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Judy Chicago and the Vision of Love in the Song of Songs

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- J. Cheryl Exum is Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, and the author of numerous scholarly works on the Bible. Her books include Tragedy and Biblical Narrative; Fragmented Women: Feminist (Sub)versions of Biblical Narrative; Plotted, Shot, and Painted: Cultural Representations of Biblical Women; and, most recently, The Song of Songs, A Commentary. She locates the poetic genius of the Song in its ability to bring love to life on the page before us – immortalizing love as ‘strong as death’ – and to its unusual portrayal of love from both a woman’s and a man’s point of view. When she first saw Voices from the Song of Songs at the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2001, she was fascinated by the way that Judy Chicago, like the biblical poet, juxtaposes female and male voices to express the mutuality of love. It is mutuality such as we find nowhere else in the Bible or, according to Chicago, in art history, where the focus is almost entirely on male desire.

This talk is part of the New Hall Art Collection series.

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