Book Series The Normativity of Sacred Images in Early Modern Europe, vol. 1

Sacred Images and Normativity: Contested Forms in Early Modern Art

Chiara Franceschini (ed)

  • Pages: 320 p.
  • Size:216 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:37 b/w, 97 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58466-9
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59346-3
  • E-book
  • Available
  • Contains contributions in Open Access


“Ultimately, one can only thank the editor and authors for a stimulating collection of fascinating case studies, each of which is approached in creative and interesting ways. This timely series has the potential to unearth a significant amount of relevant visual and textual material in the years to come and will fine-tune our understanding of clashing and fusing norms in the Catholic visual realm in Europe – and maybe even elsewhere.” (Lind Mueller, in 21: Inquiries into Art, History, and the Visual, 1, 2023, p.156)


Chiara Franceschini is Professor of Early Modern Art History at the LMU and leads the ERC project and team SACRIMA, The Normativity of Sacred Images in Early Modern Europe. Her work is situated at the crossroads of the history of art, early modern history and visual culture. She has published Storia del Limbo (Feltrinelli, 2017), where she explores the debates surrounding salvation without baptism and images of limbo from Mantegna to Michelangelo, and she is currently preparing a new monograph on conflicts surrounding religious images in early modern Europe.


Early modern objects, images and artworks often served as nodes of discussion and contestation. If images were sometimes contested by external and often competing agencies (religious and secular authorities, image theoreticians, inquisitions, or single individuals), artists and objects were often just as likely to impose their own rules and standards through the continuation or contestation of established visual traditions, styles, iconographies, materialities, reproductions and reframings.

Centering on the capacity of the image as agent — either in actual legal processes or, more generally, in the creation of new visual standards — this volume provides a first exploration of image normativity by means of a series of case studies that focus in different ways on the intersections between the limits of the sacred image and the power of art between 1450 and 1650.

The fourteen contributors to this volume discuss the status of images and objects in trials; contested portraits, objects and iconographies; the limits to representations of suffering; the tensions between theology and art; and the significance of copies and adaptations that establish as well as contest visual norms from Europe and beyond.


Images as Norms in Europe and Beyond: A Research Program
Chiara Franceschini
I. Images and Trials

CHAPTER 1 Fumi-e: Trampled Sacred Images in Japan
Yoshie Kojima
CHAPTER 2 Too Many Wounds: Innocenzo da Petralia’s  Excessive Crucifixes and the Normative Image
Chiara Franceschini
CHAPTER 3 Wounds on Trial: Forensic Truth, Sanctity,  and the Early Modern Visual Culture of Ritual Murder
Cloe Cavero de Carondelet
CHAPTER 4 The Image and Cult of Sette Arcangeli  facing Roman Censorship
 Escardiel González Estévez

II. Contested Portraits

CHAPTER 5 The Return of Andrea Casali: Legal Evidence, Imposture,  and the Portrait in Late Renaissance Italy
Mattia Biffis
CHAPTER 6 Simulating and Appropriating the Sacred: The Background to a Papal Ban on Saintly Portraits of Non-Saints
James Hall
CHAPTER 7 Ritratti rubati: Portraits of Post-Tridentine Saints as pia fraus
Nina Niedermeier
CHAPTER 8 Ignatius of Loyola as a Normative Image
Steffen Zierholz

III. The Norm and the Copy

CHAPTER 9 In between Sacred Space and Collection:  An Altarpiece from Augsburg and the Norms of Catholic Art around 1600
Antonia Putzger
CHAPTER 10 The Tradition of Change in Copies of the Santa Casa di Loreto: The Case of San Clemente in Venice
Erin Giffin
CHAPTER 11 Sebastiano del Piombo: The Normative Sacred Image between Italy and Spain
Piers Baker-Bates

IV. Pictorial and Material Depths

CHAPTER 12 The Reception of Divine Grace in Hendrick ter Brugghen’s Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John
Josephine Neil
CHAPTER 13 Alonso Cano’s The Miracle of the Well:  Material Forms, Temporalities, and the Invention of Miraculous Marian Images
Livia Stoenescu
CHAPTER 14 Middle Natures, Human Stone: Fossils, Ribera, and Fanzago at Certosa di San Martino, Naples
Todd P. Olson

Photo Credits