A Glimpse into Eternity. The Reception and Transformation of the Bildmotette ‘Adoration of God’s Lamb’ at the Multiplied and Modified Conference at University of Warsaw, 28-29. 06. 2018

The proposed paper represent the first of several planned contributions to the reception history of a “Bildmotette” by J. Winghe and J. Sadeler in the Baltic region. My interest on the image goes back to my time at the German St. Gertruds Parish Church in Stockholm, where I discovered a painted copy of the original engraving. In this project, I cooperate with Alexandra Mütel, art historian and formal doctoral researcher at the rennomed Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, which is a particular pleasure. The conference “Multiplied and Modified. Reception of the Printed Image in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries” is jointly hosted by the University of Warsaw and the National Museum in Warsaw and was hold on June 28-29, 2018.


A Glimpse into Eternity.
The Reception and Transformation of the Bildmotette ‘Adoration of God’s Lamb’ by J. Winghe, J. Sadeler and A. Peverage

by Dr. András Handl, KU Leuven, Belgium, and
Alexandra Ida Mütel, MA, Universität Bonn, Germany

The so called Bildmotette, a late sixteenth century invention, has its origins in the confessional confrontations in the Low Countries. The new genre presents written music not only in a visually appealing setting but also as part of the iconographic composition. The engravings offered, due their mostly biblical themes, far more than a multi-sensual or aesthetic experience: The collective polyphone singing combined with the visual contemplation provided a unique spiritual experience rooted in the roman-Catholic religious exercise. The “Adoration of God’s Lamb”, a co-production of J.van Winghe, J. Sadeler and A. Peverage represents an early and iconographically particularly intriguing example of a Bildmotette. The combination of several scenes from the Revelations of John (Rev. 4, 5 and 6) offers not only a novel and theologically outstanding composition, but also visualise a passage reflecting the final objective of any existence from the Christian perspective. With other words, it permits a meditative glimpse into the promised eternity. The skilful visual and theological conception seems to literarally strike the right chord of its time: it was multiplied several times. At least two paintings used it as a Vorlage, (Turin and a recent discovery in Stockholm) and one of the illustrations from the so called Kupferbibel of Merian draws also from this source. Remarkably, the reception take place in a protestant context. This paper aims to examine the reception of this engraving by paying particular attention to the modifications and transformations in composition, particularly in the light of the (intended) purpose of the copies.