Cultural Hybridity Reconsidered: Religious Visual Culture and the Dutch Republic

Els Stronks


This article engages with the overriding tendency to see cultural hybridity as a progressive force in the Dutch Republic, focusing on the case of Dutch religious literature. It is a puzzling fact that in the literary realm, processes of cultural hybridity were put on hold between 1560 and 1680. In this area of cultural activity impermeable barriers between Catholic visual practices and Protestant textual traditions caused religious books to be virtually imageless. Given our current understanding of cultural hybridity and of seventeenth-century Dutch culture, why was the intermingling of textual and visual practices so unexpectedly complicated, especially in comparison to neighbouring countries where hybrid religious literary cultures emerged in spite of restrictive mechanisms such as censorship and legislation? How does the reluctance in the literary sphere relate to other cultural domains in the Dutch Republic, and to the tendency to see the Dutch Republic’s culture as a historical model of cultural hybridity?


Cultural Hybridity; Dutch Republic; Dutch Religious Literature; Early Modern Visual Culture

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