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The politics of counter-reformation iconography and a quest for the Spanishnessof neapolitan art

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Chapter Summary

In early modern Europe politics and religion are insoluble parts of a binary system, and so are political and religious iconography. The fusion between political and religious iconography is nowhere more evident than with the Spanish Hapsburgs. Key issues of Counter-Reformation theology and pillars of Catholic orthodoxy such as the Eucharist, the Trinity or the Immaculate Conception, were adopted and indeed incorporated into the dynastic imagery of the Catholic Kings, representing their piety and devotion, and, therefore, undisputed role as foremost defenders of the Catholic faith and legitimate rulers of the world. This chapter addresses the questions that have been mostly avoided in art historical literature: whether and how the politics of Counter-Reformation iconography in Hapsburg Spain had an impact on Naples and the Spanish dominions in Southern Italy, and also how far the production and consumption of art was, directly or indirectly, shaped by these politics.

Keywords: counter-reformation theology; Italy; Naples; Neapolitan Art; politics; religious iconography; Spanish Hapsburgs



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