My research centres on the Spanish monarchy and the political uses of sacred art during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I use an integrated approach to analyse visual and material culture, paying close attention to the interplay of images with printed sources and archival manuscripts. I have particular interest in the dynamics of ecclesiastical patronage; saints’ cults and relics; the episcopal control of artistic production; and the interactions between institutional norms and visual norms in sacred art.
In connection with SACRIMA, my current research project “The Age of Sanctity: Images and Cults of Child Saints in Early Modern Spain” examines the visual normativity of images of child saints in early modernity. Sacred images and hagiographies represented youth in different ways, exposing how the qualification of a saint at an early age was subject to intricate negotiations between the cultural role of saints and the conceptions of childhood. However, the paucity of research on cults and images of child saints belies their significance within early modern Europe. “The Age of Sanctity” interrogates sacred images to consider how the emotional qualities of infancy shaped the construction of child saints’ visual representation and the reception of their respective cults during the Catholic Reformation.