Morris: Art, Astrology, and the Apocalypse:  Visualizing the Occult in Post-Reformation Germany


This dissertation explores the material intersection between art, science, and magic in post-Reformation Germany.  Focusing on objects related to occult themes produced during the Lutheran sphere during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (from clocks, automata, and designs on metalwork to broadsheets and textbooks), the project sheds light on the collaboration of artists with Protestant theologians and scholars who were concerned with astrology, Cabala, Wunderzeichen, Hermeticism, and other esoteric topics.  My discussion is set within the framework of the supposed demystification of the image in the Protestant north during the sixteenth century, and considers these objects within their larger intellectual context – looking at, among other things, cultural networking, cosmologies of power, and propaganda.  In this way, the dissertation aims to illuminate new aspects of German artists’ intellectual life by situating them within a broader, but non-canonical, visual and cultural tradition which ultimately challenges the ‘disenchantment’ paradigm that long guided narratives of Northern Renaissance art.


Prof. Dr. Iris Lauterbach

Projektmitarbeiter ZI