Icons of Sacred Matter: the Interpretation of Dutch Golden Age Painting in the Light of Protestant Hierotopy

Andrew Simsky
2018 Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Art Studies: Science, Experience, Education (ICASSEE 2018)   unpublished
This paper employs the concept of Protestant Hierotopy to explore the spiritual roots of Dutch Golden Age Painting. Hierotopic methodology focuses on the creation of sacred spaces as a form of human creativity. Though the Reformation may have done away with ecclesiastical sacred spaces, it introduced a new kind of hierotopy in their place: a sacralization of the whole of Creation, with a focus on human environments. Protestant admiration for nature was imbued with religious feelings, while
more » ... eelings, while cleanliness and domesticity came to be seen as closely akin to holiness. In this paper I interpret Dutch Golden Age Painting as an iconography of this new form of sacrality. I argue that what we find in this art ought to be understood, not as a purely descriptive, objective realism conceived for its own sake, but rather as a passionate or even sacred naturalism motivated by admiration for God's marvelous creation and enhanced by a Protestant sense of coworking with the Creator.
doi:10.2991/icassee-18.2018.65 fatcat:bipbthuww5gbvlchjn4zktgfze