Friday, October 28th: Lecture and Workshop by Professor Gregory Bryda (Barnard College, Columbia University)

Professor Gregory Bryda of Columbia University’s Barnard College will visit the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus on Friday, October 28th to deliver a lecture and workshop for the Medieval Studies 2022 – 2023 series “In Sickness and in Health: Modes of Care in the Middle Ages.” The Religious Studies Program is a co-sponsor of Professor Bryda’s visit. Other sponsors include  the Anonymous Fund, the Department of Art History, and the Center for European Studies.

2:30 pm, Hagen Room (Elvehjem 150): Workshop for graduate students and faculty. The workshop will be on the role of folklore studies in the modern writing of Germany’s medieval history—why postwar historians have shied away from it, and why we might want to reconsider its value. Open to all interested Graduate Students and Faculty. Please contact Claire Kilgore ( to participate.

5 pm, Elvehjem L150: Public lecture: “Painting the Plasticity of the Virgin’s Healing Plants: Grünewald’s Heller Altarpiece in Frankfurt’s Dominican Church”

In Matthias Grünewald’s altarpiece for Jakob Heller in Frankfurt’s Dominican Church, a patron motivated by care for the sick and the medicinal qualities of plants commissioned an altarpiece with a ritual function particular to a specific time of year. During the so-called Virgin Thirty (Frauendreißiger), the approximately thirty days between Mary’s Assumption (15 August) and Birth (8 September), plants came to be laid at the altar to be blessed and thus rendered sanctified. Drawing on intersections of a sanctioned religious tradition and folk practice, this talk unveils a layer of meaning to the altarpiece that has thus far been missed, and a sensitivity on the part of patron, artist, and viewers to the seasonal relationship of plants to the ritual calendar both within and beyond the walls of the church.