Conference paper “Irish Tears and Miserable Waldensians: Images of Religious Persecution in the Dutch Republic”

In November 2014, scholars from several universities in Western and Eastern Europe will meet at the University of Konstanz, Germany, to discuss the visualisation of power, resistance and punishment in early modern times.

The overall aim of our conference is to find cross-cultural links as well as sources of conflict and misunderstanding in the respective visual traditions and their socio-political contexts.

David de Boer (University of Konstanz) deals with religious conflict in 17th and 18th century Europe and especially analysis the reception of religious persecution in the Dutch Republic.

In his conference paper, he is going to focus on religious discrimination in 17th century Ireland and France.

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In the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic adherents of different faiths enjoyed a freedom to practice their religion that was unequalled in any other part of Europe. Indeed, although the sixteenth-century religious wars may have been over, Europe still experienced an extremely turbulent period in terms of religion. In 1641 countless Protestants were slaughtered by Catholics in Ireland, the Thirty Years War formed the stage of unprecedented episodes of interconfessional violence, and in France Protestants were collectively persecuted and banished from their country. News about these events quickly found their way to the Dutch Republic, sometimes in the form of emotional appeals for help or charity. Images often took a central role in media surrounding religious persecution abroad. Assumedly, visual representations of the cruelties enacted on fellow Protestants were believed to be a stronger trigger to emotional involvement than were textual descriptions. In this paper, I explore the visual languages of religious violence in the Dutch Republic and their role in public debates on foreign aid.


Monika Barget

Since September 2013, I have been a member of the international research group "Revolts as Communicative Events" based at the University of Konstanz, Germany. My research interests include early modern constitutional history and political iconography.

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