Convulsionary miracles and women in print culture in France, 1737-1747

Giraud, Marie Sophie (2015). Convulsionary miracles and women in print culture in France, 1737-1747. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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This thesis addresses the print culture of Jansenist Convulsionaries from 1737 to 1747. This radical Catholic group emerged as one of various factions during the religious quarrels first provoked by the Papal Bull Unigenitus issued by Clement XI in 1713. Taking a reception-focused approach, I investigate how representations of Convulsionaries were understood by their sophisticated viewers and attempt to shed light on an aspect of previously neglected eighteenth-century visual culture.

Chapter One examines the expensive prints from pro-Jansenist Carré de Montgeron’s publication La Vérité des Miracles. My research uncovers new and diverse interpretations of images by the academician and religious painter, Jean Restout (1692-1768), with particular reference to their medical, theological and political significance. These prints were employed as legitimate documentation for miraculous cures previously refuted by the authorities. By drawing on related medical and theological material, I will show that these prints served as prompts to varied discussion for informed viewers who called-upon vast bodies of knowledge.

Chapter Two focuses on three prints and examines the representation of Convulsionary women and their unsettling religious practices. Each case study discusses the image’s context of production, its possible viewership and thus contemporary perceptions about the movement’s female members, exposing problematic readings of Convulsionary women.

Throughout, this thesis also touches on the risks and challenges encountered by artists when depicting such a controversial religious group.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
D History General and Old World > DC France
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
N Fine Arts > NE Print media


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