Book launch: From Hus to Luther -Visual Culture in the Bohemian Reformation (1380-1620)
From Hus to Luther -Visual Culture in the Bohemian Reformation (1380-1620) edited by Katerina Hornicková and M. Šroněk, presented by Béla Zsolt Szakács
This book portrays a little-known phenomenon in Bohemian cultural and political history – the visual culture that grew up in the environment of Reformation churches in Bohemia from the time of the Hussites until the defeat of the Estates by the Habsburg coalition at White Mountain in 1620. It provides the first comprehensive overview of a forgotten era of artistic production over a period of approximately two hundred years, when most of the population of Bohemia professed non-Catholic faiths.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries a unique situation arose in Bohemia, with five main Christian denominations (Utraquists, Lutherans, the Unity of Brethren, Calvinists, and Catholics) gradually coming to function alongside each other, with a number of other religious groups also active. The main churches, which had a fundamental influence on political stability in the state, were the majority Utraquists and the minority Catholics. Yet the essays of this book establish that despite the particularities of the Bohemian situation, the religious trends of Bohemia were an integral part of the process of Reformation across Europe.
Featuring over fifty illustrations including manuscript illumination, panel painting, and architecture, the book also presents the surviving cultural products of the four non-Catholic Christian denominations, ranging from the more moderate to radical Reformation cultures. The book also analyses the attitudes of these denominations to religious representations, and illuminates their uses of visual media in religious and confessional communication. The book thus opens up both the Reformation culture of Bohemia and its artistic heritage to an international audience.
Kateřina Horníčková obtained her PhD at CEU Budapest in 2009. She is a researcher at the FWF SFB 42 research program, Visions of Community, based in Vienna, and lecturer in art history at the University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice. She has published on late medieval art and the Hussites, medieval treasures and piety, and collaborated in several interdisciplinary projects on medieval, and early modern visual and material culture.
Michal Šroněk obtained his PhD at Masaryk University, Brno. He is a researcher at the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences and university professor of art history at the University of South Bohemia. He specialises in Early Modern painting and visual culture. He is the author of several monographs and studies on sixteenth- and seventeeth-century Bohemian art, and on the connections between art and the Reformation.