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Not long after Martin Luther’s defiance of the Church in 1517, dialogue between Protestants and Catholics broke down, brother turned against brother, and devastating religious wars erupted across Europe. Desperate to restore the peace and recover the unity of Faith, Catholic theologians clarified and reaffirmed Catholic doctrines, but turned as well to another form of evangelization: the Arts. Convinced that to win over the unlettered, the best place to fight heresy was not in the streets but in stone and on canvas, they enlisted the century’s best artists to create a glorious wave of beautiful works of sacred art — Catholic works of sacred art — to draw people together instead of driving them apart. How Catholic Art Saved the Faith tells the story of the creation and successes of this vibrant, visual-arts SWAT team whose war cry could have been “art for Faith’s sake!” Over the years, it included Michelangelo, of course, and, among other great artists, the edgy Caravaggio, the graceful Guido Reni, the technically perfect Annibale Carracci, the colorful Barocci, the theatrical Bernini, and the passionate Artemisia Gentileschi. Each of these creative souls, despite their own interior struggles, was a key player in this magnificent, generations-long project: the affirmation through beauty of the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. Here you will meet the fascinating artists who formed this cadre’s core. You will revel in scores of their full-color paintings. And you will profit from the lucid explanations of their lovely creations: works that over the centuries have touched the hearts and deepened the faith of millions of pilgrims who have made their way to the Eternal City to gaze upon them. Join those pilgrims now in an encounter with the magnificent artworks of the Catholic Restoration — artworks which from their conception were intended to delight, teach, and inspire. As they have done for the faith of so many, so will they do for you.
Since Late Antiquity, relics have provided a privileged spiritual bond between life and death, between human beings and divinity. Royalty, nobility and clergy all tried to obtain the most prestigious remains of sacred bodies, since they granted influence and fame and allowed the cult around them to be used as a means of sacralization, power and propaganda. This volume traces the development of the veneration of relics in Europe and how these objects were often catalysts for the establishment of major pilgrimage sites that are still in use today. The book features an international panel of contributors taking a wide-ranging look at relic worship across Europe, from Late Antiquity until the present day. They begin with a focus on the role of relics in Jacobean pilgrimage, before looking at the link between relics and their shrines more generally. The book then focuses in on two major issues in the study of relics, the stealing of relics (Furta Sacra) and their modern-day scientific examination and authentication. These topics demonstrate not only symbolic importance of relics, but also their role as physical historical objects in material religious expression. This is a fascinating collection, featuring the latest scholarship on relics and pilgrimage across Europe. It will, therefore, be of great interested to academics working in Pilgrimage, Religious History, Material Religion and Religious Studies as well as Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Cultural Studies.

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