Cecily Hughes at Brought to Life

This January, Cecily Hughes, first-year PhD student in medieval art, was able to experience Brought to Life: Painted Wood Sculpture from Europe, 1300–1700 (at SCMA from September 16, 2022–August 6, 2023). She spent the summer of 2021 contributing to the exhibition as a curatorial intern to Danielle Carrabino. The show explores the material and sensory aspects of wooden sculptures—from the properties of wood and its associations, to how and where these objects would have been interacted with—so it was especially important that Cecily attend the exhibition in person. Most excitingly, she was able to hear original recordings by the Smith College Chamber Singers, performing music by medieval composers, in tandem with viewing the art objects. These recordings were the result of a collaborative project that Cecily proposed after locating original, neumed scores by Hildegard von Bingen for chants to St. Ursula—who is figured, along with her twelve companions, in a richly painted sculpture on display in the exhibition.