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This ‘mysterious canvas’, originally painted for one of Poussin’s closest friends and fellow-artist, Jacques Stella, now hangs in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard.
As an independent scholar, she is currently conducting research into the encoding of the hermetic traditions in Renaissance and Seventeenth-century art and literature, including evidence for proto-masonic symbolism and ritual practice.
RESPONDENTS to papers are invited to send a brief email with their interests in the areas of: Secrecy related to: French Surrealism in the 1930s 19th Century Hermeticism and Magnetism Musical Modes Imagery drawnfrom Bibblical story and Greek myth Swedenborg 17th Century painting in the Netherlands POSITION PAPERS Respondents may be asked to prepare short Position Papers from which they may contribute during the relevant panel session.
Accepted Position Papers will be published on the CCWE website.
Academic approaches to Poussin’s art have a tendency to treat his subject-matter as fossilized cultural memes – the stock topoi of sacred or secular art – to be interpreted in socio-historical, psychological or aesthetic terms, rather than as possessing spiritual content.
On Dante’s hermeneutic scale of the four levels of interpretation: literal/narrative, allegorical, moral and anagogical, modern scholarship seldom ventures beyond the third level.
While this theme is undoubtedly present, an exclusive focus on natural history is too reductive, and forecloses on more esoteric readings of the composition.
It is only when this is viewed in the light of metaphysical traditions that we discover a more profound rationale for Poussin’s ‘mysterious’ conception.His sophisticated schema encodes a complex pattern of alchemical and planetary symbolism, consistent with Neo-Platonic and Hermetic conceptions of cosmology and the transcendent destiny of the human soul.Further confirming this anagogical interpretation, the artist left behind a number of clues in the form of some mythographical notes, and in a more explicit detailing of his ideas in one of his preparatory sketches.THE CAMBRIDGE CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF WESTERN ESOTERICISM 3rd ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10th OCTOBER 2009 THE LURE OF SECRECY: WESTERN ESOTERICISM & THE ARTS This year’s conference is one of a series of CCWE conferences that continue and deepen research specifically in the field of Western Esotericism and the Arts, with a primary focus on secrecy.CALL FOR PAPERS Participative panel discussions will focus on secrecy: its positive, negative and ambiguous aspects, its uses and abuses in relation to literature, music and the visual arts, these may be expressed in such themes as: vision, transformation, truth, the divine the unknown, the future, death, the afterlife power, control, anti-establishment aims, membership of an elite language, texts, places, teachers revelation, interpretation, levels of consciousness, ambiguity codes, ciphers, correspondences, magic, hypnotism, hallucination in the context of their relevance to the political, cultural and social demands of their time.Cardiac rehabilitation is a valuable treatment for patients with a broad spectrum of cardiac disease.