‘Visualised’ examples in Catholic Baroque Sermons of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Summary)

Viktorija Vaitkevičiūtė (PDF)

The basic feature of Baroque aesthetics is to impact the addressee with images rather than arguments, to appeal to reason rather than feelings – determined that Catholic sermons of the 17th century turned into a kind of image collection. Catholic Baroque sermons contain abundant ‘visualised’ examples (exempla), borrowed mainly from the Holy Scripture and the authors of classical antiquity. Short stories, which not only moralised but also sought to make an emotional impact, inserted in sermons, were a means to explain the truths of the faith more comprehensibly to the listeners.

Referring mainly to Polish funerary sermons, examples related to emblems and coats of arms are discussed in the article, focusing on the extraordinary virtuousness of the believer, the transience of life and the inescapable approach of death. Their analysis reveals a portrait of a pious person created by the sermonists as a certain social identity and a model of behaviour. Through examples, the sermonists set up specific standards of behaviour of a Baroque individual and sought to develop virtuousness and awaken piety. In funerary sermons, examples presented by the authors based on noblemen’s coats of arms also perform the panegyric function. A sermon becomes a document of the nobility and extraordinariness of some family.

Keywords: Baroque, sermons, rhetorics, examples, emblem, image