This may be in the nature of free association, but Laurinda Dixon has done
much good work on alchemical iconography in the work of Bosch. I don't know
that it directly concerns heresy but her work should be part of any
discussion of alchemy. all best, sharon
----- Original Message -----
From: "Aleks" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2000 11:14 PM
Subject: Re: Censoring religious art (was Re: Theologians and Art)
> > Pat Cullum mentioned that there are many byways that the question could
> > lead to. I like to go to one of the byways...
> > For several years I had a question which I have not yet had a
> > answer from many colleagues I asked, neither I came across a good
> > The question is what form of control or censorship existed in the
> > time if the work of art deviated from the acceptable teaching of the
> > To put the question in different way, if the artist(s) or the patrons
> > to create a different form that can be interpreted differently to the
> > doctrine or belief of the day; i.e. could be heretical, or simply
> > unacceptable. What could happen? Are there any examples?
> This is something which I will be looking into in the (post-doc) future.
> Although there is plenty of material in the so-called 'fringe sphere'
> in itself has some really interesting ideas if disjointed and compiled
> into often
> very shaky conclusions) no serious academic work has been done on this
> subject - I have
> yet to look at the book by Lynda Harris on the heretical symbolism in
> the work
> of Bosch (any opinions or reviews?).
> It is perfectly plausible to suggest that heretical notions could be
> symbolically within medieval art. Why not? This is of course an
> intricate subject
> and we have to start with definitions of 'heresy', 'dissidence' -
> drawing the line
> between popular misconceptions and direct opposition to the
> establishment of the Church.
> Then there are pagan undertones to consider - something that can perhaps
> be measured
> when looking at the evolution of hybrid gargoyles for example. But I
> won't elaborate unless
> you want to open up a full discussion on this topic.
> There is one intensively studied sphere of potentially pseudo heretical
> symbolism - the history of alchemical iconography - again, another
> > One answer I had from Dr. Eamon Duffy during a coffee break in one of
> > conference that different bishops in different regions behaved
> > Example English bishops did not censor many of the manuscript's
> > illustrations, but some continental bishops censored only the
> > for the locally used or produced manuscripts.
> Yes, it seems very likely that Christianity was never a coherent unit in
> that everybody working for the Church behaved in a singular fashion
> (especially visible at the time of
> the conversion) - of course, this is often taken for granted yet
> forgotten in sweeping generalisations of popular dissidence,
> iconographic and ritual variety.
> Aleks Pluskowski
> Department of Archaeology
> University of Cambridge