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Members' Research Report Archive

The Art and Material Cultures of Pilgrimage

Kathryn Barush, Research Associate, 2012 – 2013

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Aidan Hart, Saint Joseph of Arimathaea at Glastonbury, c. 2005. Private collection

My work continues to explore the art and material culture of pilgrimage and the notion of the transfer of “spirit” from sacred sites and objects such as relics to artistic representations such as paintings, labyrinths, icons, maps, and Stations of the Cross. My thesis (University of Oxford, 2012) examined these ideas in a nineteenth-century British context, but the parameters of my recent endeavors have expanded both temporally and geographically. I am working on an essay examining concepts of pilgrimage in the film cycle A Walk through Wooda by London-based filmmaker Chiara Ambrosio. A piece on the German American artist and pilgrim Lewis Miller (1796 – 1882) has been published in Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide (spring 2013). I have recently presented papers on the art of the Glastonbury pilgrimage and the legend of Saint Joseph of Arimathea (from works by William Blake [1757 – 1827] to contemporary icon painter Aidan Hart) at the College of William and Mary Institute for Pilgrimage Studies (fall 2012) and at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Theological Union, Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology (spring 2013). In addition to my work at CASVA, I am also a research affiliate for the Yale University Material and Visual Cultures of Religion project, directed by Sally Promey.