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Journal > Volumes > 46 (2015) / 4 (Winter)
The Self-Reflective Gaze: Devotional Art between New Piety and Pietism in Lutheran Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Judith P. Aikin
The University of Iowa

In devotional artworks created in Lutheran Germany around 1670, a new aesthetic designed to provoke emotional interaction with the image emerged that replaced the “emotionally distanced cold gaze” posited by scholars for Reformation art. The practice of including portraits of the intended users in the guise of participants or witnesses in the scenes functioned to arouse intense empathy in the viewers as they confronted their doubles. The paintings served the sorts of daily devotional activities promoted by the religious revival movements of the period, New Piety and Pietism. The patron was Aemilia Juliana, Countess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, who has been studied as an important lay theologian. Evidence for the intended effect of the unusual paintings survives in devotional songs written in response to the images by Aemilia Juliana and her sister-in-law Ludaemilia Elisabeth, both important authors in this genre.

Pages: 853 - 890