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CRRS Erasmus Lecture — Cécile Fromont: “Penned by Encounter: Central Africans, Capuchin Friars and their Images in Early Modern Kongo and Angola”

November 4, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Capuchin Missionary being Greeted by Village Head, Sogno, Kingdom of Kongo, 1740s – Bernardino Ignazio

4:00 PM, Zoom (click here to register).

Bio: Cécile Fromont is Associate Professor in the History of Art, Yale University, where her work focuses on on the visual, material, and religious culture of Africa and Latin America with a special emphasis on the early modern period (ca 1500-1800), on the Portuguese-speaking Atlantic World, and on the slave trade. (Profile page here.)

Abstract: Early modern central Africa comes to life in the vivid full-page paintings Italian Capuchin Franciscans, veterans of the Kongo and Angola missions composed between 1650 and 1750 for the training of future missionaries. Their “practical guides” present the intricacies of the natural, social, and religious environment of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century west-central Africa and outline the primarily visual catechization methods they devised for the region.

Unfolding outside of a European colonial project, at the demand of local rulers, and among populations who had engaged with the visual and material culture of Europe and Christianity for more than one hundred and fifty years, the Capuchin central African apostolate is without parallel in the early modern world. Equally unique are the images that emerged in the friars’ sustained and fraught interactions with the men and women of Kongo and Angola.

In this paper, I analyze this overlooked visual corpus to demonstrate how such visual creations, though European in form and craftsmanship, did not emerge from a single perspective but rather were and should be read as the products of cross-cultural interaction. With this intervention, I aim to model a way to think anew about images created at the crux of cultures, bringing to the fore the formative role that encounter itself played in their conception, execution, and modes of operation.

Details

Date:
November 4, 2021
Time:
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:

Organizer

Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies
Website:
www.1650580097-48936e7717784b30.wp-transfer.sgvps.net