Mary, Joseph, and the Christ Child has had a great appeal throughout the world as a story of a family facing both hardship and hope. See how artists across the globe have depicted the Nativity. From Armenia to Zimbabwe, learn how artists recreate the Nativity with clothing, architecture, and figures from their native countries. Remarkable in its variety of medium
and scale, this generous gift from James and Emilia Govan promises to be a memorable tradition for families of all faiths.

Every People Under Heaven: Jerusalem, 1000–1400

20 September 2016–8 January 2017, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
This exhibition will illuminate the key role that the Holy City played in shaping the art of the period from 1000 to 1400CE.While Jerusalem is often described as a city of three faiths, that formulation underestimates its fascinating complexity. In fact, the city was home to multiple cultures, faiths, and languages. History records harmonious and dissonant voices from many lands. Persians, Turks, Greeks, Syrians, Armenians, Georgians, Copts, Ethiopians, Indians, and Europeans passed in the narrow streets of a city not much larger than midtown Manhattan. This will be the first exhibition to unravel the various cultural traditions and aesthetic strands that enriched and enlivened the medieval city.
Over two hundred works of art will be gathered from some sixty lenders worldwide. Nearly  a quarter of the objects will come from Jerusalem. Among these are key loans from the city’s many religious communities, some of which have never before shared their treasures outside their walls. Every People Under Heaven will bear witness to the crucial role that Jerusalem has played in shaping world culture, a lesson vital to our common history.

The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe

21 October 2016–15 January 2017, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.
One of the world’s greatest works of literature, the Rama epic—the 2,500-year-old classic and its many versions—teems with excitement. The story of Prince Rama’s quest to defeat a powerful demonic king, rescue his abducted wife, and re-establish order in the world is also, for many, a sacred tradition. For centuries, this beloved tale has been told again and again through visual and performing arts, literature, and religious teachings in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and beyond. This exhibition invites you to explore the personalities and perspectives of four main characters: Rama; his wife, Sita; Rama’s faithful monkey lieutenant, Hanuman; and the ten-headed demon king, Ravana. Spanning the ancient to the contemporary, this major international survey of 135 artworks captures the epic in a new light. Coursing beneath the drama and fantasy of the thrilling tale, discover timeless human struggles and poignant moments that will resonate with your own story.

Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation

30 October 2016–15 January 2017, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis MN.
Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther ripped the fabric of European life by standing in open opposition to the most powerful men of his age. Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation examines his life and influence through the lens of artistic creation. Spectacular objects from both Catholic and Protestant contexts will highlight the role of art in the service of spiritual and earthly power. Changes triggered by Luther’s actions prompted debate about the function of art. Art also played a central role in the hard-hitting battle of ideas that revealed the fragility of traditional notions of truth and order. This dramatic story plays out in rarely seen masterpieces from the heart of Germany, including extraordinary paintings, monumental sculpture, sumptuous embroideries, and fabulous objects wrought in silver and gold. Visitors will experience an unparalleled close-up of Luther’s life through a remarkable assembly of his personal possessions, accompanied by recent archaeological finds from his childhood and adult homes. Manuscripts, precious books, and biting satirical broadsides will reveal the era’s turbulent intellectual vitality, a freedom of inquiry that set the stage for our modern world.

Conservation in Action: Preserving Nirvana

20 August 2016–16 January 2017, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
MFA visitors can watch and interact with conservators as the Museum’s Asian Conservation Studio in partnership with colleagues from the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art publicly restores Hanabusa Itchō’s rare masterpiece, Death of Buddha (1713)—one of the most important Buddhist paintings of its time. Hanabusa Itchō (1652–1724), best known for his satiric scenes of everyday life, enlivened the traditional scene depicting Buddha’s death through his masterful handling of the individual figures and grieving members of the animal kingdom. The painting was famous in its own time, attracting travelers to the Zen temple where it was displayed annually for more than 150 years. The conservation treatment is an elaborate process that involves completely dismantling and reassembling the scroll. The new mounting uses a custom woven reproduction of the original mounting silk made for the mfa by traditional weavers in Kyoto.The scroll painting also has elaborate gilt metal fittings carved with mythical lions, created and signed in the eighteenth century by the famed metalworker and close friend of the artist, Yokoya Sōmin.

Highest Heaven: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art from the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection

23 October 2016–23 January 2017, Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento CA.
Highest Heaven
explores a time when art flourished in the Iberian colonial possessions of the Altiplano (high plains) of South America, which stretch from northern Argentina to Peru. Through approximately 107 paintings, sculptures, ivories, objects in silver, and furniture, the exhibition traces the development and spread of the Catholic faith through the creation and use of religious art for devotion and instruction. The objects are drawn from the distinguished collection of Roberta and Richard Huber of New York City, built over the course of three decades.

Arts of Islamic Lands: Selections from The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait

31 January 2015–29 January 2017, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The renowned al-Sabah Collection is one of the greatest privately held collections of Islamic art in the world. The collaboration with the Museum, established in 2012, led to the 2013 Houston debut of sixty-seven objects ranging from carpets and architectural fragments to exquisite ceramics, metalwork, jewelry, scientific instruments, and manuscripts. This newly expanded installation more than triples the display, increasing the art on view to some 250 works that, together, present an impressive and comprehensive spectrum of Islamic art. Objects from the eighth to eighteenth centuries—made in North Africa, the Middle East,Turkey, India, the Iberian Peninsula, and Central Asia—demonstrate the development of techniques, craftsmanship, and aesthetics in
Islamic visual culture.
Among the highlights are a sixteenth-century Ottoman Turkish prayer carpet; a glass mosque lamp from fourteenth-century Cairo; an extraordinary earthenware bowl from ninth-century Iraq that transcends its humble function; early gold jewelry from Afghanistan and Syria; and opulent Mughal jewelry crafted in the refined kundan technique, including a brilliant bird pendant fabricated in late sixteenth-century India from gold, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and rock crystals.

Power and Piety: Islamic Talismans on the Battlefield

29 August 2016–13 February 2017, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
Inscriptions and images on Islamic arms and armor were believed to provide their wearers with safety and success in combat. This exhibition, featuring some thirty works from The Met collection, will examine the role of text and image in the construction and function of arms and armor in the Islamic world. Qurʾanic verses; prayers that invoke Allah, the Asma al-Husna (99 Beautiful
Names of Allah), as well as the Prophet Muhammad, his family, and companions; and mystical symbols were all used to imbue military apparel, weapons, and paraphernalia with protective powers.

The Art Of The Qurʾan: Treasures From The Museum Of Turkish And Islamic Arts

15 October 2016–20 February 2017, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC.
In recognition of one of the world’s extraordinary collections of Qurʾans, the Freer|Sackler is hosting a landmark exhibition, the first of its kind in the United States. Some fifty of the most sumptuous manuscripts from Herat to Istanbul will be featured in The Art of the Qurʾan: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, opening this fall. Celebrated for their superb calligraphy and lavish illumination, these manuscripts—which range in date from the early eighth to the seventeenth century—are critical to the history of the arts of the book. They were once the prized possessions of Ottoman sultans and the ruling elite, who donated their Qurʾans to various institutions to express their personal piety and secure political power. Each manuscript tells a unique story, which will be explored in this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.

Sacred Spaces

23 October 2015–27 March 2017, Rubin Museum of Art, New York City.
This exhibition reflects on Sacred Spaces by focusing on devotional activities in awe-inspiring places. In particular, the exhibition presents three distinct but related environments shaped by acts of veneration. The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room provides an immersive experience inspired by a traditional shrine that would be used for offering, devotion, prayer, and contemplation. Art and
ritual objects are presented as they would be in an elaborate private household shrine. The new fourth-floor installation of the Shrine Room will more than double the visitor capacity of its current location.
As atmospheric context for the shrine, visitors are transported to the Himalayas by gazing at a panoramic photograph taken in Mustang, Nepal, by Jaroslav Poncar. This impressive vista evokes the high mountainous landscape in which Tibetan Buddhism developed and still flourishes. According to Himalayan cultures, the landscape is animated and full of life and power. The forces of the ground, water, rocks, mountains, and trees all require acts of devotion to fend off dangers and invite blessings. Visitors are also invited to contemplate a video installation created by Deidi von Schaewen. The work documents a Jain communal ritual in which a massive stone sculpture is anointed every twelve years in Shravanabelgola, Karnataka, India. Devotees pour various offering substances over the figure during the course of four days. The twelve-minute, two-channel video installation of this sacred rite presents a mesmerizing display of devotional acts such as ablutions, blessings, and prayers.

Nepalese Seasons: Rain and Ritual

6 May 2016–27 March 2017, The Rubin Museum of Art, New York City.
Featuring almost fifty objects from the Rubin Museum’s premiere collection of Nepalese art and select loans, Nepalese Seasons: Rain and Ritual illustrates the enduring manifestation of rituals, agrarian festivals, and the natural environment in the art of Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley. This is the first exhibition connecting well-known deities represented in Nepalese art to rituals and festivals
surrounding the rainy season, or monsoon, and highlighting the importance of the seasons to the culture and everyday life of Nepalese people. Through this lens, the exhibition will offer visitors a new understanding of the region and its art, which is already renowned for its high quality and aesthetic appeal. As life in Nepal faces ongoing threats from natural disasters and climatic changes, Nepalese Seasons poignantly illustrates how the country’s dependence on monsoon rain continues to play an important role in its agriculture, spirituality, social culture, and art.

Gods and Heroes: Classical Mythology in European Prints

2 December 2016–2 April 2017, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee WI.
The compelling stories developed by the Greeks and Romans to explain the world around them have fascinated subsequent generations of artists. This exhibition will explore how European artists interpreted and used these ancient narratives, and the characters that populate them, to experiment with style and composition, to develop propagandistic images that promoted their patrons, and more. The prints on display cover the Renaissance through the early twentieth century and are by artists from Germany, Holland, France, Italy, and England.

Magic In The Ancient World

16 April 2016–30 April 2017, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia.
Ancient cultures believed in magic and it permeated their daily lives. In ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, and Egypt, practitioners of magic use symbolic words, images, or rituals to achieve desired outcomes through supernatural means. Through magical acts, they attempted to control supernatural powers—gods, demons, spirits, or ghosts—to accomplish something beyond the scope of human capabilities. Explore a presentation of objects associated with magical practices from the Penn Museum’s own collections in Magic in the Ancient World.

Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia

19 July 2014–14 May 2017, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This dazzling exhibition focuses on the Museum’s world-class collection of jewelry from Ancient Nubia (located in what is now Sudan). The Nubian adornments housed at the mfa constitute the most comprehensive collection outside Khartoum. As the conduit between the Mediterranean world and lands south of the Nile Valley, Nubia was known for its exotic luxury goods—especially gold. Gold and the Gods focuses on excavated ornaments from an early twentieth-century expedition by the Museum with Harvard University, dating from 1700BCE to 300CE, including both uniquely Nubian and foreign imports, prized for their materials, craftsmanship, symbolism, and rarity. Gold and the Gods includes more than one hundred treasures, including a gilt-silver mummy mask of Queen Malakaye and the famous Hathor-headed crystal pendant. The MFA is the only us museum able to mount an exhibition devoted solely to Nubian adornment drawing exclusively from its own collection.

I-Tal-Yah: An Island of Divine Dew: Italian Crossroads in Jewish Culture

30 August–16 December 2016 and 24 January–30 June 2017, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley CA.
A crossroads in world culture, Italy has been for over two thousand years a haven for many layers of immigration from the four corners of the Diaspora. Different Jewish worlds mingled together in the peninsula, while still keeping specific traits. This ensured the persistence and the coexistence of distinctive Italian, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi identities, rituals and traditions from antiquity to the the Modern Era. Jewish cultures developed within the walls of  Renaissance ghettos, during the Emancipation in the mid-nineteeth century, and into the present. While maintaining century-old traditions, Italian Jews also tested out new cultural formats that came to define Jewish modernity. Featuring prominently among these are the emergence of women as a foundational constituency of the Jewish social fabric, the printing of the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud as hypertexts, the illustration of Hebrew manuscripts—Esther scrolls and marriage contracts—as forms of “Jewish art,” the public performance of Jewish culture as “entertainment” for society at large, and the cultivation of the synagogue as a porous space fostering multicultural encounters. This exhibition presents a selection of manuscripts, books, ritual objects, textiles, photographs, and postcards collected by The Magnes over five decades to investigate the global significance of Jewish history in Italy.

Islamic Art Now, Part II

31 January 2016—Ongoing, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles.
In recent years, the parameters of Islamic art have expanded to include contemporary works by artists from or with roots in the Middle East. Drawing inspiration from their own cultural traditions, these artists use techniques and incorporate imagery and ideas from earlier periods. Ten years ago, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art began to acquire such work within the context of its holdings of Islamic art, understanding that the ultimate success and relevance of this collection lie in building creative links between the past, present, and future. Islamic Art Now, a two-part exhibition, marks the first major installations of the Museum’s collection of contemporary art of the Middle East. As the second of a two-part program, this exhibition features approximately twenty-nine works by artists from Iran, the Arab world, Turkey, and Azerbaijan,


Annual Conference of Byzantine and Medieval Studies

13–14 January 2017, Nicosia, Cyprus.
The Byzantinist Society of Cyprus (βεκ: Βυζαντινολογική Εταιρεία Κύπρου) invites papers to be presented at its First Annual Conference of Byzantine and Medieval Studies, to be held in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 of January 2017. Scholars, researchers, and students are encouraged to present their ongoing research, work in-progress, or fieldwork report on any aspect of the history, archaeology, art, architecture, literature, philosophy, and religion of Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean during the Byzantine, Medieval, and Ottoman periods. The languages of the conference will be Greek, English,
French, and German.

Folk Belief & The Supernatural in Literature and Film

20–23 January 2017, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway.
This interdisciplinary conference explores the supernatural in literature and film as well as folk belief from around the globe. Previous Island Dynamics conferences in rural Shetland (2014) and hyperurban Macau (2015) have placed traditions of the supernatural in local contexts with long, complex histories. But what happens to folk belief in places with new communities and transient residents? Can legends and rituals thrive after their originators have departed back home?
Longyearbyen (population 2,200) is the world’s northernmost town, the main settlement on Norway’s vast, largely ice-covered Svalbard archipelago. The polar night, when the sun never rises above the horizon, lasts from late October until mid-February. Risk of attack by polar bears means that people are only permitted to leave town in the company of someone with firearms training, and nightmares regarding bears are common among residents. This would seem to be an ideal incubator for traditions of the supernatural, yet most residents remain in Svalbard for only a season or a few years.


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