Building Faith: Ethiopian Art and Architecture during the Jesuit Interlude, 1557–1632
This dissertation examines the relationship between royally-sponsored Roman Catholic and Ethiopian Orthodox art and architecture during the 1557 to 1632 Jesuit Ethiopian mission. The first part of the dissertation examines key religious and secular sites, demonstrating how these structures combined elements drawn from classicizing architectural treatises, the Portuguese estilo chão, and Ethiopian architecture. The second part of the project assesses the role of books, prints, and religious art as tools of conversion and as artistic models. In contrast to studies that posit that European visual culture supplanted the Ethiopian during the mission era, the dissertation argues that the period’s art and architecture demonstrates the Jesuit strategy of cultural accommodation, and that far from being apart from Ethiopian art history, it shares stylistic and iconographic hallmarks with the so-called “Gondärine style.”
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