Carved in Stone? The Green Man in Gothic Sculpture

The Leaves of Southwell Project Presents:
a talk by Cassie Harrington
9 March 2021
2.00pm on Microsoft Teams

Flourishing in the margins of medieval visual culture, foliate heads and masks enriched manuscripts and buildings. Painted on the page, and carved on corbels, ceiling bosses, capitals, tympana, fonts, and misericords, these so-called ‘Green Men’ permeated both the public and private spaces of Gothic Europe. Such foliate carvings are a ubiquitous and familiar part of the architectural framework of medieval cathedrals and church buildings. However, despite their popularity, little attention has been paid to them by medieval art historians and much of their contemporary implications have been lost or forgotten.

From enchanting early Gothic survivals at the Basilica of Saint-Denis in the Ile-de-France, to the celebrated chapter house carvings at Southwell Minster in the British Midlands, this talk will examine how recovering and piecing together the historical context of foliate head iconography can shed light on its significance during the High Gothic period. It will explore the cultural and symbolic importance of these enigmatic images, their place in the intellectual history of the thirteenth century, the roles that imagination and knowledge had in their dissemination and development, and consider how they had a didactic, and not merely decorative, function.

Book your place on this insightful talk using the Book Tickets for the Talk form at the end of this page.

About Cassie Harrington
Cassandra Harrington is a medieval art historian and PhD Candidate at the University of Kent. She has research interests in sculpture, manuscripts and illumination, architecture, the transmission and reception of ideas, and the dialogue between visual and textual modes in medieval Europe. Cassie currently teaches at Kent as an Assistant Lecturer in the School of History, and is working on a reappraisal of Gothic ‘foliate head’ iconography for her PhD.

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