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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The term “Jesuit visual culture” has replaced an earlier interest in “Jesuit style” for studies in Jesuit art and architecture. Multimedia strategies transformed the renovation of the Chapel of St. Ignatius in the Church of the Gesù in Rome into a “devotional machine” by drawing upon such diverse sources as Athanasius Kircher, S.J.’s machines, Andrea Pozzo, S.J.’s set designs (apparati), and early modern Jesuit rhetorical exchanges. The result of the cross-fertilization of art and technology was the construction of a prophetic image, where the global consciousness of early modern Jesuit visual culture sustained a transactional aesthetics premised on technological innovation, systemic connectivity, and redemptive materialism. When the Society of Jesus attempted to craft the future, it ensured the rise and, inadvertently, the fall of the all-too-relative image and the order that had become so closely associated with it.

Keywords: Jesuits, apparati, machines, sacred, art and architecture, Gesù Church, Rome, Athanasius Kircher, Ignatius of Loyola, Andrea Pozzo, Quarantore

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