Shakespeare Connected - The Material Faith of Shakespeare
PATTERNS OF PIETY
Late medieval piety placed great emphasis on Saints as mediators between humans and God. They were a familiar and supportive presence in everyday life, providing a means through which people could seek divine protection or relief from illness and misfortune. Saints also provided examples of faith and fortitude in adversity, with graphic images of their martyrdoms painted on walls.
This carved wood sculpture of St John (SBT 1997-23) represents the type of sculpture that could be seen in every parish church on the eve of reformation, occupying ledges or in niches as a focus for devotion. It has lost its original painted surface, but originally it would have looked rich and realistic. It is the kind of image the Elizabethan Homily Against the Peril of Idolatry condemned as ‘one dumbe idoll or image standing by it selfe’.
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