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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A penchant for retreat permeates baroque devotion. Prayer is key, and withdrawal from the world corroborates sincere prayer. Some believers retreat to the cloister for an existence of permanent absorption, but believers are generally enjoined to retreat for a few days annually to follow a devotional program, or for moments of prayer across the day. While verbal prayer is seen as a basic expression of devotion, mental prayer is generally deemed more efficacious, demanding as it does the believer’s full attention. Chapels, chambers, and gardens are privileged sites of devout absorption; prayer books, rosaries, and devotional images sustain the inward turn; manuals teach the practice; and written and drawn portraits show those who master it. This chapter presents the ideal of devotional retreat in prayer as well as some of its spatial, spiritual, corporeal, and material corollaries.

Keywords: baroque, prayer, retreat, devotion, meditation, religious models, devotional manuals

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