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Title: The Art of Confessionalism: Picturing Lutheran, Reformed, and Catholic Faith in Northwest Germany, 1580-1618
Authors: Borham, Holly
Advisors: Kaufmann, Thomas DaCosta
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Architecture
Subjects: Art history
Religious history
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation investigates the status of religious imagery in Lutheran, Reformed, and Catholic contexts in the decades preceding the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in 1618. Typical characterizations of the art created for each religious confession, which generally posit a more sober style in reaction to Protestant critiques of Catholic practice, do not fully account for the artworks commissioned by three neighboring Westphalian courts that form the core of this study. The Reformed Count Simon VI of Lippe at Schloss Brake in Lemgo, the Lutheran Prince Ernst of Holstein- Schaumburg in Bückeburg, and the Catholic Prince-Bishop Dietrich von Fürstenberg of Paderborn all looked to the imperial court of Rudolf II in Prague for artists and print models when commissioning works to decorate their palace chapels and reception halls. In addition to sharing some of the same artists, who often drew from common print sources, the ties connecting these patrons included shared borders, mutual defense pacts, marriages, and friendships. Relying on such sources as diaries, contracts, inventories, and textual marginalia, along with church ordinances, sermons, and colloquy proceedings, this dissertation lays out the close relationships that existed between these three patrons of different religious confessions, reconstructs the history of their artistic commissions, yields insights into their stylistic and iconographic choices, and establishes each artistic project in its larger cultural and confessional context. Among the themes explored are the fundamental relationship between the spiritual and material, the interplay between word and image, the role of religious and secular authority, and the reckoning of historical and liturgical time. This study also considers the limits of confessionalism from the point of view of the artists who carried out these commissions. A mix of internationally renowned and local painters, sculptors, and architects from various religious backgrounds served patrons of different confessions, demonstrating that art production was an interconfessional endeavor. This dissertation ultimately argues that confessional self-fashioning involves factors beyond theological conviction. The desire to be represented in a “princely manner” comparable with one's peers is transconfessional, leading to a re-evaulation of what defines Lutheran, Reformed, and Catholic art at the turn of the seventeenth century.
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

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