A Digital Library of Early Modern Texts on Sacred Art

The SACRIMA team provides a comparative survey of imagery norms in order to rethink the geography of sacred art in early modern Europe.

Notwithstanding attempts to develop a universal theory of the sacred image, the Tridentine decree De invocatione, veneratione et reliquiis sanctorum et sacris imaginibus ambiguously regards the establishment of a comprehensive theory of image veneration or production. The decree’s imprecision defining acceptable sacred art has led to a large number of treatises and recommendations across Catholic Europe. As a result, the visual and institutional norms of sacred images varied across the different territories. The reactions of people from Rome, Sicily, Toledo, Mallorca, Munich, Vienna, Paris and Brussels to images with similar styles and techniques were often different, and conflicting.

With the creation of a digital library of the main early modern theoretical texts on sacred art that are already available in European libraries and repositories, we aim to provide a useful tool for scholars and wider a public interested in sacred art from a comparative perspective. The digital library will include available literature and resources concerning art normativity, such as art treatises, theological texts, inquisitorial and synodal laws; and authors such as Ludovico Dolce, Carlo and Federico Borromeo, Gabriele Paleotti, Matieu Ory, Richeome, J. Méry, Vicente Carducho and Antonio Palomino.