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Proteus (PROTEUS 2)
C. Göttler
Last Things
Art and the Religious Imagination in the Age of Reform

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XXXIV+437 p., 156 b/w ill. + 25 colour ill., 156 x 234 mm, 2010
ISBN: 978-2-503-52397-2
Languages: English
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Based on a detailed study of visual and textual sources, most of which were previously unknown, this book contributes to an ongoing interdisciplinary discussion of the changing functions, meanings, and values of material and mental images in early modern art and religious practice.

The biblical expression providerenovissima ('the foreseeing of the Last Things') brought about a vast exegetical, didactic, and devotional literature that made use of a rich imagery of vision and sight. The artistic play with – and, in some cases, actual use of – optical, telescopic, and mirroring devices pointed to and expanded the limitations of corporeal sight, while at the same time blurring the distinctions between the miraculous, the marvellous, and the curious. Based on a detailed study of visual and textual sources, most of which were previously unknown, Göttler’s book contributes to an ongoing interdisciplinary discussion of the changing functions, meanings, and values of material and mental images in early modern art and religious practice. Centring on various sets of art works and artefacts, she argues that the imagery of the Last Things was linked to key problems of visual representation and to an increasing awareness of the artwork as a site of communication and exchange. The book sheds new light on the dynamics of response and the place of the viewer as well as on visual strategies and techniques of enhancing the efficacy of an artwork, making it memorable, emotionally engaging, and alive. It reintroduces notions of materiality and craft into the discussion of art, thus exploring a theme central to early modern thought but largely neglected in scholarship until recent years.

Table of Contents

 List of Illustrations

 Acknowledgements

 Author’s Note

 Abbreviations

 Introduction: Last Things and the Vision of the Imagination

 Chapter 1: Indulgenced Prints of Saint Gregory’s Miraculous Mass

 Chapter 2: Sites for the Devout and Sites for the Curious: Limbo, Purgatory, and Hell at Varallo

 Chapter 3: Memory-Images of the Netherworld and their Subversion in the Age of Reform

 Chapter 4: Hearts, Mirrors, and Wheels: Last Things in Late-Sixteenth-Century Northern Prints

 Chapter 5: Shaping the Soul: Giovanni Bernardino Azzolino’s Novissimi in Wax

 Chapter 6: The Eye as Thief: Mental and Material Images in Meditation

 Chapter 7: Jan Brueghel’s Poetic Hells

 Epilogue: Fables of Saturn and Vulcan

 Selected Bibliography

 Index

 

Review

"Last Things is a triumph in the genre of visual culture, presenting a wide swath of material on the theme of early modern memory and eschatology. Göttler's text also offers an impressive and detailed engagement with previous research. [...] Last Things is a must-read for scholars who have been following the ever-growing field of memory studies." (Jessica Buskirk, in CAA Reviews, September 23, 2011, URL http://www.caareviews.org/reviews/1703)

"The wealth of information, geographical and chronological extent, and variety of documentation make this volume quite a formidable read. (...) the book is innovative in scope and subject and truly interdisciplinary in its use of documents and visual material." (R. Panzanelli, in: Renaissance Quartely, Vol. 64, No. 4 (Winter 2011), p. 1229-1231)

"Some books must be sipped, not gulped, because they have been distilled from long research and erudition. This large, richly illustrated book must be counted among them. (...) The book offers up a feast for readers of this journal (...). (L. Silver in Sixteenth Century Journal, XLII/3, Fall 2011, p. 811-812)

Interest Classification:
Fine Arts & Performing Arts
Art History (general)
Renaissance art history
Modern History (1501 to the present)
Early modern history (1501-1800) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history
Religious history

This publication is also distributed by: ISD, Marston
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