Date of Submission

Spring 2023

Academic Program

Art History and Visual Culture

Project Advisor 1

Katherine Boivin

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Arts of Bard College.

The following three chapters consider the boxwood peapods against the context gathered from different sources. In chapter one, I look at the inspiration for the shape of the carvings: the peapod. Today, peapods like snap peas and snow peas, are common throughout the world, and while the medieval world had more seasonal access to the plant, peapods and similar legumes were often still a staple food throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, so much so that they were mentioned in the Old Testament. Chapter two turns to representations of peapods in medieval manuscripts, such as botanical illustrations and books of hours, that early sixteenth century patrons and artists might have encountered, possibly inspiring the shape of the peapod carvings. Peapods and their flowers were often included near the Virgin Mary in the margins of books of hours, devotional books usually made for women, passed down and used in the family, 4 possibly from woman to woman. The plants were not limited to the Virgin, appearing in other scenes around Christ and other Saints, with a less clear symbolic connection. Chapter three largely considers the material background of the peapods, such as where the wood was sourced, how it was carved, who commissioned the objects, and the collections the objects were apart of. Finally, in chapter four, I explore the interiors of the peapods, and the possible symbolism of specific details. Along with this, I try to expand upon the possible ownership of the objects and reasons for depicting specific scenes.

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Creative Commons License

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