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The Birds and the Bees: Animal Sex in Medieval Art

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Darwin Lecture Theatre

Gower Street

London

WC1E 6XA

United Kingdom

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‘Birds do it, bees do it’ goes the refrain of a popular song. But how different species ‘do it’ is left to the imagination. This talk explores efforts to envision animal sex in medieval art. Taking in examples from illuminated manuscripts, Mills highlights some of the surprisingly varied responses to this theme during the Middle Ages. He also considers how depictions of animals were used to represent human sexual diversity, including bodies deemed ‘sodomitic’ or ‘hermaphroditic’. Finally, he asks how such imagery might allow us to reflect, with renewed insight, on the exuberance and multiplicity of living creatures.

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Darwin Lecture Theatre

Gower Street

London

WC1E 6XA

United Kingdom

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