Objects, Questions and Themes


Among the questions and issues that can be raised are the following. 

  • Differences in practice in northern and southern Europe
  • Differences in practice from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries
  • Different uses of indulgences for building costs, liturgical furnishings, attendance at specific sites, buildings, chapels etc., and their potential and actual influence on the progress and success or failure of building projects, pilgrimage sites etc.
  • The influence of indulgences on the popularity, diffusion, and design of images
  • Indulgences in relation to presence within the image
  • Indulgences in relation to the measurements of holy persons and places
  • The varying relations between indulgences, relics and images
  • Physical involvement with works of art (e.g. osculation, prayer, touch, sight) as prompted, or promoted , by indulgences
  • Types of media with which indulgences were not generally associated – why not?
  • ‘Inflation’ of indulgences in relation to monetary models of inflation
  • The physical appearance and display of the indulgence
  • Satirical approaches to the indulgence in literature
  • The history of indulgenced views
  • Indulgences in the New World
  • Indulgences and the Council of Trent
  • Renewing an image: indulgences for pre-existing works
  • The genesis of the indulgence as an instrument for art and architecture
  • The decline of the indulgence in relation to art and architecture

Suggestions for additions and amplifications are welcomed and should be sent to indulgence@courtauld.ac.uk .

Objects for discussion


Examples of indulgenced art and architecture that may be the subject of discussion can be found here