Johannes Molanus on Provocative Paintings: "De Historia Sanctarum Imaginum et Picturarum," Book II, Chapter 42

Freedberg, David A.

The first ecclesiastical writer to take the Tridentine decrees relating to the use and abuse of religious imagery as a starting point for an analysis of the question of nudity in art was Johannes Molanus, in his De Picturis et Imaginibus Sacris (Louvain 1570). It is true that Gilio da Fabriano had already published his Dialogo degli Errori de' Pittori in 1564,t~he year after the final session of the Council of Trent, but he does not mention its decrees concerning art at all, and the problem of nudity is dealt with only in the specific context of Michelangelo's Last J~dgment.~Molanus, on the other hand, makes the first generalized investigation of this problem in the chapter headed 'In picturis cavendum esse quidquid ad libidinem provocat'.


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Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes

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Art History and Archaeology
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April 6, 2010