Modern America is obviously a far cry from medieval Europe. But modern Americans share an astonishing trait with those ancient Europeans: some of their understanding of the Bible comes not from reading it, but from religious artwork. Illiterate medievalists and Net-surfing global citizens, it turns out, are equally ignorant on certain biblical topics.
So says art history major Vanessa Hartel, '12, who was funded this summer by Albion College's Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (FURSCA) to analyze ways in which medieval and Renaissance artwork does—or more often doesn't—accurately reflect biblical text. She's looking primarily at images of angels and the devil, with inaccuracies that are embraced by medieval and modern societies alike.