The Immaculate Conception in Spanish art


The Immaculate Conception in Spanish art

Suzanne L. Stratton

Cambridge University Press, 1994

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Bibliography: p. 167-174

Includes index



This book documents the formulation of a definitive iconographic form for one of the most important doctrines of the Catholic Church. From the late Middle Ages, the Immaculate Conception inspired fierce debate among, primarily, Franciscans and Dominicans, with Spanish theologians playing a major role in this controversy. Suzanne Stratton fully documents the historical background to these debates and also provides a summary of the importance of the Immaculate Conception to the Spanish Kings, for whom it served as a personal devotion and, by the seventeenth century, became a matter of considerable political importance. This study reveals that the cult of the Immaculate Conception received its impetus from the royal court and that its numerous manifestations by such masterful artists as Velazquez, Zurburan, and Murillo were in the service of propagandising the devotion.


  • List of illustrations
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. The Immaculate Conception through the fifteenth century
  • 2. The Immaculate Conception in the sixteenth century
  • 3. The Immaculate Conception during the reign of Philip III
  • 4. The Immaculate Conception during the reign of Philip IV
  • 5. The stellarium: an Immaculist devotion and its reflections in Spanish art
  • Epilogue
  • Index.

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