chapter  14

Prints and the Beginnings of Global Imagery

WithJean Michel Massing

Prints were, to a much greater extent than they are now, the Cinderella of art history, and little space was available for one’s articles, however laboured over, well-researched and original. Prints travelled, although more slowly, outside Western Europe. The first use of European prints by Africans happened in the first quarter of the sixteenth century. The influence of the prints of the Imagines on four continents visualises the attempt of the Jesuits to Christianise but also to provide a clear theological and visual coverage both of Christian history and of the liturgical year, providing not only the images but also various levels of analysis and meditation for the learned, or those whose aim was simply to teach the Christian doctrine. The whole picture is overwhelming, showing an extremely successful attempt to promote Christianity, which became one of the basic sources not only for the Jesuits but for numerous other Catholic religious orders, if not for all.