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Modus: Prace z historii sztuki — 18.2018

DOI article:
Demchuk, Stefaniia: Two Suppers: Illustrations by Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen to Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi (1523) and the eucharistic controversy of the early Reformation
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1. Jacob Cornelisz. van
Oostsanen, Passover,
woodcut, 113 x 79 mm,
on linę:
http://hdl.handle.net/i 0934
/RM 0001 .COLLECT.590272
2. Jacob Cornelisz. van
Oostsanen, Lastsupper,
woodcut, 113 x 81 mm,
on linę:
http://hdl.handle.net/i 0934
/RM 0001 .COLLECT.590274

stood out from the rest of similar editions. Moreover, the prayer book emerged at
the time when its sponsors and creators were facing a critical challenge. The first
trials of heretics, followers of Luther s ideas, were due to take place in 1523. The city
council of Amsterdam treated them rather leniently. Such attitude infuriated devout
Catholics, the likes of Occo, Alardus, van Oostsanen and others, who argued that
religious tolerance could not be afforded at the time of rapid propagation of the
Reformation ideas.4 That is why the narrative created by Alardus (dwelling mostly
upon his Lent sermons) is fuli of allusions to these disputations.
The text was embellished with engravings taking up almost a half of page count.
The influence of works by Albrecht Durer is clearly traceable in them - Jacob Cor-
nelisz. was a follower of the German artist, and it is assumed that they might have
met.5 As it seems to us, these engravings were conceived to be as powerful as the
text in delivering the ideological message.
Let us verify this statement by having a closer look at two of them: the Celebration
of the Passover (Fig. 1) and the Last Supper (Fig. 2) being both unique and unconven-
tional in their combination. Ali researchers exploring the 1523 edition of the Passion
have been paying particular attention to them, although nobody has found any con-
troversy therein. However, a similar “alliance” is not found anywhere else. Taking into
consideration the ideological background of the Passion, a study of these engravings
can shed some light on both the role of the Netherlandish intellectual elite in the
Eucharist Reformation controversy of 1520S, and the naturę of its influence on art. The
dominant approach in the historiography consists in juxtaposing the Reformation art
(primarily the works by Cranach) with the art of the Counterreformation commonly
associated with the Council of Trent. However, had the art ever been employed to up-
hold the Catholic creed before the Council of Trent? And if it had, then to what extent?

4 Ibidem, p. 130.
5 For the discussion on this subject, please see: J. L. Carroll, The paintings of Jacob Cornelisz. van
Oostsanen (1472?- 1533), Ann Arbor 1991, pp. 19-20.



Stefaniia Demchuk