Cover image for Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola By Cécile Fromont

Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola

Cécile Fromont

COMING IN JUNE

$109.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09218-8
Coming in June

Available as an e-book

336 pages
10" × 9"
126 color/52 b&w illustrations/1 map
2022

Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola

Cécile Fromont

Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola promises to help reorient this particular corner of the early modern world, and will be enlightening to those interested in the paintings for their own merits, or as documentation of aspects of social life and material culture than were outside the scope of the Capuchins’ own intentions.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Subjects
Early modern central Africa comes to life in an extraordinary atlas of vivid watercolors and drawings that Italian Capuchin Franciscans, veterans of Kongo and Angola missions, composed between 1650 and 1750 for the training of future missionaries. These “practical guides” present the intricacies of the natural, social, and religious environment of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century west-central Africa and outline the primarily visual catechization methods the friars devised for the region. Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola brings this overlooked visual corpus to public and scholarly attention.

This beautifully illustrated book includes full-color reproductions of all the images in the atlas, in conjunction with rarely seen related material gathered from collections and archives around the world. Taking a bold new approach to the study of early modern global interactions, art historian Cécile Fromont demonstrates how visual creations such as the Capuchin vignettes, though European in form and crafstmanship, emerged not from a single perspective but rather from cross-cultural interaction. Fromont models a fresh way to think about images created across cultures, highlighting the formative role that cultural encounter itself played in their conception, execution, and modes of operation.

Centering Africa and Africans, and with ramifications on four continents, Fromont’s decolonial history profoundly transforms our understanding of the early modern world. It will be of substantial interest to specialists in early modern studies, art history, and religion.

Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola promises to help reorient this particular corner of the early modern world, and will be enlightening to those interested in the paintings for their own merits, or as documentation of aspects of social life and material culture than were outside the scope of the Capuchins’ own intentions.”
“Fromont’s attention to the archive’s materiality and her vibrantly close reading of a large, unique body of sources are compelling. Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola reveals a much broader Capuchin visual genre than previously known, one that contains a distinctive approach to Africans (borne out of Capuchins’ experiences in central Africa) and to representing missionary experiences, and it significantly extends the visual archive for early modern European-African interactions.”

Cécile Fromont is Professor in the History of Art department at Yale University. She is the author of the award-winning book The Art of Conversion and the editor of Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas, the latter also published by Penn State University Press.