The Surge of Religious Polychrome Sculptures in the Golden Age of Spain as Vivid Artistic Reponses to the Call of the Counter Reformation

Samantha Tromba

Student: Samantha Tromba
Major: Art History
Minor: Education
Advisors: Dr. Tracy Cosgriff, John Siewert
This research investigates the emergence of Spanish polychrome sculptures following the Counter Reformation and Council of Trent; specifically, how they were able to create a bridge between heaven and earth through intense realism, likeness, presence, empathetic sentiments, and theatricality. Due to the scholarly overlook, there were extensive gaps in literature that I strived to fill in my research. I hoped to examine the way in which these polychrome sculptures served as a form of relic to the Spanish people and how they were able to hold the divine presence of the holy figures being depicted. I argue that these religious artifacts allowed for the sacred to communicate directly to humanity through artistic depictions, and to move both the skeptical and faithful to greater devotion. Therefore, my project examines the ways in which these images presented the invisible aspects of the Christian faith into a visible reality through fine artistic craftmanship and divine intersession.

Posted in I.S. Symposium, Independent Study on May 1, 2020.