The CIHA Italia Committee invites proposals for 8 of the 9 Sessions of the 35° CIHA World Congress Motion: Transformation

Descriptions of mystical experiences have been mostly analyzed to highlight the relation between visions and real images: in recounting their visions, in effect, mystics let their visual heritage emerge, that is, the images they love to use in their private meditation and the popular iconography of their territory: they see with their minds what they have already seen with their eyes. In this panel, however, we aim to investigate the figure of the mystic as an inspired artist, able to model and build his own work of art entering in empathy with his visual and intellectual heritage. Like a painter or a sculptor, the mystical mind selects literary sources and stylistic and iconographic models to build the mental image and create his work of art.

Recently, in effect, such mystical experiences have been interpreted as the extreme outcome of an ability to look deep down, learned through practice, through a look educated in the use of images and a mind skilled in “inner visualization”. Going beyond this perspective and analyzing the production of images through empathy, should be possible also to verify if and how the “embodied simulation” works not only in the fruition of a work of art, but also in the field of the production of images, originated from the mystical experience.

Therefore, for this panel, we intend to collect papers that investigate the figure of the mystic as a “divine” artist, able to product effective mental images (often linked to real pictures), which are often described in reports of visions or in devotional writings.

The themes and subjects for discussion could be:

  • visions and the visual arts
  • the meaning of the visions and mental images in hagiographic literature
  • transformation and censorship of works of art in visions
  • visions and vivification of works of art
  • visions and “inner visualization”
  • visions and mnemonic technique
  • visions, embodiment, embodied simulation
  • comparative studies on visions between different religious culture