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Cover for the book The Power and the Glorification

The Power and the Glorification

Papal Pretensions and the Art of Propaganda in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Jan L. de Jong
  • Copyright: 2013
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 10
  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Illustrations: 31 color/93 b&w illustrations
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-05079-9

Hardcover Edition: $79.95Add to Cart

“This book sheds a powerful light on the great historical frescoes of High Renaissance Rome. Jan de Jong dwells on the historical situation of the popes, the meanings of history in Renaissance Europe, and the responses of contemporary viewers to these paintings. He teaches us how to see these grand and fascinating works as they were meant to be seen—and, at the same time, suggests some of the reasons why they did not have their full intended effects.”
“Jan de Jong presents us with the first systematic study of the genre of political propaganda, invented in the sixteenth century. The author shows how the papacy, under pressure from religious and secular rivals, honed and fashioned the message of its narratives to present an image broadcasting its empyrean status. The pope’s authority was underscored by showing the emperor and kings kissing his foot. His right to rule the Papal States was justified by depicting Constantine making a gift to Pope Sylvester of the lands of his western empire. The role of the pope as adjudicator and peacemaker was authenticated by representing Paul III brokering the peace between Charles V and Francis I—even if that fragile treaty lasted only a handful of years. The political propaganda pioneered in the projects studied here provided a model followed by the courts of Europe up to and beyond Napoleon’s. De Jong gives us a fresh and vivid account, some of it based on material hardly studied before.”

Focusing on a turbulent time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, The Power and the Glorification considers how, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the papacy employed the visual arts to help reinforce Catholic power structures. All means of propaganda were deployed to counter the papacy’s eroding authority in the wake of the Great Schism of 1378 and in response to the upheaval surrounding the Protestant Reformation a century later. In the Vatican and elsewhere in Rome, extensive decorative cycles were commissioned to represent the strength of the church and historical justifications for its supreme authority. Replicating the contemporary viewer’s experience is central to De Jong’s approach, and he encourages readers to consider the works through fifteenth- and sixteenth-century eyes. De Jong argues that most visitors would only have had a limited knowledge of the historical events represented in these works, and they would likely have accepted (or been intended to accept) what they saw at face value. With that end in mind, the painters’ advisors did their best to “manipulate” the viewer accordingly, and De Jong discusses their strategies and methods.

Jan L. de Jong is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Groningen.

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 The Pope, the Papacy, and the Church

2 The Pope and the King: Alexander VI and Charles VIII of France

3 The Pope and the City: Leo X and the Conservators of Rome

4 The Pope and the Emperor: Leo X, Clement VII, and Constantine the Great

5 The Pope and His Family: Paul III and the Farnese

6 The Pope and Secular Power, Muslims and Heretics: Pius IV, Pius V, and Gregory XIII

Epilogue: The Pope and the Past

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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