Universiteit Leiden

nl en


LAMS Lecture by Lieke Smits, Clay Play: Animated Images in the Biblical Apocrypha

Thursday 15 April 2021

ZOOM details:
Topic: LAMS lecture: Lieke Smits (Leiden University) Clay Play: Animated Images in the Biblical Apocrypha
Time: Apr 15, 2021 04:45 PM Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 672 4507 8785
Passcode: Ce6CVR^j


Lieke Smits (LUCAS), Clay Play: Animated Images in the Biblical Apocrypha

All interested are cordially invited to the next Spring lecture of the Late Antique and Medieval Studies Centre on Zoom, this Thursday 15 April, 5pm.


An apocryphal story about Jesus’ childhood, first found in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas written in Syrian or Greek in the 2nd century, narrates how Jesus moulds birds out of clay and miraculously brings them to life. This peculiar anecdote inspired later Christian, Jewish and Islamic authors. It was popular in the late medieval Low Countries, where we see its influence not only in vernacular texts, but also in small pipe-clay statuettes of the Christ Child holding a bird. In this lecture I will argue that the apocryphal story not only provided an iconographical motif, but also a model for interactions with images: it suggests that playful behaviour can lead to animation. Moreover, it draws attention to the creative process as a playful act.

Lieke Smits
This website uses cookies.  More information.