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In early modern Europe, the visual image began to move, not only as it traveled across great distances but also due to the introduction of innovative visual formats that produced animation within the image itself.
This book traces the arduous journeys of visual images through evidence of their use and reproduction along missionary routes from Europe to India, Japan, China, Brazil and Chile. It argues that missionary world travel was crucial to the early modern re-animation of the image through devices such as the reflection of the mirror, the multiple registers of vision of the anthropomorphic image, the imaginative and disorienting possibilities of the utopic image, and even the reconstitution of the sacred image with memories of the relation of travel to life and death. Within the journeys traced in the book, the visual image forged new connections between different locations and across different cultures, accumulating increasingly entangled histories. Even more intriguingly, these images frequently returned to Europe, changed but still recognisable, there to be used again with an awareness of their earlier travels.
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Rose Marie San Juan is Reader in History of Art at University College London
"San Juan introduces a radical contingency into our sense of the past by treating the early modern image as a site of potential animation without resolution, and as a result the 'early modern' itself becomes a site of openness and possibility."
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