Sacred Trees
Sandro Botticelli, Agony in the Garden, c. 1500, tempera on panel, 20 ¾ x 13 ¾ inches

Paradise and Agony in the Garden: Sacred Trees in Italian Renaissance Art

with Dr. Bryan C. Keene
Online Event
Saturday, July 11, 2020
12:00 pm –  1:00 pm

Gardens are rich with associations, as are the trees and plants that grow in them. In art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Garden of Eden was conceived as an earthly paradise while the Garden of Gethsemane commemorated the site of Christ’s agony on the eve of his death. Those episodes from Christian tradition are linked by accounts stating that part of the Tree of Knowledge from creation formed the True Cross of the crucifixion. In this illustrated talk, curator and educator Bryan C. Keene invites guests to take a closer look at illuminations from the Bible of Borso d'Este as well as paintings by Piero della Francesca and Sandro Botticelli.

Bryan C. Keene is a curator and educator whose work promotes diversity and equity for the study and display of pre-modern visual arts, as well as for the advocacy of the LGBTQIA2+ communities. At Getty Museum, he has curated or co-organized award-winning exhibitions on the topics of global manuscript cultures and on out-groups of the Middle Ages, in addition to over ten additional projects on topics ranging from gardens and landscape painting to astronomy and astrology. He edited and contributed essays to the volume Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World through Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Publications, 2019), which features contributions by twenty-six authors on book arts from Afro-Eurasia, the Americas, and Austronesia. He serves on the Board of Directors of the International Center of Medieval Art and is an adjunct professor of art history and humanities at Pepperdine University. He holds a PhD from The Courtauld Institute of Art with a dissertation on Italian choir book illumination.