Sacred Possessions - Collecting Italian Religious Art, 1500-1900 . Feigenbaum

Getty Publications - (Yale)
Paperback / softback
Publication date:
23 Dec 2010
Getty Publications
256 pages: 254 x 177 x 19mm

This is a brief history of and investigation into the collecting of sacred art. When works of art created for religious purposes outlive their original function, they often take on new meanings as they move from sacred spaces to secular collections. Focusing on the centuries in which the phenomenon of collecting came powerfully into its own, the fourteen essays presented here analyze the radical recontextualization of celebrated paintings by Raphael, Caravaggio, and Rubens; brings to light a lost holy tower from fifteenth-century Bavaria; and offers new insights into the meaning of 'sacred' and 'profane'. Collecting represents the primary mechanism by which a sacred work of art survives when it is alienated from its original context. In the field of art history, the consequences of such collecting - its tendency to reframe an object, metaphorically and physically - have only begun to be investigated. "Sacred Possessions" charts the contours of a fertile terrain for further inquiry.

Gail Feigenbaum is associate director, Getty Research Inst. Sybille Ebert-Schifferer is director Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck-Institut fur Kunstgeschichte, Rome.