Chapter

The “Jesuit Style”

Evonne Levy

in Propaganda and the Jesuit Baroque

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780520233577
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928633 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520233577.003.0002
The “Jesuit Style”

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In 1951, Carlo Galassi Paluzzi published a sharp-tongued, polemical historiography mockingly entitled The Secret History of the Jesuit Style. Treating the art historical literature on Jesuit architecture from 1879 to his day, Galassi Paluzzi ridiculed the scientific imprecision of earlier assessments of the architecture of the Society of Jesus. He argued that the Jesuit Style was a monstrous hybrid. Informed by the “spirit of levity and superficiality” of the Enlightenment, the Jesuit Style, he trumpeted, was largely the fantastical invention of a highly biased Hegelian school of Protestant historians, a form of propaganda with no basis in historical fact. Although no one would claim today that a Jesuit Style existed, this term and its historiography still occupy a central if hidden place in our understanding of the Catholic Baroque. This chapter comments on the Jesuit Style and discusses the context for its emergence in Germany and France. It also examines three themes of the Jesuit Style, as well as the use of the Jesuit Style in Cornelius Gurlitt and Heinrich Wölfflin's Baroque.

Keywords: Jesuit Style; Jesuit architecture; Jesuits; Carlo Galassi Paluzzi; propaganda; Catholic Baroque; Germany; France; Cornelius Gurlitt; Heinrich Wölfflin

Chapter.  12223 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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