Eloquent Images

Evangelisation, Conversion and Propaganda in the Global World of the Early Modern Period

Edited by Giuseppe Capriotti, Pierre-Antoine Fabre, and Sabina Pavone

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The Christian image in the process of modern globalisation

Drawing on original research covering different periods and spaces, this book sets out to appreciate the specific place of images in the history of evangelisation in the long modern period. How can we reconceptualise the functions of the visual mediation of the gospel message, both in terms of the production and reception of this message and in terms of its effective mediators, artists, religious, and cultural ambassadors? The contributions in this book offer multiple geographical and historical insights regarding the circulation of the image on the global scale of the Christianised world or the world in the process of being Christianised, from China to Iberia. Combining the contribution of historians and art historians, the authors highlight the points of intercultural encounter and tension around preaching, catechesis, devotional practices, and the propagandistic use of images.

Through its aesthetic and social study of the image, and by examining the inner and outer borders of Europe and the mission lands, Eloquent Images contributes significantly to the history of evangelisation, one of the major dynamics of the first European globalisation.

Contributors: Pierre-Antoine Fabre (EHESS, Paris), Clara Lieutaghi (EHESS Paris), Silvia Notarfonso (Università di Macerata), Silvia Mostaccio (UCLouvain), Mauro Salis (Università di Cagliari), Valentina Borniotto (Università di Genova), Gwladys Le Cuff (Paris-Sorbonne – EHESS Paris), Mauricio Oviedo Salazar (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), Maria João Pereira Coutinho (IHA/FCSH/NOVA Lisbon), Sílvia Ferreira (IHA/FCSH/NOVA Lisbon), Paulo De Campos Pinto (Universidade Católica Portuguesa), Lorenzo Ratto (Università di Genova), Stephanie Porras (Tulane University), Arianna Magnani (Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia), Michela Catto (Università di Torino), Federico Palomo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Roberto Ricci (Istituto storico italiano per l’età moderna e contemporanea, Roma), Francesco Sorce (independent scholar), Maria Vittoria Spissu (Università di Bologna).

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Fields and frontiers of religious images: An introduction
Giuseppe Capriotti, Sabina Pavone, and Pierre-Antoine Fabre


Evangelicae Historiae Imagines as a paradigm of the Tridentine’s Image (16th–17th centuries)
Pierre-Antoine Fabre

The transcultural power of image : Giulio Aleni’s Life of Christ, and its diffusion between Europe and China
Arianna Magnani

Revealing images of Blessed Rodolfo Acquaviva
Roberto Ricci

Production, use and resemantisation of Marian images between evangelisation of mendicant orders and political propaganda in Spanish Sardinia (16th–17th centuries)
Mauro Salis

Destroy to replace: Evangelisation through images in missions in the East and West
Valentina Borniotto

Persuading with baptismal and triumphant images : Emotional entanglements in the apologies of conversion in the Early Modern Iberian World
Maria Vittoria Spissu


‘Reading images instead of touching the divine’: When the word disembodies the figure
Clara Lieutaghi

Crucified saints in the early seventeenth century : Models and devotional practices from the orthodox to the liminal in Spanish Europe
Silvia Mostaccio

A Protestant case of the presence of God : The heart as the material aspect of divine experience and evangelisation in Jan Luyken’s Emblem XIV
Mauricio Oviedo Salazar

Enlightening St. Ignatius through the flame of arts : A singular artistic and iconographic programme in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Évora
Maria João Pereira Coutinho, Paulo Campos Pinto, Sílvia Ferreira

Splendori delle tenebre : Nocturne paintings on stone in Verona in the age of Agostino Valier
Lorenzo Ratto


Governing angels, apocalyptic iconology, and imperialism : Reinterpreting the Apocalypsis nova
Gwladys Le Cuff

Baptising the Turks in Constantinople: “The Triumph of the Church” by Philippe Thomassin
Francesco Sorce

Religious imagery, conflict and coexistence in the seventeenth-century Balkans
Silvia Notarfonso

Quis ut Deus? Michael the Archangel across the early modern Spanish empire
Stephanie Porras

Global images for global worship : Narratives, paintings and engravings of the martyrs of Japan in seventeenth-century Iberian worlds
Federico Palomo

Stars, dragons and luminous crosses in the Chinese sky : The Jesuit mission’s connected perspective on the supernatural in China (17th century)
Michela Catto

About the authors


Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 230 × 170 × 17 mm

348 pages

Illustrated with colour section of 32 pp.

ISBN: 9789462703278

Publication: August 16, 2022

Languages: English

Stock item number: 149702

Giuseppe Capriotti is professor in early modern art history at the University of Macerata.
Pierre-Antoine Fabre is professor at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris, and studies modern Catholicism and evangelization.
Sabina Pavone is professor of early modern history and global history at the University of Macerata.

Een prikkelend boek dat overtuigend laat zien hoe belangrijk beeldtaal was in de globaliserende vroegmoderne wereld. - Jonas van Tol, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, Volume 136, Issue 1, Jun 2023, p. 88 - 89, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5117/TvG2023.1.012.TOL


This is a useful book for those of us attempting to undertake a more holistic exploration of the Jesuits and of early modern Catholicism. Moreover, and I think this is what is most important across the board, the book pushes us to question the notion of early modern Catholicism itself, as such a concept often ignores both the plurality of the experiences of Catholics across the globe as well as the myriad other religious traditions that Catholics confronted in seemingly endless contexts. In this sense, this collection gives us much to consider regarding the role of images in not only European-driven evangelization, but in the ways being Catholic often existed beyond the reaches of Rome, European powers, and their imperial agents.
Clines, R. J., Journal of Jesuit Studies, 10(2), 374-376. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/22141332-10020009-02

Deze bundel van opstellen wordt pas echt interessant en vernieuwend wanneer hij inzoomt op de gebruikte beeldcultuur in China, Japan, Constantinopel … Een absolute meerwaarde is de selectie van illustraties die verder gaat dan de gebruikelijke ‘sanctjes’ uit die periode. Werkelijk een belangrijke en vernieuwende studie in het veld van de iconografie en de iconologie.
Christusrex.be, 20.02.2023

Overcoming the traditional incommunicability between historians and art historians, the authors of the essays in the book work together by "questioning" the images involved in religious propaganda from a global viewpoint. In doing so, they offer new insights from an empirical perspective.
Ivana Čapeta Rakić, University of Split