Winner of the ACE / Mercers' Book Award 2014
Spectacular Miracles confronts an enduring Western belief in the supernatural power of images: that a statue or painting of the Madonna can fly through the air, speak, weep, or produce miraculous cures. Although contrary to widely held assumptions, the cults of particular paintings and statues held to be miraculous have persisted beyond the middle ages into the present, even in a modern European city such as Genoa, the primary focus of this book.
Drawing upon rich documentation from northwest Italy and elsewhere, Spectacular Miracles shows how these images “work” in a range of historical contexts. Jane Garnett and Gervase Rosser vividly evoke ritual animation of the image and the phenomenology of the beholder’s experience. These images, they demonstrate, have the subversive potential of the miraculous image to bypass clerical and secular authority, a power enhanced by reproducibility—devotion is hard to control when a copy of a venerated image is held to carry the same supernatural potential as the original, even when in a digital form mediated by the Internet. Engaging with the history, anthropology, and visual culture of images and religion, Spectacular Miracles is a convincing study of the continuing power of faith and art.
|Publisher:||Reaktion Books, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||7.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Jane Garnett is a fellow and tutor in history at Wadham College, Oxford, UK. She has published and taught widely on the history of Christianity, visual culture, gender, and philosophy. Gervase Rosser is a fellow and tutor in the history of art at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, UK. His research and publications have focused on the social, visual, and religious culture of medieval and Renaissance cities.
Table of Contents
1. The Time and Space of the Miraculous Image
2. The Invented Image
3. The Activated Image
4. Communion with the Image
5. The Power of the Infinite Copy
6. Portrait in an Altered Landscape
List of Illustrations