Altruistic Desire and Self-Abnegation in the Crypts of Santa Maria della Concezione

Research Seminar

  • Online event via Zoom - NOTE: BEGIN at 10:30
  • Date: Nov 2, 2020
  • Time: 09:30 - 11:30
  • Speaker: Jason Di Resta
  • Location: Online via zoom
  • Host: Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte
  • Contact: freiberg@biblhertz.it
Altruistic Desire and Self-Abnegation in the Crypts of Santa Maria della Concezione
Dismissed as examples of a superstitious baroque "necroculture", the bone-encrusted mortuary installations of the Capuchin Order are typically viewed though a reductive optic of unhistoricized Catholic repentance or Protestant contempt. In this talk, I will examine the social and soteriological stakes of using human remains as an artistic material for the creation of Christian funerary art, asking above all why the blatant materiality of death became so important for Capuchin religious experience in Counter-Reformation Rome.

Beneath the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione lies a series of installations wherein mummified and fragmented cadavers are granted a fantastical mimicry of "afterlife" imagined by the living. Simultaneously person and thing, familiar and unfamiliar, loved and loathed, the ambiguous status of human bones enabled manifold interactions that helped reinforce the collective identity of the Capuchins and, within the context of Rome’s paleo-Christian revival, the pious imitation of early Christian martyrdom.

Jason Di Resta’s research addresses the mechanisms of artistic transmission, material agency, and the role that style plays in strategies of artistic self-differentiation and community formation. His work also considers the importance of image theory, localized religious practices, and the beholder's participation in the generation of an object's meanings. He obtained his MA (2005) from Syracuse University and his PhD (2015) from the Johns Hopkins University. Prior to coming to the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (2018), he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art (2016–2018) in the Kress Foundation Department of Art History at the University of Kansas.

For participation via zoom, please follow the link HERE

Scientific Organization: Laura Valterio
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