Christopher M. S. Johns’ massive work The Visual Culture of Catholic Enlightenment retraces the impact of the Catholic Enlightenment on eighteenth‐century visual culture, including art, architecture, and liturgical objects. In particular, it sheds light on the church and papal Rome's commitment to promoting enlightened reforms in various fields, and the way such enlightened reforms were reflected in the art and architecture of the period.Johns’ book builds on scholarship on the relationship between the Catholic Church and the secular Enlightenment in Italy. This remarkable volume enriches historiographical debate, which in the last decades has been enhanced by various approaches to the subject. The category of Catholic Enlightenment, especially for Italy, has been often replaced by the historiographical concept of Catholic Aufklärung (original meaning: “clarification”), which expresses a more neutral and nuanced idea than the ideological terms “Enlightenment” or Lumiéres, and nonetheless refers to a wide range of enlightened reforms promoted by the church in the Age of Enlightenment. Johns adopts the historiographical concept of Catholic Enlightenment, and sometimes also refers to “enlightened Catholicism.” His accurate historical investigation, based on a rich corpus of archival sources (e.g. artists’ and popes’ correspondence), Italian Catholic scholars’ works (e.g. by Ludovico Antonio Muratori and
Journal of Religious History – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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