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Moran, Sarah

Moran, Sarah


Sarah Moran, born in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, 1979. Ph.D. from Brown University, USA. Postdoc from the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

EURIAS Fellow (1 September 2015 – 30 June 2016)

Theodoor van Loon and the Politics of Style in the Counter-Reformation South Netherlands

Research Question

In the seventeenth-century Low Countries the status of religious images was extraordinarily fraught, with Southern Catholics defending these objects as educational, inspirational, and even miraculous, whereas in the Protestant North they were derided as idolatrous. Using Theodoor van Loon’s oeuvre as a case study, I investigate how artists developed new stylistic approaches in response to this confessional conflict.

Project Description

My research project analyses the activity of the painter Theodoor van Loon (1582-c.1649) in the context of ecclesiastical and government efforts to re-Catholicize the Spanish Netherlands following the iconoclasm and warfare of the Dutch Revolt. From 1612 to about 1640 Van Loon executed numerous prestigious and symbolically important commissions, including altarpieces for the archducal chapel at Tervuren, the new basilica dedicated to the Virgin at Scherpenheuvel (Montaigu), and many convent and parish churches. I situate Van Loon’s paintings in their original political-historical context, and in so doing both shed new light on the use of visual imagery as a tool for religious conversion and deepen our understanding of processes of international cultural exchange in early modern Europe.

Selected Publications

1) “The Domestic Use of Artworks at the Antwerp Beguinage in the Seventeenth Century,” Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art 38 (2015-16), in press.

2) “‘The Right Hand of Pictura’s Perfection’: Cornelis de Bie’s Het Gulden Cabinet and Antwerp Painting around 1660,” Netherlands Yearbook for Art History 64 (2014), 330-359.

3) “A cui ne fece dono: Art, Exchange, and Affective Prayer in Anthony van Dyck’s Lamentation for the Antwerp Beguines,” in Sensing the Divine: Religion and the Senses in Early Modern Europe, eds. Christine Göttler and Wietse de Boer. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013. 219-256.

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