The Catholic Rubens: Saints and Martyrs

The Catholic Rubens: Saints and Martyrs


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The Catholic Rubens: Saints and Martyrs by Willibald Sauerlander

The art of Rubens is rooted in an era darkened by the long shadow of devastating wars between Protestants and Catholics. In the wake of this profound schism, the Catholic Church decided to cease using force to propagate the faith. Like Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) sought to persuade his spectators to return to the true faith through the beauty of his art. While Rubens is praised for the “baroque passion” in his depictions of cruelty and sensuous abandon, nowhere did he kindle such emotional fire as in his religious subjects. Their color, warmth, and majesty—but also their turmoil and lamentation—were calculated to arouse devout and ethical emotions. This fresh consideration of the images of saints and martyrs Rubens created for the churches of Flanders and the Holy Roman Empire offers a masterly demonstration of Rubens’s achievements, liberating their message from the secular misunderstandings of the postreligious age and showing them in their intended light.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606062685
Publisher: Getty Publications
Publication date: 04/15/2014
Edition description: 1
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 1,245,053
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Willibald Sauerländer has been a professor at the University of Freiburg; a director of the Central Institute for Art History in Munich; a visiting professor at the Collège de France, Paris, Harvard University, New York University, the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, and the University of California, Berkeley; and was a Mellon Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. His books include Gothic Sculpture in France, 1140–1270 (H. N. Abrams, 1973), Cathedrals and Sculpture (Pindar Press, 1999), and Romanesque Art: Problems and Monuments (Pindar Press, 2004). David Dollenmayer is a literary translator and emeritus professor of German at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Acknowledgments 11

Introduction 12

I Pagan Prelude: The Steadfast Death of Seneca 14

II In the Reflection of the Thirty Years War 30

1 Maria Victoria: The New High Altar for the Freising Cathedral 31

2 Dynastic Return to the Old Faith: The Archangel Michael Altar for Duke Wilhelm of Pfalz-Neuburg 41

III Corpus Christi 48

1 Christophers: The Altar for the Antwerp Civic Guard 49

2 The Wound in Christ's Side: The High Altar of the Church of the Friars Minor Recollects in Antwerp 66

3 The Savior on the Stone of Unction: The High Altar for the Church of the Capuchins in Cambrai 72

IV New Saints and Reinvigorated Veneration of the Saints 78

1 Exorcism and Mission to the Heathen: Altars for the Antwerp Jesuits 79

2 A Calabrian Miracle Worker at the French Court: The Altar Project in Honor of Saint Francis of Paola 97

3 Vision and Purgatory: Altars for Teresa of Avila in Brussels and Antwerp 104

V In the Service of the Mendicant Orders: Images of Saint Francis 114

1 The Beauty of the Cherub: The High Altar for the Capuchins in Cologne 117

2 Loving Play in the Night with the Christ Child: Pictures for the Capuchins in Antwerp and Lille 124

3 Conformitas Christi in Death: The Last Communion of Francis of Assisi 127

4 Saint Francis as Protector of a Sinful World: A Commission for the Franciscans in Ghent 134

VI Holy Helpers, Local Saints, and the Cult of Relics 137

1 "Thou Shalt Be the Patron in the Plague": The Altar of the Brotherhood of Saint Roch in Aalst, Belgium 137

2 The Early Church in Brabant: The Saint Bavo Altar in the Ghent Cathedral 142

3 Missionary Preaching and the Miracle of the Tongue: The Livinus Altar of the Ghent Jesuits 159

4 The Altarpiece above the Recovered Relic: The Image of Saint Justus for the Sisters of the Annunciation in Antwerp 167

VII The New Fervor: Veneration of Martyrs and Rubens's "Furia del Pennello" 175

1 "Behold, I See the Heavens Opened, and the Son of Man Standing on the Right Hand of God": The Saint Stephen Triptych for the Abbey of Saint-Amand 177

2 "Omnia in Luce Clarescunt"-"Everything Shines in the Light": The Altar of Saint Lawrence from Notre-Dame de la Chapelle in Brussels 190

VIII Martyred Apostles 198

1 The Veil for the Eyes of the Apostle to the Gentiles: The Altar of Saint Paul for the Rouge-Cloitre Abbey 198

2 Cross and Idol: The Martyrdom of Saint Thomas on the High Altar of the Barefoot Augustinians in Prague 202

3 Preaching from the Cross: The Saint Andrew Altar for the Flemings in Madrid 213

4 Rubens's Patron Saint on an Altarpiece above His Father's Grave: The Crucifixion of Saint Peter in Cologne 219

IX Martyrdom and Theodicy: The Massacre of the Innocents 234

Epilogue: Art Unfettered 270

Notes 276

Glossary 298

Illustration Credits 299

Index 301

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