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Exhibition Catalogue

Catalogue cover

Madonnas & Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy

Edited by Maya Corry, Deborah Howard and Mary Laven

London, Philip Wilson publishers: 2017

Published in association with the Fitzwilliam Museum

Paperback, 288pp, 250 colour illustrations

ISBN: 978 178130 053 4

Price: £25.00 / $40.00

Madonnas and Miracles exposes a hidden world of religious devotion in the Italian Renaissance home. Challenging the idea of the Renaissance as an age of increasing worldliness, it shows how religion remained a powerful force that coloured every aspect of daily life.

Across the length and breadth of Italy, houses were filled with decorative objects and works of art with spiritual significance, designed to aid members of the family in their devotional lives. A wide range of religious activities, from routine prayers to extraordinary experiences such as miracles and exorcisms, took place within the home, where they were adapted to key moments in the life-cycle, including birth, marriage, sickness and death.

This lavishly illustrated publication explores a variety of devotional objects and images, from luxury items to everyday household goods. Bringing together jewellery and ceramics, manuscripts and printed books, sculpture and paintings, the book offers a vivid encounter with Renaissance spirituality and domesticity. The result is a new vision of a period in which the material world was charged with sacred power

Maya Corry was postdoctoral researcher in the History of Art at the University of Cambridge and is now a Stipendiary Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Oxford. She has published on beauty in religious art, angels, and Renaissance religiosity. Her monograph on male beauty, sexuality, art and spirituality in Milan is forthcoming with OUP.

Deborah Howard is Professor Emerita of Architectural History, Director of Research in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art, and a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. She has published widely on the art and architecture of Venice and the Veneto; the relationship between architecture and music; and cultural exchange in the eastern Mediterranean.

Mary Laven is Reader in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Jesus College. She has published on many different aspects of Renaissance religion and co-curated the exhibition Treasured Possessions from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.

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