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Machinae Spirituales

Les retables baroques dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux et en Europe

Contributions à une histoire formelle du sentiment religieux au XVIIe siècle

B. D'Hainaut-Zveny & R. Dekoninck (ed.)
With contributions by C. Belin, A. Delfosse, N. Peeters, P. Philippot, M. Lefftz, V. Herremans, A. Lemmens, M. Barrio Olano, I. Berasain Salvarredi, J. Vander Auwera, P.M. Jones, M. Delbeke, F. Cousinié, A. Le Pas de Sécheval, P.A. Fabre & M. Serck-Dewaide
ISBN 978-2-930054-25-4
2014, KIK-IRPA, 321 p.
Available in French (with articles in English)
Out of stock

Baroque altarpieces: spiritual machines

Today, the Baroque presents itself as a fascinating mirror for our post-modern society, which some people characterise as neo-Baroque. Do we not recognise ourselves in this art of excess, with special effects that come straight from a Deus ex machina? Well, one of the most striking expressions of this vitalistic total Baroque is the altarpiece. As a spectacular art par excellence, it serves as a backdrop to the showy liturgy of the Counter-Reformation, and even as an essential 'actor' in the perception of the divine. It forms a kind of visual link between the earthly and the hereafter, but also seems to be the focal point of the visual culture of the Counter-Reformation in a relationship between the faithful and the Catholic Church that is not vertical but horizontal. The Baroque altarpiece is indeed a European phenomenon rooted in Italian artistic culture, but it nevertheless takes on specific forms in every space of the Catholic world of the 17th century. One of the spaces in which this art form was particularly rampant is that of the old Netherlands.

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This book seeks to situate these 'spiritual machines' in the socio-cultural and religious fabric of the time, while at the same time making a genealogical and typological study of their materials, forms, themes and functions. Such an approach to the cultural and religious context, to models and types, is complemented by an analysis of the spiritual and aesthetic dynamics of these altarpieces. In addition to these critical studies, an inventory of the baroque altarpieces of the former Netherlands is also included, which can be found online.

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