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Open Access Early Modern Jesuit Arts and Jesuit Visual Culture

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Early Modern Jesuit Arts and Jesuit Visual Culture

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A View from the Twenty-First Century

image of Journal of Jesuit Studies

This stock-taking of research on the arts and visual culture of the Society of Jesus since the turn of the twenty-first century entails an assessment of the status of the big questions about the existence, nature, and purposes of the Jesuit use of things visual. It is a propitious moment to reflect on whether there have been gains for the definition of our subject from the visual turn in the humanities. Rather than surveying a wide and diffuse field of publications published in a rather short span of time, here a handful of issues are isolated that have attracted particular intensity of research or that pose significant questions for the future. These issues include much continuing research into the central regulation of and the architectural dialogue between the worldwide foundations of the Society, the widespread adoption of the Spiritual Exercises as an explanans for Jesuit pictorial cycles, and related issues around meditational images. A clear articulation is called for of the extent to which Jesuit “images” were embedded in discourses around art, or not, and the varied classes of images (propaganda, scientific, etc.) outside of the discourse of art so that we might arrive at a definition of a Jesuit visual culture.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Art, University of Toronto, evonne.levy@utoronto.ca

This stock-taking of research on the arts and visual culture of the Society of Jesus since the turn of the twenty-first century entails an assessment of the status of the big questions about the existence, nature, and purposes of the Jesuit use of things visual. It is a propitious moment to reflect on whether there have been gains for the definition of our subject from the visual turn in the humanities. Rather than surveying a wide and diffuse field of publications published in a rather short span of time, here a handful of issues are isolated that have attracted particular intensity of research or that pose significant questions for the future. These issues include much continuing research into the central regulation of and the architectural dialogue between the worldwide foundations of the Society, the widespread adoption of the Spiritual Exercises as an explanans for Jesuit pictorial cycles, and related issues around meditational images. A clear articulation is called for of the extent to which Jesuit “images” were embedded in discourses around art, or not, and the varied classes of images (propaganda, scientific, etc.) outside of the discourse of art so that we might arrive at a definition of a Jesuit visual culture.

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2014-01-01
2016-12-04

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