The Bowdoin College Museum of Art will celebrate its two winter exhibitions, "Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture" from the Victoria and Albert Museum and "The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb's Book of Genesis," with an open reception on Thursday.

Paul Ruddock, Chairman of the Board of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and his wife, author and trustee emeritus Jill Shaw-Ruddock '77, will be on campus the day of the opening reception.

The exhibits' openings will be supplemented by several informational lectures.

On Thursday, February 17 at 4:30 p.m., Kathryn Smith, Associate Professor of Art History at NYU, will present her lecture "Bringing the Holie Companie of Heven to Earth: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture in its Religious, Visual and Social Contexts." Professor Smith's talk will begin in Smith Auditorium in Sills Hall.

In addition, Jessica Brantley, Associate Professor of English at Yale University will hold a lecture Thursday, February 24 at 4:30 p.m. to describe the work of the two exhibits. Her talk, titled, "Looking at the World: Text and Image in Late-Medieval Devotion," will be in Smith Auditorium.

Finally, Jamal Elias, a professor of the University of Pennsylvania will hold a lecture, "The Lives and Deaths of Images in the Islamic World" in Smith Auditorium on Thursday, March 3 at 5 p.m.

Both exhibitions focus on controversial interpretations of religious texts. "The Bible Illuminated" features comic-book style depictions of the first book of the Old Testament. The drawings cover the walls of the anterior exhibition room of the Museum. Crumb created 207 black-and-white drawings, depicting biblical stories including Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah and others.

A highly influential artist in the underground comic world, Crumb designs with a close attention to detail and often conveys controversial political messages with his depictions.

He has worked as a comic designer for over 40 years, often shocking and enticing readers with stories like Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural, which abound with sexual themes and graphic depictions.

Crumb's depiction of the Book of Genesis unabashedly addresses sexual innuendo and violent altercations, while maintaining a sense of perspective and humor.

Crumb's illustrated graphic novel of the Book of Genesis came together in 2009 after a four-year effort, ending in a compilation of 207 images with word-for-word descriptions of the text. A story on the comic by National Public Radio maintained that Crumb researched meticulously to prepare for the project, with extensive research in earlier language versions of the first book of the Old Testament to support his interpretations.

"The Bible Illuminated" will be on display from February 8 to May 8.

The exhibit will continue its artistic interpretations of religious texts with "Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture." The exhibit will feature sculptures from the United Kingdom's prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum, which boasts the world's largest collection of medieval English Alabaster.

These Medieval devotional objects are some of the first to be displayed outside the Victoria and Albert Museum. The sculptures were created between 1350 to 1530, a time period when artisans focused on the production of Christian works of art carved from alabaster, and adorned with high-quality materials typical of contemporary English painting designs like paint, gesso and gilding.

Curated by Arts Services International, "Object of Devotion" comprises 60 alabaster panels and freestanding figures which will be on display from February 17 until May 15.

The exhibit's opening will begin Thursday, February 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the Museum, free and open to the public. Refreshments and an open bar will be open to those of age.