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'Quae lecta Canisius offert et spectata diu': The Pictorial Images in Petrus Canisius's De Maria Virgine of 1577/1583

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Chapter Summary

Saint Petrus Canisius's De Maria Virgine incomparabili et Dei genitrice sacrosancta libri quinque (Five Books on Mary, Incomparable Virgin and Most Holy Mother of God), is the first Jesuit treatise on the Virgin Mary. This chapter focuses on two illustrations - the Pulcherrima Virgo from Books I and II, and the Annunciation from Book III - that support Canisius's account of the Virgin as a viewer of images and an epitome of contemplative image making. It addresses the question of how and why Marian doctrine, for Canisius, is bound up with the cult of images, and specifically with the prayerful act of beholding the effigies Mariae Virginis, that proves central to the doctrinal and meditative program of the Mariale.

Keywords: Marian doctrine; Saint Petrus Canisius; Virgin Mary



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