Art History Graduate Students Lecture Series
Devotional Translations: Early Modern Replicas of the Holy House of the Virgin
This project explores the proliferation of Holy Houses across the Italian peninsula. Since the original structure’s miraculous appearance in the eastern Italian town of Loreto in the late-thirteenth century, architectural replicas have appeared in Italian communities from Venice to Sicily. The project enacts the first comprehensive study of eight surviving Holy House replicas. Each structure resonates with regional priorities of devotional interaction through installation, adornment, and cult ritual. Giffin investigates the mechanics of Holy House installations—their means of display, forms of devotional worship, and aesthetic similarities or divergences from the Loretan original—in order to trace the local history of reception and devotion to each divine structure. Ultimately, “Devotional Translations” illuminates the multivalent use of sacred architecture as simultaneous sculptural installations, permeable relics, and manifestations of holy topography across the early modern era.
Erin Giffin is a PhD Candidate in Art History.