Johannes Gebhardt – (Cult)Images Painted by the Devil: Bloody Crucifixes and Diabolism in the Early Modern Andean Region

The paper focuses on a particular crucifixion iconography characterized by the depiction of an extremely bloody body of Christ that was widely popular in the Andean region in the 17th and 18th centuries. According to the inscriptions on the paintings, these images were painted by the devil at the request of a slave who, upon seeing the image, converted to Christianity. One of the paintings is located in the Monasterio de Monjas de Clausura de Santa Rosa de Lima and will serve as a starting point for the examination and discussion of this case study at the Academy. Since there is still a lack of in-depth study of this type of crucifixion scene that originated in Europe, this paper will focus on the following aspects: What role did mysticism in the monastic context play in the proliferation of such bloody images created by the devil, especially in the Andean region? What was the purpose of these images and how were they perceived by the worshipper? Could we even go so far as to call the devil’s crucifix an ›unintentional cult image‹ after it caused the conversion of a slave? In light of current discourses on the power of images, this paper will add an art theoretical approach to the discourse on the concepts of evil in Latin America, at a time when the devil as artist (›mille artifex‹) was already a well-established topos in early modern Europe. It will thus contribute to the transregional and transcultural character of the Academy’s overarching theme of the study of Latin American art.

Johannes Gebhardt is Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Art History at the University of Leipzig, where he received his PhD in 2018. In 2022/2023 he was Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies /Museo Nacional del Prado Joint Fellow (Postdoc) in Florence and Madrid. His research focuses on early modern art from a transcultural perspective, with a particular emphasis on cult images, art theory, materiality and, most recently, on blood. Johannes is the author of the book, Apparitio Sacri–Occultatio Operis. Zeigen und Verbergen von Kultbildern in Italien und Spanien (1600–1700): the first systematic investigation of moveable altarpieces, highly popular early modern devices for the staging of cult images. He has received fellowships from the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Düsseldorf. Johannes studied Art History at the Universities of Leipzig, Passau, and Toledo.

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Academies Editorial Board (2024, 29. Februar). Johannes Gebhardt – (Cult)Images Painted by the Devil: Bloody Crucifixes and Diabolism in the Early Modern Andean Region. TRANSREGIONAL ACADEMIES. Abgerufen am 15. Juni 2024, von

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