Quid est sacramentum?

Visual Representation of Sacred Mysteries in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1700’

Series:

Edited by Walter Melion, Elizabeth Carson Pastan and Lee Palmer Wandel

‘Quid est sacramentum?’ Visual Representation of Sacred Mysteries in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1700 investigates how sacred mysteries (in Latin, sacramenta or mysteria) were visualized in a wide range of media, including illustrated religious literature such as catechisms, prayerbooks, meditative treatises, and emblem books, produced in Italy, France, and the Low Countries between ca. 1500 and 1700. The contributors ask why the mysteries of faith and, in particular, sacramental mysteries were construed as amenable to processes of representation and figuration, and why the resultant images were thought capable of engaging mortal eyes, minds, and hearts. Mysteries by their very nature appeal to the spirit, rather than to sense or reason, since they operate beyond the limitations of the human faculties; and yet, the visual and literary arts served as vehicles for the dissemination of these mysteries and for prompting reflection upon them.

Contributors include: David Areford, AnnMarie Micikas Bridges, Mette Birkedal Bruun, James Clifton, Anna Dlabačková, Wim François, Robert Kendrick, Aiden Kumler, Noria Litaker, Walter S. Melion, Lars Cyril Nørgaard, Elizabeth Pastan, Donna Sadler, Alexa Sand, Tanya Tiffany, Lee Palmer Wandel, Geert Warner, Bronwen Wilson, and Elliott Wise.

The Place of the Viewer

The Embodied Beholder in the History of Art, 1764-1968

Kerr Houston

In recent decades, art historians and critics have occasionally emphasized a dynamic, embodied mode of looking, accenting the role of the viewer and the complex interplay between beholders and works of art. In The Place of the Viewer, Kerr Houston shows that an attention to the position and physical experiences of beholders has in fact long informed art historical analyses – and that close study of the theme can lead to a fuller understanding of the discipline, the act of viewership and individual works of art. Simultaneously attentive to historical ideas and contemporary scholarship, this book identifies a vein of thought that has been generally overlooked, and proposes new ways of seeing familiar works and traditions.