Return to list of Projects
The Motif of the Wound as a Well in Art, Literature and Devotional Practice in Late Medieval England
Visit project website
Funded by: AHRC, SGSAH
Main contact: Johanna Pollick
This thesis will examine period medical sources and visual cultures relevant to understandings and treatments of wounds to explain how these might have informed artistic representations, devotional practices, and dramatic expressions of the wounds of Christ during the later middle ages. The thesis will firstly explore the origins, evolution and distribution of the motif of the wound as a well, and its place within devotions to the Five Wounds and the heart of Christ in the late Middle Ages. I will then consider miracle accounts, hagiography, and other textual, artistic and archaeological evidence pertaining to holy wells and the mystical and miraculous experiences surrounding them, as well as contemporary medical and theological conceptions of both wounds and wells, such as the works of the fourteenth-century physician John of Arderne, in order to draw conclusions about the functions and significance of literary and pictorial representations of Christ's wounds as wells or springs in late medieval England.