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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Art and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Europe

Eighteenth-century Europe witnessed monumental upheavals in both the Catholic and Protestant faiths and the repercussions rippled down to the churches’ religious art forms. Nigel Aston now chronicles here the intertwining of cultural and institutional turmoil during this pivotal century.

            The sustained popularity of religious art in the face of competition from increasingly prevalent secular artworks lies at the heart of this study. Religious art staked out new spaces of display in state institutions, palaces, and private collections, the book shows, as well as taking advantage of patronage from monarchs such as Louis XIV and George III, who funded religious art in an effort to enhance their monarchial prestige. Aston also explores the motivations and exhibition practices of private collectors and analyzes changing Catholic and Protestant attitudes toward art. The book also examines purchases made by corporate patrons such as charity hospitals and religious confraternities and considers what this reveals about the changing religiosity of the era as well.
An in-depth historical study, Art and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Europe will be essential for art history and religious studies scholars alike.

320 pages | 60 color plates, 190 halftones | 7 x 8 4/5 | © 2009

Architecture: European Architecture

Art: European Art

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"Art and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Europe is an important book about a much-neglected subject, and it is my sincere wish that art historians read it. It reveals not only the importance of religion to eighteenth-century society but also the potential of art to contribute to that importance. Aston has given art historians his view of a large, intricate, and mostly still-uncharted field of immensely rich material."

Michael Yonan | CAA Reviews

Table of Contents

1    The Reformation and Counter-Reformation Inheritance, c.1520-1700
2    Art and the Religious Culture of Europe
3    The State and Religious Art
4    The Churches and Religious Art
5    Religious Art in Public Spaces Outside the Churches
6    Elite Private Patrons and Religious Art
7    Religious Buildings and their Contents
8    Funerary Art and Religious Life
9    Popular Religious Art in Europe
10  Religious Art and the Influence of the Market
11  Revolution and Religious Art
Select Bibliography
Photo Acknowledgements

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