Religion, the Supernatural and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe

An album amicorum for Charles Zika


This volume brings together some of the most exciting new scholarship on these themes, and thus pays tribute to the ground-breaking work of Charles Zika. Seventeen interdisciplinary essays offer new insights into the materiality and belief systems of early modern religious cultures as found in artworks, books, fragmentary texts and even in Protestant ‘relics’. Some contributions reassess communal and individual responses to cases of possession, others focus on witchcraft and manifestations of the disordered natural world. Canonical figures and events, from Martin Luther to the Salem witch trials, are looked at afresh. Collectively, these essays demonstrate how cultural and interdisciplinary trends in religious history illuminate the experiences of early modern Europeans.

Contributors: Susan Broomhall, Heather Dalton, Dagmar Eichberger, Peter Howard, E. J. Kent, Brian P. Levack, Dolly MacKinnon, Louise Marshall, Donna Merwick, Leigh T.I. Penman, Shelley Perlove, Lyndal Roper, Peter Sherlock, Larry Silver, Patricia Simons, Jennifer Spinks, Hans de Waardt and Alexandra Walsham.

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Jennifer Spinks is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Manchester. Her work often concerns print culture and contested religious identities in northern Europe, and her publications include Monstrous Births and Visual Culture in Sixteenth-Century Germany (2009).

Dagmar Eichberger teaches Late Medieval and Early Modern Art History in Trier and Heidelberg and is academic coordinator of artifex. She is co-editor of Civic Artists & Court Artists (with Philippe Lorentz) and Visual Typology in Early Modern Europe (with Shelley Perlove).
“a fitting tribute to the career of a pathbreaking scholar.”
Michael D. Bailey, Iowa State University. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (Fall 2016), pp. 1048-1049.

Scholarship, Friendship and Border-Crossing
Jennifer Spinks and Dagmar Eichberger

Part I: Supernatural Agency and Communities of Belief

The Collaboration From Hell: A plague strike force at S. Pietro in Vincoli, Rome
Louise Marshall

The Demonic Possession of Richard Dugdale
Brian P. Levack

Salem Girls (1692): Problems of gender and agency
E. J. Kent

“Ringing of the bells by four white spirits”: Two seventeenth-century English earwitness accounts of the supernatural in print culture
Dolly MacKinnon

Part II: Religion and Cultural Authority

“It is a great disgrace for our city”: Archbishop Antoninus and heresy in Renaissance Florence
Peter Howard

Endor and Amsterdam: The image of witchcraft as a weapon in the political arena
Hans de Waardt

Deep Down in Spirituality: Efforts of seventeenth-century New Netherlanders to access God
Donna Merwick

Paraluther: Explaining an unexpected portrait of Paracelsus in Andreas Hartmann’s Curriculum vitae Lutheri (1601)
Leigh T. I. Penman

Part III: The (Un)natural World

“Making feast of the prisoner”: Roger Barlow, Hans Staden and ideas of New World cannibalism
Heather Dalton

Signs that Speak: Reporting the 1556 comet across French and German borders
Jennifer Spinks

Disorder in the Natural World: The perspectives of the sixteenth-century provincial convent
Susan Broomhall

De Profundis: Linear Leviathans in the Lowlands
Larry Silver

The Ferocious Dragon and the Docile Elephant: The unleashing of sin in Rembrandt’s Garden of Eden
Shelley Perlove

Part IV: Artefacts and Material Culture

Salience and the Snail: Liminality and incarnation in Francesco del Cossa’s Annunciation (c. 1470)
Patricia Simons

Luther Relics
Lyndal Roper

The Art of Making Memory: Epitaphs, tables and adages at Westminster Abbey
Peter Sherlock

The Pope’s Merchandise and the Jesuits’ Trumpery: Catholic relics and Protestant polemic in post-Reformation England
Alexandra Walsham


All interested in the history of religion, visual culture and supernatural beliefs in early modern Europe. It will particularly interest art historians as well as historians of religion
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