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Maria Evangelatou on The Cult of The Virgin Mary

Excavating value systems in Byzantine visual culture

"I like to think of my work as excavating value systems and thought processes of people of a gone era - their beliefs and their experiences, and how they use literary and visual material to communicate, to negotiate their place into the world, to develop their beliefs. I'm especially interested in the cult of Mary in Byzantium. We have this society that is very male dominated, they worship an exclusively male divinity but they are also very dedicated to the mother of God, whom they perceive to be an immaculate virgin, very different from all other women, who are more related to Eve. So I explore images and texts that were created about Mary and try to understand how they influence gender identity at the time. What opportunities did they give to women for their own self-perception?"