Andrea Pozzo and the Religious Theatre of the Seventeenth Century
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Andrea Pozzo and the Religious Theatre of the Seventeenth Century

Andrew Horn

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Price: $120.00

Place Published: Philadelphia
Publisher: Saint Joseph's University Press
Date Published: 2019
Binding: Hardcover
Condition: New
ISBN: 9780916101053
Book Id: 88


x + 427 pp. / index / 9 x 11 1/4 inches / 257 color images.

Andrea Pozzo and the Religious Theatre of the Seventeenth Century offers a contextual examination of the life and work of the Jesuit artist Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709), known for his large-scale works of painted perspectival illusionism.  The book presents Pozzo’s career and his multifaceted practice—which included painting, scenography, architecture, and a two-volume treatise on perspective—together as a prime case study for understanding the relationship of the religious art and architecture of the seventeenth century to the period’s culture of theatre and ritual.  Pozzo's work, Horn argues, is religious theatre, and the key to reading both his ephemeral scenographies and his permanent works of painting and architecture lies in religious performance. Highlights include Pozzo’s first major surviving fresco cycle in the church of San Francesco Saverio, Mondovì, his scenographies for the Devotion of the Forty Hours at the church of the Gesù in Rome, the Corridor of Saint Ignatius, and the monumental vault fresco in the church of Sant’Ignazio.


This is only the second monograph on Pozzo in English, and the first to undertake an expanded study of the artist, his work, and the culture in which he was formed as a religious artist.  The book seeks to complete our picture of Pozzo by tracing his religious, artistic and cultural roots.  It studies his development and his artistic activity prior to his arrival in Rome, situating him within the intellectual and religious culture of the Jesuits, and within the theatrical culture of seventeenth-century Italy.  By highlighting the early works, which have been largely neglected in the anglophone scholarship, the book brings to light the foundation of Pozzo’s artistic practice and the basis of his well-known Roman “masterpieces.” 

As it illustrates Pozzo’s development, his origins, and the historic and regional contexts in which his practice took shape, Andrea Pozzo and the Religious Theatre of the Seventeenth Century features images from a wide range of sources, including Pozzo’s major works in fresco, images from his treatise Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum (1695, 1700), prints and written accounts of seventeenth-century festivals and theatrical productions, important works of art and architecture, and Jesuit devotional treatises and publications in the fields of emblem studies, religious devotion and science. 


About the author:  Andrew Horn received his B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Notre Dame, M.S. in design and production for opera from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Edinburgh. Before pursuing art history, he had a career in design practice in the fields of theatre, opera, and interior design. He is currently a Teaching Fellow in Renaissance and Early Modern Art in the Department of History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. His recent publications include contributions to the edited volume, The Holy Name: Art of the Gesù. Bernini and His Age (Saint Joseph’s University Press, 2018) and to the special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies dedicated to “Jesuit Visual Culture” (2019).






Pozzo’s Jesuit Foundations

                Pozzo and Jesuit Religious Life: Spirituality, Obedience, and Artistic Authorship

Jesuit Education: Service, Cultural Engagement, and the Role of Rhetoric

Jesuit Visual Culture and Ignatian Spirituality: Images and the Senses      

Perception, Illusion and the Infinite: The Basis of Pozzo's Works

in Jesuit Philosophy and Theology

Jesuit Science and Research Culture: Perspective and Optics, and Pozzo's Treatise


CHAPTER 2                                                                                                                                                         

The Religious Theatre of Northern Italy and Pozzo’s First Scenographies:

Borromeo, the Jesuits, and the Spectacle of Reform

Trent: Early Encounters with Spectacle                                                                  

Seventeenth-Century Milan: Carlo Borromeo, the “Ritual City” and the Jesuits    

Processions and Triumphal Entries                                          

Canonization Festivals: Commemoration and Celebration                                 

State Funerals: Rituals of Mourning, Memory and Light                              

Crafting the Scene: Scenography, Stagecraft and Theatres                                       

1671-72: Pozzo's First Scenographies                                                                





The Church of San Francesco Saverio, Mondovì: A Teatro Sacro                              

Architecture as Ritual Scenography                                                                                    

                The Painting Work and the Frescoes: A “Theatre” to the Saint                

                A Transcendent Space: Architecture, Illusion and Light                               

                The High Altar: The Ephemeral Becomes “Permanent”                             



CHAPTER 4                                                                                                                                                   

Pozzo and the Religious Theatre of Rome

                The Call to Rome: A Culture of Spectacle and a “Theatre of Ideas”                       

                The Quarant'ore in Rome: Ritual, Devotion and Images                         

                Teatri Sacri: Pozzo's Scenographies for the Quarant’ore at the Gesù       

                Pozzo and the Jesuit Theatre Stage in Rome                                                             



CHAPTER 5                                                                                                                                                  

Major Permanent Works in Rome: Theatres of Transformation

                The Corridor of Saint Ignatius in the Casa Professa del Gesù: An “Ignatian Theatre”

                The Dome of Sant'Ignazio: A “Temporary” Solution?                                                 

                The Vault Frescoes in Sant’Ignazio: A Theatre Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam   




Pozzo’s Work as Religious Theatre










Andrea Pozzo and the Religious Teatre of the Seventeenth Century is highly original, superbly researched, and compellingly written. Andrew Horn presents Pozzo as formed by his Jesuit education and beliefs as well as an artist responding fully to the theatricality of his age. Horn, however, stresses that Pozzo conceived of his ephemeral and permanent creations as means for visually, intellectually, and spiritually engaging his audience. Art served as a form of mission.

This book greatly expands our understanding of Pozzo, especially his formative years in Milan and North Italy. Horn offers excellent discussions and new interpretations of Pozzo’s œuvre. Andrea Pozzo and the Religious Teatre of the Seventeenth Century will have great appeal to historians of art, architecture, theatre, and religion, among others. Pozzo is one of those fascinating masters whose œuvre touches so many different interests.”


                                                                        Jeffrey Chipps Smith

Kay Fortson Chair in European Art

By This Author: Andrew Horn

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