How did artworks participate in the negotiation of sanctity between the Roman Curia and the promoters of saintly figures first venerated in newly Christianized territories? In addressing this question, the project considers, as a hypothesis, to what extent such artworks might reveal an underlying negotiation of the ‘new’ Catholic communities’ spiritual status within universal Catholicism.

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This project adopts a perspective founded upon the historiographic concept of histoire croisée. It traces the circulation of material objects and iconographies within and between global networks of knowledge transmission, highlighting the power dynamics that undergird relationships of exchange.

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Investigating the negotiation of sanctity between Rome and geographically distant areas participates in globalizing the history of early modern art. As the spreading of Catholicism served as the ideological justification for European expansion under Iberian rule, negotiation of an individual’s saintly status amounted to a negotiation of the status awarded to the ‘new’ Catholic societies within the order established by the Iberian colonial and mercantile empires.

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Principal Investigator  

Prof. Dr. Raphaèle Preisinger

Funded by

Project duration


With Support of


ERC (Starting Grant) and SNSF (PRIMA)


Universität Zürich
Kunsthistorisches Institut
Rämistrasse 73
CH-8006 Zürich