Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Art, Astrology, and the Apocalypse: Visualizing the Occult in Post-Reformation Germany
Authors: Morris, Jennifer A.
Advisors: Kaufmann, Thomas DaCosta
Grafton, Anthony T.
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Art
Subjects: Art history
Religious history
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This project explores the interplay between art and astrology in German-speaking lands after the Reformation. Covering a broad range of artworks across a variety of media, the dissertation describes general trends in contemporary manifestations of astrology in art. Each chapter examines this material intersection from an interdisciplinary perspective, setting objects into their respective socio-cultural, intellectual, and religious contexts. In doing so, the essays suggest the extent to which astrology permeated daily life across social classes and vocations, particularly in the Lutheran sphere, despite the supposed decline of magic in the Protestant north during the period. This project thus underscores the extent to which astrology as a form of occult thinking not only flourished after the Reformation, but also became an integral component of many Lutherans' spiritual worldview - one in which anxieties over, and curiosity about, the End of Time were ever-present. Chapter One considers how reformers like Philipp Melanchthon promoted astrology as a form of natural science that complemented Lutheran faith, and how contemporary notions about humoral balance and planetary influences manifested in artworks like Lucas Cranach's Melancholia series. Beginning with a discussion of the overlap between art and astrology in Wittenberg, the chapter next surveys the presence of astrological studies at other (newly) Protestant universities, and finally examines the production, and collection, of related artworks in these centers of learning. Chapter Two looks at art, astrology, and religion at some of the lesser-known Protestant courts in German-speaking lands. In dual case studies of Albrecht von Preußen at his court in Königsberg and Elector Palatine Ottheinrich at his courts in Neuburg and Heidelberg, the chapter builds an image of these astrologer-princes as active collectors, patrons, and even designers of astrological objects. Chapter Three explores astrology and art vis-à-vis Protestant mercantilism and bourgeois collecting culture in cities like Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Basel. Studies of doctor Melchior Ayrer and merchant Lienhard Hirschvogel illuminate the connection between astrological iconography and Lutheran teachings on man's hubris and the need for salvation. Chapter Four discusses the wide-ranging presence of astrology in public life, from churches and town squares to popular prints and pamphlets.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Morris_princeton_0181D_11199.pdf172.17 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.