Debunking the myth of the stark white Protestant church interior, this study explores the very objects and architectural additions that were in fact added to Netherlandish church interiors in the first century after iconoclasm. In charting these additions, Mia Mochizuki helps explain the impact of iconoclasm on the cultural topography of the Dutch Golden Age, and by extension, permits careful scrutiny of a decisive moment in the history of the image.
Focusing on the Great or St. Bavo Church in Haarlem, this interdisciplinary book draws on art history, history and theology to look at the impact of iconoclasm and reformation on the process of image-making in the early modern Netherlands. The new objects that began to appear in the early Dutch Reformed Church signaled a dramatic change in the form, function and patronage of church art and testified to new roles for church, government, guild and resident. Each chapter in the book introduces a major theme of the nascent Protestant church interior – the Word made material, the Word made memorial and the Word made manifest – which is then explored through the painting, sculpture and architecture of the early Dutch Reformed Church. The text is heavily illustrated with images of the objects under discussion, many of them never before published. A large number of these images are from the camera of prize-winning photographer Tjeerd Frederikse, with additional photography courtesy of E.A. van Voorden.
This book unveils, defines and reproduces a host of images previously unaddressed by scholarship and links them to more familiar and long studied Dutch paintings. It provides a religious art companion to general studies of Dutch Golden Age art and lends greater depth to our understanding of iconoclasm, as well as the way in which cultural artifacts and religious material culture reflect and help to shape the values of a community.
Taking up the challenge of an unusual category of objects for visual analysis, this innovative study invites readers to acknowledge iconoclasm not only for its destructive force, but also for its generative power and the remarkable creativity it unleashed.
Reviews: Prize: Winner of the ACE/Mercers' International Book Award 2009
Winner of the College Art Association Publication Grant, 2007
'Outstanding… It sets one building – the Great Church at Haarlem – in an exceptionally broad context – as built form, as culturally symbolic artefact, and as a vehicle for didactic decoration… Her story begins in the Roman Catholic era, examines the motives behind iconoclasm, its destructive force as well as its generative power, and then details the appropriation of the church by the local Reformed Community. All this is done with exceptional precision, imaginative insight and scholarly depth.'
Graham Howes, ACE trustee
'The long-term impact of iconoclasm on the development of art in the Reformed Netherlands is one of the most urgent and least understood problems in our field. Mia Mochizuki's book gives us nuanced new answers, deftly combining concrete historical description and analysis with a sophisticated understanding of the theological, political and aesthetic issues at hand. Dutch Protestants cared about art. Mochizuki tells us why and how.'
Mariët Westermann, New York University, USA
'Mochizuki has conclusively shown how artistic vision, like artistic style, is not only transitory in nature, but also how it is interwoven with theological insights and social circumstances. She has given art its place in society, indeed one that goes to the heart of the Church Masters’ and Church Council’s views on attracting viewer attention through design, by drawing well considered and profound conclusions from archival documents, abundant literature, artifacts and comparable examples. For the Netherlands, I am pleased our culture has been illuminated by such an impressive and knowledgeable scholar.'
C.A. van Swigchem, Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands
'Mia Mochizuki's The Netherlandish Image after Iconoclasm is a highly original approach to the subject of art and the Reformation and a major contribution to our understanding of the early modern period on various levels. This book breaks new ground through its conceptual structure and its approach to art in sacred space and helps explain how the rejection of religious imagery led to a redefinition of art itself. This is history at its best, and as such, it should command the attention of a wide range of readers: anyone who is interested in the Reformation, the Netherlands, religious symbols, art and aesthetics will find this book indispensable.'
Carlos M.N. Eire, Yale University, USA
‘… a beautiful book, illustrated with lots of wonderful images, all in colour … The author's commitment and thorough engagement with her materials is also evidenced in generous footnotes and wide reading … a remarkable contribution to the developing field of early-modern religious art history.’ Art Newspaper
‘Mochizuki’s book is praiseworthy for numerous reasons. It demonstrates the richness offered by interdisciplinary studies of art and religion, as it skillfully encourages readers to reconsider the relationship between sacred word and image through numerous high-quality color images of objects rarely illustrated… Mochizuki presents an insightful interpretation of Reformed visual piety, one that should encourage scholars to look at seventeenth-century Holland in new and exciting ways.’ caa.reviews
‘Highly recommended.’ Choice
‘[A] stunningly beautiful treasure trove of architectural and material culture images. … brilliantly executed and comprehensive scholarly work. … The bibliography and notes are exhaustive. This is a book that should not be, cannot be ignored. It is an encyclopedic rereading of a major field of thought. Its contribution is enormous.’ Ecclesiastical History
‘Written by an art historian, this beautifully produced volume is an essential contribution that transcends traditional disciplines, and belongs to the fields of religion, history, material culture, art history, and Dutch culture in general.’ American Association for Netherlandic Studies
‘… this is a remarkable, insightful, and well-argued book.’ Catholic Historical Review
‘Mochizuki's stellar case-study of St. Bavo's deserves to be read by all scholars interested in early modern visual and religious culture. … Mochizuki's book is at once methodologically sophisticated and compellingly written.’ Sixteenth Century Journal
'Winner of the 2009 ACE/Mercer's International Book Award, Mochizuki's text is much admired for its imaginative power, and for pioneering a full-scale history of church art of the Dutch Golden Age. ... Filled with interesting information and new interpretations, it outlines a fascinating trajectory beyond the largely imageless church interiors of seventeenth-century Holland that is its chief subject to the fabulous images [...] made by that culture during the Golden Age.' Art and Christianity
'This is an important book for anyone interested in the art and architecture of the Reformation, with an argument that goes far bey