Artistic Typography and Non-Religious Aspects of the Content of Baroque Prints Used for the Propaganda of Miraculous Images (Summary)

Maria Kałamajska-­Saeed (PDF)

One of the most important aspects of the cult of sacral images was recording and testifying under oath about miracles and graces experienced by believers in front of miraculous images. Prints helped spread the glory of the image and popularised it by providing evidence of its supernatural power and effective mediation with God. Based on several devotional prints of this type devoted to paintings of the Mother of God in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 17th and 18th centuries, the article illustrates the non-religious value of these publications. The prints testify to Baroque piety, the customs of the time and interesting and valuable historical and iconographic information.

The article analyses the content and graphical form of Vilnius prints. They are dedicated to the paintings in the parish church of Trakai (1645), the Bernardine Church of Budslav (1650), the Church of St Michael (the Bernardines) in Vilnius (1671), the parish church in Subotniki (1683), the Jesuit Church in Grodno (1686), the parish church in Eismonty (1740) and the Gate of Dawn Chapel in Vilnius (1754). We also considered the anthologies illustrated by Wilhelm Gumppenberg (1672) and Jan Drews (1684). Among the data contained in these prints is an early and only reference to the Byzantine painting of the western part of the parish church in Trakai. It was confirmed by the accidental uncovering of wall paintings in 2007. A separate problem is the iconographic sources, which are often the only ones that evidence the initial form and ornaments of the painting. These sources are particularly valuable when objects are not preserved.

Keywords: believers, devotional prints, Grand Duchy of Lithuania, painting, iconographic sources