Visionary Experience in the Golden Age of Spanish Art

Overview


In this original and lucid account of how Spanish painters of the 16th and 17th centuries dealt with mystic visions in their art, and of how they attempted to "represent the unrepresentable", Victor Stoichita aims to establish a theory of visionary imagery in Western art in general, and one for the Spanish Counter-Reformation in particular. He reveals how the spirituality of the Counter-Reformation was characterized by a rediscovery of the role of the imagination in the exercise of faith. This had important ...
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Visionary Experience In The Golden Age of Spanish Art

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Overview


In this original and lucid account of how Spanish painters of the 16th and 17th centuries dealt with mystic visions in their art, and of how they attempted to "represent the unrepresentable", Victor Stoichita aims to establish a theory of visionary imagery in Western art in general, and one for the Spanish Counter-Reformation in particular. He reveals how the spirituality of the Counter-Reformation was characterized by a rediscovery of the role of the imagination in the exercise of faith. This had important consequences for painters such as Velazquez, Zurbaran and El Greco, leading to the development of ingenious solutions for visual depictions of mystical experience. This was to crystallize into an overtly meditative and didactic pictorial language.

That Spanish painting is both cerebral and passionate is due to the particular historical forces which shaped it. Stoichita's account will be of crucial interest not just to scholars of Spanish art but to anyone interested in how art responds to ideological pressures.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An exploration of 16th and 17th century Spanish paintings depicting the mystical visions of such saints as St. Teresa de Avila, St. Francis, and St. Bernard. The intriguing conceit of these paintings is the artists' attempts to represent the invisible, the mysterious, and the spiritual, ultimately allowing the viewer to join the saint in the represented vision. Stoichita traces the development of Murillo, El Greco, Velazquez, and Zurbaran in their views, techniques, philosophies, and ideas. Includes photographs, both black and white and color. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Victor I. Stoichita is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He is author of A Short History of the Shadow (Reaktion, 1997) and co-author of Goya (Reaktion, 1999).
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Table of Contents


Introduction
1. Framing the Beyond: The Quest for a Definition
2. Vision and Meta-language
3. Visions and Paintings
4. The Distant View
5. The Making of a Painting
6. Representations of the Mystical Eros
7. The Seeing Body
By Way of a Conclusion
References
Bibliography
List of Illustrations
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