COMCON - Communities of Concord: Building Contentment and Belonging through Emotional Images in Early Modern Europe and Beyond

Horizon 2020 Marie Curie MSCA-IF-2020 (Grant agreement n. 101028785), 2022-2025 - Marie Curie Fellow: Maria Vittoria Spissu

The project aims to uncover case studies and connections that shed light on how European identities were constructed in the early modern period. It focuses on visual and narrative paradigms/patterns — in paintings and prints — devised in Catholic and Iberian contexts between the 16th and 17th centuries and used to advance key community ideals, such as cohesion, enthusiasm and concord. In order to explore how iconographic themes and historical contexts express community bonds and values, it also deeply examines patronage, cultural networks and social groups — confraternities, religious orders and political authorities —  in the works of art. In the process, it interrogates how the power of images served to codify emotions. It focuses on images of the triumphant and merciful church, ideal to create consensus and affiliation with the Iberian imperial and Catholic canons. It furthermore studies how these visual paradigms were transferred outside Europe, particularly in the Iberian Americas. By analysing how artistic (and social/moral) patterns were applied and re-elaborated in new transnational contexts, the project will make a significant contribution to scholarship on how European imagery was selected and projected around the world to promote a particular idea of “emotional community”, initially as part of Rome's response to the Protestant Reformation and later as a strategy to gain new believers and subjects in New Spain. It will also explore how a normative and strategic representation of the emotions was employed — and is still used in some cases — in the politics of evangelization to shape, transmit and dictate ideal social/moral characteristics of communities.