‘Quid est sacramentum?’ Visual Representation of Sacred Mysteries in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1700 investigates how sacred mysteries (in Latin,
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.
Walter S. Melion, Ph.D. (1988), is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Art History at Emory University, where he also directs the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. He has published extensively on Northern art and art theory and on Jesuit image theory.
Elizabeth (initial?) Pastan, Ph.D. (1986) is Professor of Art History at Emory University, and President of the American Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi, the body of scholars devoted to the study of stained glass. A medievalist, she has published extensively on stained glass and issues of patronage, as well as the Bayeux Embroidery.
Lee Palmer Wandel, Ph.D. (1985), is the WARF Michael Baxandall and Linda and Stanley Sher Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She has published extensively on the Reformation, including books on poor relief, iconoclasm, and the liturgy.
Art historians, historians, religious historians, scholars of visual culture, theologians, liturgists. Keywords: mystery, mysterium, sacrament, sacramentum, visual representation, visual discernment, enigma, parable, hermeneutics, christology, infancy, passion, resurrection, eucharist.