On Christian Iconography: selections from The Art of Painting (1649)

Carles Gutiérrez Sanfeliu (Translator), José Solís de los Santos (Translator), Jeremy Roe (Translator)

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


In this translation, the writings on religious painting by the Spanish painter Francisco Pacheco are for the first time made available to an English-speaking readership. The Art of Painting by Francisco Pacheco is an invaluable literary and theoretical source for the study of Spanish 17th-century painting; one of the major contributions of this book is the nine chapters, translated here, devoted to the issue of decorum in religious painting and the subject of religious iconography. Among the many subjects addressed in this book are Pacheco's own paintings, providing a rare insight into his artistic thinking, the reception of his paintings by a range of religious and secular authorities, and scholarly discussion of the historical basis for the iconography of subjects such as the Trinity, the Immaculate Conception, the Crucifixion and numerous saints including Sts. Jerome, Francis of Assisi, and Ignatius of Loyola.

Pacheco's text is also a key source for the Counter-Reformation and its cultural legacy, Spanish art and in particular the artistic and literary culture of 17th-century Seville, and cultural debates on iconography ranging from medieval heresy to Michelangelo's Last Judgment. Pacheco's chapters are translated in full, including the numerous Latin authorities that he drew on, and the text is accompanied by relevant bibliographical and historiographical references for all these sources and the diverse themes addressed. In addition, this volume is extensively illustrated with many of the paintings, prints, and sculptures cited by Pacheco, as well as contemporaneous works of art that illuminate his discussion. There is no other English translation of a Spanish art treatise currently available, thus making this an invaluable resource for lecturers teaching courses on Spanish baroque art or counter-reformation visual culture.

In addition, this book is accompanied by a critical introduction to Pacheco's activity as both an erudite painter and writer which sheds valuable light onto the concerns addressed in this book as well as the aims of its author. While his most famous apprentice, Diego Velázquez, launched a brilliant career at court, Pacheco sought to leave a literary testimony of a lifetime spent devoted to the painting of devotional and sacred subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPhiladelphia
PublisherSt. Joseph's University Press
Number of pages340
ISBN (Print)978-0-91610-189-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Christian Iconography
  • Neolatin Studies
  • Spanish Literature
  • Art History
  • Reception Studies
  • Art Theory
  • History of Religion
  • Iberian Studies
  • Baroque art and architecture
  • Counter-Reformation art


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