The ‘Soul’ of Wood

I’ve been reading about the intrinsic qualities of different woods used in the arts. While I have long been a fan of Michael Baxandall’s Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany (1980), I started to review some newer scholarship:

Christina Nielson, “Carving Life: The Meaning of Wood in Renaissance Sculpture” in The Matter of Art. Materials, Practices, Cultural Logics, c. 1250-1750, ed. Christy Anderson, Anne Dunlop, and Pamela H. Smith, University of Manchester Press, 2014, and

Gregory C. Bryda, “The Exuding Wood of the Cross at Isenheim,” The Art Bulletin, 100:2, 6-36 (2018).




In Germany, I considered making pitch glue and became interested in sap and bark in terms of craftsmanship and as materia medica. I am also interested in the ramifications for this kind of work in terms of the material of ivory.

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