Hybrid lecture: “The Last Days of the Virgin Mary in Medieval Art” on March 5, 2024 at 6PM

On behalf of the Director of the Netherlands Interuniversity Institute for Art History (NIKI), Michael W. Kwakkelstein, we have the pleasure to invite you on March 5 at 6PM to the hybrid lecture entitled ‘The Last Days of the Virgin Mary in Medieval Art’ by Natsuko Kuwabara, Assistant Professor of the Waseda Institute of Advanced Study (Waseda University) in Japan.

The theme of the Last Days of the Virgin was a frequent subject of pictorial representation in the Mediterranean area from the ninth century to the end of the fifteenth century, despite the absence of any canonical evidence for Mary’s death and Assumption. As the Council of Ephesus (431) declared the Virgin Mary as Mother of God, her death and posthumous glory became the center of interest among theologians. Subsequently, a large number of Apocrypha were produced – among these, sixty-three texts still survive, but they account for substantially different endings to the Virgin’s story: only her soul was elevated; soul and body were elevated together; soul and body were elevated at two separate moments.  
Natsuko’s research aims to clarify the relationship between these texts and the genesis and development of the known iconographies. Furthermore, this study focuses on the function of this theme across the Mediterranean through the understanding of production contexts, and the pictorial programs of individual case studies. 

Natsuko Kuwabara

Natsuko Kuwabara has been Assistant Professor at the Waseda Institute of Advanced Study (Waseda University) in Japan since 2022. She received her PhD from the Università degli Studi di Firenze in 2018.

In 2016/2017, she received a fellowship from the Roberto Longhi Foundation and in 2019, she was awarded an international fellowship from the NIKI for foreign postdocs. From 2019 to 2022, she received a Research Fellowship for Young Scientists (SPD) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Her research focuses on the genesis, development and function of iconographies of the Last Days of the Virgin Mary from medieval to Renaissance Italy. Natsuko is the author of the book The Last Days of the Virgin Mary: A Genealogy of the Iconographies in Medieval and Renaissance in Italy (December 2023, The University of Nagoya Press).

The conference is open to the public free of charge. Pre-registration is required to guarantee seating: Please click here to register for online attendance.

The NIKI is located in Florence, Viale Evangelista Torricelli 5.