The GLOBECOSAL project investigates the multiple functions of artworks in the process of negotiating sanctity with the Roman Curia in the age of Iberian hegemony (1500–1700). In the post-Tridentine period, saints came to serve spiritual, ideological and propagandistic purposes. The overall neglect in art history of local constructions of sanctity competing with those formulated by the Tridentine church is particularly invidious with regard to blesseds and saints connected in different ways to the process of European expansion, specifically to the Iberian empires.
Promoting a cause for canonization amounted to a lengthy and involved process of negotiation between the party requesting a candidate’s canonization and the Curia, which decided upon admittance into the rank of the saints. Artworks were the primary means by which the masses of the faithful learned of a prospective saint’s deeds and were invited to venerate and invoke a saintly figure. Veneration was stimulated through artworks both locally and at a distance, promoting the saintly reputation that was essential to the process leading up to canonization. This project examines not only the artworks produced in relation to the pioneers of Catholic sainthood in the post-Tridentine global context, but also failed attempts at beatification or canonization of venerated saintly figures.