L.A. (Lieke) Smits, MA

  • PhD student
  • Medieval religious culture

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 6553
E-Mail: l.a.smits@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Centre for the Arts in Society, Oude Nederlandse L&C
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
P.N. van Eyckhof 1
2311 BV Leiden
Room number 1.04b

Fields of interest

  • Medieval art history
  • Spirituality, mysticism and monasticism
  • Relationship between images and texts
  • Role of materiality and corporeality in medieval religious culture


In the spirituality of the later Middle Ages, images played an increasingly important role. In my research, I show the importance of the material image can be understood in relation to the imagery inspired by the Song of Songs. Important renewals in the spirituality of the twelfth century, the period in which the foundations were laid for the mystical interpretation of the Song, are essential to the understanding of the role of the image in the later Middle Ages.

With an interdisciplinary approach, I examine both texts and visual images. I ask questions with regard to the nature of textual and visual images, the interaction between the two, and the way medieval readers/viewers interacted with images. I focus on the image of the mystical kiss of the mouth, which is particularly relevant because it shows how one of the most sensual images could be used to describe the highest state of mystical union with God.

Curriculum vitae

2015-present: PhD researcher at LUCAS, Leiden University (supervisors: prof.dr. W. van Anrooij and dr. E. den Hartog)
2012-2014: ResMA Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies (track Medieval), Utrecht University
2008-2012: BA Art History, Leiden University (cum laude)

Last Modified: 10-12-2015