Picture: Anónimo. Vista de Sevilla, h. 1660. Óleo sobre lienzo 163 x 274 cm. Fundación Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla (Focus).

Agents: Jesuit Procurators and Alternative Channels for Artistic Circulation in the Hispanic World

Calls for Papers (CFP)

ProJesArt is pleased to announce the simultaneous opening of two Calls for Papers (CFP) for academic events dedicated to various topics related to the lines of research of our project “Agents: Jesuit Procurators and Alternative Channels for Artistic Circulation in the Hispanic World”.

The project

ProJesArt is a research project financed by the Spanish government which begun in 2022 and has a duration of three years. It is based in the Department of History and Theory of Art of the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid and includes fifteen scholars  from eight universities and one museum distributed over six countries. 

The project studies the provincial procurators of the Society of Jesus, and their impact in the artistic and material culture of the Early Modern Hispanic world. Special emphasis is placed on their role in international cultural exchange and circulation between Europe and the viceroyalties of Spanish America and in territories and contact zones in the Pacific.

Procurators were selected periodically (typically every three years) from their Jesuit provinces to assist meetings of the Society of Jesus in Rome. For those that travelled from the Spanish American viceroyalties, an additional and major responsibility was to recruit missionaries and purchase the necessary materials for the missions. 

“Agents” is the term we have chosen to characterize the heterogeneous activities that they undertook which extended into administrative tasks as well as varied purchases, although the historiography has also labelled them mediators, delegates or even lobbyists. During their sojourn and through the many stopping points on their itinerary, they bought dozens of books and objects of devotion for their schools and churches, including medals, rosaries, crucifixes, relics, portable altars, textiles to fashion liturgical vestments, paintings, sculptures, and prints. In themselves, these acquisitions entailed elaborate coordination to guarantee their shipment, safe arrival, and distribution. However, in addition, they were also “agents” because they accepted making purchases, solving problems and doing favors for all sorts of people in their places of origin: buying a dining service of rock crystal for a nobleman in Venezuela, blue pigment for a painter in the city of Mexico, fake pearl strands for women in Chile, a Neapolitan Christ Child with a specific kind of surface finish for a priest in Paraguay, or an Italian ivory crucifix for their school in Valladolid (Spain) are some examples. Given the great variety of occupations undertaken during their travels, the project seeks to engage not only with Jesuit studies but also with material culture studies, art history and globalization. As is well known, in the Early Modern period, the world was connected in many ways, but the role the Jesuit procurators played is one of the unwritten chapters in global history. 

In addition, procurator documentation offers a means to visualize a great many understudied objects in the history of art, and so providing object biographies is another aim of this project. Some of these objects (or types of objects) still exist, in museum storage rooms and in secondary church spaces, both in Spain and in Latin America. However, they do not belong to the grand narratives which the history of art has built around the concepts of authorship, style, and quality, and which have determined what history is written and which objects are displayed. Confident in the power of documents and objects to generate new accounts of the past, this project will try and restore a sense for this patrimony and the agents that made possible their transferal across vast distances. 

Agents: Jesuit Procurators and Alternative Channels for Artistic Circulation in the Hispanic World.

  • Relics of St. Ignatius of Loyola and Devotion in New Spain

    Relics of St. Ignatius of Loyola and Devotion in New Spain

    Since the arrival of the Society of Jesus to the Viceroyalty of New Spain in 1572, the order spread the devotion to Father Ignatius. The annua letters of the Province of Mexico at the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century narrate the miracles of the founder of the order, many…

    Más información

ProJesArt, “Conseguidores”: Procuradores jesuitas y circuitos artísticos alternativos en el mundo hispánico (ref. PID2021-122189OB-100)

01-01-2022 / 31-12-2024