Abstract. The paper examines the emergence in the second half of the sixteenth century of categories for sacred art generated by endeavours to preserve the long tradition of Christian art within the Catholic territories. Preservation implied both a response to the Protestant iconoclasm and an expurgation of the flaws within the Christian imagery. In the period largely categorized as Counter-Reformation, there is a corpus of writings on art composed by catalytic Catholic reformers – some of whom had been directly involved in the Council of Trent. How and why did Catholic theologians engage in writing extensively on regulating the sacred art? Established artistic categories (such as imitation, allegory, fantasy, and fable) were principally reinterpreted in a religious key to delimit the decorous from the indecorous with regard to sacred art. On the other hand, new notions were needed for explaining peculiar elements of religious nature such as atemporality (unity). pp. 53–62


Keywords: trent, sacred art, comanini, unity­, icastic

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