The Arts of Encounter: Christians, Muslims, and the Power of Images in Early Modern Spain
Published: March 2022© 2022
264 Pages, 6.20 x 9.20 x 1.10 in, 18 b&w illustrations
Images of crosses, the Virgin Mary, and Christ, among other devotional objects, pervaded nearly every aspect of public and private life in early modern Spain, but they were also a point of contention between Christian and Muslim cultures. Writers of narrative fiction, theatre, and poetry were attuned to these debates, and religious imagery played an important role in how early modern writers chose to portray relations between Christians and Muslims.
Drawing on a wide variety of literary genres as well as other textual and visual sources – including historical chronicles, travel memoirs, captives’ testimonies, and paintings – Catherine Infante traces the references to religious visual culture and the responses they incited in cross-confessional negotiations. She reveals some of the anxieties about what it meant to belong to different ethnic or religious communities and how these communities interacted with each other within the fluid boundaries of the Mediterranean world. Focusing on the religious image as a point of contact between individuals of diverse beliefs and practices, The Arts of Encounter presents an original and necessary perspective on how Christian-Muslim relations were perceived and conveyed in print.
Note on Translations and Transliterations
1. Moriscos between Cross and Crescent
2. Text against Image in Moriscos’ Literary Culture
3. Granada and the Poetics of Sacred Space
4. Marian Images of Conversion
5. Images of Mary on the Battlefield
6. Captive Images and Forged Identities
"Infante's masterly book shows the complexities of the relations between Muslims and Christians in early modern Spain. Her interdisciplinary, clear-sighted analysis of the ‘arts of encounter’ of believers around religious images proves both the blurring of religious identities and the influence of the cultural environment on the perception of religion. With an astounding erudition, this book is highly valuable reading for those interested in Spain’s Golden Age."Luis F. Bernabé, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Alicante
"Catherine Infante’s book is a fascinating study of the role that devotional images had in the interactions between Muslims and Christians in both early modern Spain and the Mediterranean. Drawing from a wide range of sources – from visual culture to historiographical, theological, and literary texts – Infante analyses how devotional images circulated across religious boundaries and how Islamic alleged iconoclasm was perceived and negotiated within the context of the Morisco population in Spain, thus providing a refreshing perspective on Muslim-Christian relations."Javier Irigoyen-García, Professor of Spanish, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"One of the great strengths of Catherine Infante’s book is her use of textual and visual sources from both Catholic and Islamic perspectives, within Iberia and beyond. The result is a highly nuanced account of the ways authors, authorities, and even ordinary people deployed images to justify or contest forced conversion and expulsion, to shape historical memory and local belonging, and to proclaim or repudiate religious faith."Laura R. Bass, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and History of Art and Architecture, Brown University