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It is said that seeing is believing. In this Creative Reactions Special, we will explore how people relate to images and how they are used to convey important information. Join us for a journey through the ages from the portrayal and cultural significance of leprosy in 15th century artwork to the secret history and hidden social insights of tattoos. We will also investigate why certain patterns can cause visual phobias and how microscopes are being used to study the diversity of life.
Picturing Leprosy in Franciscan Visual Culture
Dr Diana Bullen Presciutti (Senior Lecturer - School of Philosophy and Art History )
This talk examines the representation of leprosy in fifteenth-century Franciscan visual culture. In late medieval Europe, leprosy was considered both a disease, with symptoms such as skin lesions and disfigurement, and a social status, one associated with broader concerns about contamination and sin. For the Franciscans, leprosy offered the opportunity to demonstrate Christ-like compassion by embracing that which society rejected. In the images discussed here, the leper hospital becomes the key site for the performance of humility, with Franciscans presented as effective medical practitioners.
Ten Pictures, Ten Psychological Effects
Dr Geoff Cole (Senior Lecturer - Department of Psychology)
Dr Geoff Cole will show ten images. Each reveals an intriguing psychological effect which Dr Cole will explain. These include the fact that the world has no colour or sound, how artists create certain effects, and a classic TV/film production effect that no one knows about!
The Unseen World: Science and Art through the Microscope
The microscope has the power to reveal an entire world that is unseen to the naked eye. This fascinating, minuscule realm has without a doubt taken our understanding of life to new levels, while also inspiring artists over centuries. In this talk, I will highlight a few microscopy milestones, show some of our work done at Essex, and look at harmony and friction between science and art, as seen through the microscope.
Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed
In this talk, Matt will discuss his recent exhibition "Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed". Spanning 400 years from the 17th century to the present day, the exhibition includes 400 objects including photographs; drawings; paintings; prints; commissioned sculpture; tattoo tools; and several pieces of preserved human skin. As the most intimate of all art forms, the talk argues that the history of tattooing becomes a proxy through which broader art and cultural histories of Britain can be read, with insights into class, gender, empire, anxiety, nationalism, politics, religion and more.