Art, Piety and Destruction in the Christian West, 1500–1700: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Art, Piety and Destruction in the Christian West, 1500–1700

1st Edition

Edited by Virginia Chieffo Raguin


238 pages

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Spanning two centuries and two continents, Art, Piety and Destruction in the Christian West, 1500-1700 addresses the impact of religious tensions on art, design, and architecture in the early modern world. Beyond famous works of art such as Kraft's Eucharistic Tabernacle, the volume examines less-studied objects, including church plate and vestments, stained glass, graffiti, and Mexican images of St. Anne, created throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The collection's contributors present religious artworks from Germany, England, Italy, France, Spain, and Mexico; the media include sculpture, oil painting, fresco, metalwork, dress, and architecture. Questions of art's destruction, preservation, and censorship are discussed against the ever-present backdrop of religious conflict and varying degrees of tolerance. New information and original perspectives demonstrate the ways in which art illuminates history, and the close links between the changing values of a society and the images it displays to represent itself.


'… this book should be part of any reading list on objects in the early modern period.' Sixteenth Century Journal

'This bold and distinctive volume is a welcome departure from the traditional historiographical preoccupation with Reformation iconoclasm. It contributes to a recent wave of interest in the modification and re-contextualisation of visual art that occurred in response to the processes of reform and counterreform in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but offers something new by shifting the focus to the reception of artefacts and buildings over time. In so doing it engages in ’a global conversation about the nature of art, religion and cultural property’ (p. 17), exploring the indissoluble connections between art, faith and ideology from the early modern period up to the present day.' English Historical Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: art and religion: then and now, Virginia Chieffo Raguin; Salvaging saints: the rescue and display of relics in Munich during the early Catholic-Reformation, Jeffrey Chipps Smith; Does religion matter? Adam Kraft's eucharistic tabernacle and Eobanus Hessus, Corine Schleif; You are what you wear (and use, and see): the form of the reform in England, Virginia Chieffo Raguin; Repackaging the past: the survival, preservation and reinterpretation of the windows in St Mary's, Fairford, Gloucestershire, Sarah Brown; Preserving antiquity in a Protestant city: the Maison Carrée in 16th-century Nîmes, David Karmon; Destruction or preservation?; the meaning of graffiti on paintings in religious sites, Véronique Plesch; Inquisitorial practices past and present: artistic censorship, the Virgin Mary, and St Anne, Charlene Villaseñor Black; Index.

About the Editor

Virginia Chieffo Raguin is professor of Art History at the College of the Holy Cross. Her exhibitions and publications include stained glass, architecture, and the social/religious context of art.

About the Series

Visual Culture in Early Modernity

A forum for the critical inquiry of the visual arts in the early modern world, Visual Culture in Early Modernity promotes new models of inquiry and new narratives of early modern art and its history. We welcome proposals for both monographs and essay collections that consider the cultural production and reception of images and objects. The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to, painting, sculpture and architecture as well as material objects, such as domestic furnishings, religious and/or ritual accessories, costume, scientific/medical apparata, erotica, ephemera and printed matter. We seek innovative investigations of western and non-western visual culture produced between 1400 and 1800.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / General