Abstract and Keywords
Writing on the diffusion of artistic forms in a transoceanic context, the art historian George Kubler likened an important work of art to a lighthouse emitting ‘signals’, which might be transferred officially, but might also be carried by ‘unexpected bearers’ to be ‘relayed’ to diverse people, including unintended recipients. This article adapts Kubler's model of diffusion and transformation to the transatlantic afterlives of a broader set of European forms and ideas, particularly those relating to religion. It contends that episodes suggesting religious transformation across the Atlantic world can be fruitfully studied in similar terms. Because sculpted and painted religious images were sometimes at the centre of such encounters, the connection is especially apt. Charting the interpenetration of religious systems in Brazil, Roger Bastide has argued that even when Catholicism took root as a living religious reality among Afro-Brazilians, a separation from ‘Portuguese Catholicism’ was distinguishable.
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