Memory from monument to manuscript: iconoclasm and the dead in the Low Countries
24 February 2021 | 17:15-18:00
Dr. Ruben Suykerbuyk, University of Ghent
This paper assesses the impact of the Protestant Reformation and iconoclasm on the material culture of funeral monuments in the Low Countries (c. 1520-1585), and maps the consequences on ancestral remembrance. Demonstrating how circulating Protestant critiques and iconoclastic attacks fundamentally endangered the archival function of churches, it argues that in the later sixteenth century this imminent threat to memory provoked a heightened awareness of the ancestral past and its material manifestations. Most significantly, it shows that the precarious situation gave rise to the genesis of a new type of commemorative manuscript, the épitaphier, in which heraldic, genealogical and other information on various types of memorial monuments in churches was recorded.
Ruben Suykerbuyk is a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University. He is the author of several contributions on fifteenth- to seventeenth-century religious art and material culture in the Low Countries, including a recent monograph on Zoutleeuw’s church of Saint Leonard. His current research project focuses on the impact of the Protestant Reformation and iconoclasm on religious patronage and memorial culture in the sixteenth-century Low Countries.
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