Cover image for Baroque Seville: Sacred Art in a Century of Crisis By Amanda Wunder

Baroque Seville

Sacred Art in a Century of Crisis

Amanda Wunder

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$84.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-07664-5

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232 pages
8" × 10"
34 color/59 b&w illustrations/5 maps
2017

Baroque Seville

Sacred Art in a Century of Crisis

Amanda Wunder

“Although one can find many studies devoted to specific Sevillian artists of the seventeenth century and to Spanish art and architecture of this period, the present work takes a unique approach.”

 

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Baroque art flourished in seventeenth-century Seville during a tumultuous period of economic decline, social conflict, and natural disasters. This volume explores the patronage that fueled this frenzy of religious artistic and architectural activity and the lasting effects it had on the city and its citizens.

Amanda Wunder investigates the great public projects of sacred artwork that were originally conceived as medios divinos—divine solutions to the problems that plagued Seville. These commissions included new polychromed wooden sculptures and richly embroidered clothing for venerable old images, gilded altarpieces and monumental paintings for church interiors, elaborate ephemeral decorations and festival books by which to remember them, and the gut renovation or rebuilding of major churches that had stood for hundreds of years. Meant to revive the city spiritually, these works also had a profound real-world impact. Participation in the production of sacred artworks elevated the social standing of the artists who made them and the devout benefactors who commissioned them, and encouraged laypeople to rally around pious causes. Using a diverse range of textual and visual sources, Wunder provides a compelling look at the complex visual world of seventeenth-century Seville and the artistic collaborations that involved all levels of society in the attempt at its revitalization.

Vibrantly detailed and thoroughly researched, Baroque Seville is a fascinating account of Seville’s hard-won transformation into one of the foremost centers of Baroque art in Spain during a period of crisis.

“Although one can find many studies devoted to specific Sevillian artists of the seventeenth century and to Spanish art and architecture of this period, the present work takes a unique approach.”
“A penetrating and thoughtful historical study that considerably deepens our understanding of the city and the genesis of some of its most important works of sacred art.”
“A significant contribution that should appeal to scholars across disciplines. Art historians, historians, and literary scholars of the early modern Iberian and Atlantic world will find much to reflect on in this concise and elegantly written publication.”
“Amanda Wunder has brought Baroque Seville to life as never before. There is a sizable amount of literature on the subject, but none that synthesizes and integrates evidence from such an amazing variety of sources. Given the wide scope and the utterly lucid style of writing, this book can and should be read by all who are interested in the projection of faith that emanated from this most colorful of European cities.”
“In this insightful and original work, Amanda Wunder, through a series of revealing vignettes and case studies, magisterially shows how Sevillians, while mired in horrific economic, social, and environmental crises, chose appeals to the sacred as a way to secure the protection of Seville’s well-established saints and divine protectors. This is a profound, erudite reflection on the connections between art, wealth, and religion in Seville, and by implication in seventeenth-century Spain, in a time of crisis. A most wonderful book!”
“Wunder’s book is a well-written, tightly focused study of art and society in seventeenth-century Seville. It offers novel interpretations of major art and architectural monuments as well as lesser-known luxury objects and ephemeral festivals. Wunder’s attention to the process by which patrons—wealthy elites and common people, men and women—engaged with teams of artists forces a reconsideration of the efforts and intentions behind the making and meaning of art in the Baroque era.”

Amanda Wunder is Associate Professor of History at Lehman College and of Art History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Currency, Weights, and Measures

Introduction

1 The Art of Disillusionment: The Patronage of Mateo Vázquez de Leca

2 The Piety of Powerful Neighbors: The Renovation of Santa María la Blanca

3 A Temporary Triumph: The Seville Cathedral’s Festival for San Fernando

4 The Nobility of Charity: The Church and Hospital of the Santa Caridad

5 The Phoenix of Seville: Rebuilding the Church of San Salvador

Conclusion

Chronology

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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