The part religion played in questions of national identity in early modern England is a familiar historical theme, yet little work has been done on how this worked culturally. Nowhere is this more visible than in the seeming contradiction of a militantly Protestant nation such as England, that had a high regard for Catholic art. It is this dichotomy, the tensions between art and anti-Catholicism, that forms the central investigation of this book. During the late seventeenth and eighteenth century, religious art was closely identified with idolatry, and the use of images was one of the most obvious markers of the boundary between Protestantism and Catholicism. This manifested itself in an unease about the status of the religious image in English society, which was articulated in religious tracts, anti-Catholic propaganda, polemical debate, court cases and numerous other places. In light of these attacks upon 'idolatry', the fact that a great deal of Catholic art was so highly regarded and sought after seems puzzling. By discussing English attitudes towards the works of Italian painters (including Raphael, Michelangelo and Domenichino) and the ways in which native artists sought appropriately Protestant ways of emulating them, this volume offers a fascinating perspective on the dichotomy that existed between English appreciation and disapproval of Catholic culture. By taking this cultural and artistic approach and applying it to the broader historical themes, a new and invigorating way of understanding religion and national identity is offered.
One of the six titles short-listed for the British Art Journal's 'William MB Berger Prize for British Art History' 2007 ’… this is an excellent guide to a neglected aspect of the interplay between art and religion in England…’ Art and Christianity ’In Haynes' well-argued, extensively researched and amply illustrated book, with its well thought-out chapters, she investigates issues such as the 'Protestant gaze' and draws well on contemporary journals, pamphlets and other accounts to explore the mental entanglements arising from 'great' art that nevertheless posed dangers of idolatry.’ The Art Book ’In this interesting, well-illustrated and pioneering work, Clare Haynes introduces one of the more intriguing paradoxes of the ’ long eighteenth century ’. …there is much of value in this work, and it is to be hoped that it will be (as the author promises) the first-fruit of a career examining the vital interaction between faith and art in this crucial era.’ English Historical Review ’Pictures and Popery makes a bold and most welcome foray into a neglected area of English cultural history, opening avenues of enquiry that have been largely ignored for a generation or more.’ Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies ’This excellent, accessibly written, and carefully evidenced study addresses the intriguing and long-neglected issue of religious painting and […] sculpture in England after the Reformation… Other merits aside, the bibliography of this book is a must-have!’ Catholic Historical Review ’This is an intelligent and engaging book … Clare Haynes succeeds in revealing late Stuart and early Georgian England as a far less narrowly rational place than is sometimes supposed.’ The Burlington Magazine ’Pictures and Popery is an important contribution to a growing body of work that scrutinizes the intersection of art and religion.’ Church History ’This book richly illuminates a largely neglected area of British art history, an
Contents: Introduction: art and anti-Catholicism; The Grand Tour: art in the maintenance of the cultural hegemony of the gentleman; Raphael's religion: the interpretation of Catholic pictures in England; Collecting Catholic pictures; Ornamenting Anglicanism: images and idols; Conclusions, Bibliography; Index.