Call for Journal Submissions: ‘Image and Devotion’, Revista Cultura, Espaço e Memória (CEM), vol. 14 (2021), deadline 30 April 2021

The Transdisciplinary Research Centre for Culture, Space and Memory (CITCEM) invites the submission of article proposals for its journal Cultura, Espaço e Memória (CEM), vol. 14 (2021).

The fourteenth volume of CEM is dedicated to the theme of image and devotion and thus is framed within the scope of CITCEM ́s Tangible and Intangible Heritage Research Group. Following on previous scientific meetings focusing on the subject of image, namely the Research Workshop ‘Devotional practices and images’ organised by students of both the Masters Course in History of Art, Heritage and Visual Culture and the Doctoral Degree in Heritage Studies, this issue of CEM aims to promote a reflection on images and the devotional practices.

The proposals formulated by Herbert Kessler (2004) and Eric Palazzo (2010) for the study of the connections between art and liturgy focus themselves on the multidimensional approach to the artistic object and the exploration of its multiple aspects of functionality. Palazzo proposes, as an exploratory way, the study of the interaction between the artistic productions intended for the ritual, the images and the liturgical objects – and other elements that participate in the liturgy, sacred texts, light, smells, the ritual’s actors and the spatial organisation of the ceremony. The presence of light next to the sacred images corresponds to a very ancient practice. As demonstrated by J.-M- Sansterre, lamps accompanied the painted images on the church walls or in icons since the Early Middle Ages.
As summarized by García Avilés (2013), there have been important changes to history of art research in the last decades. From a perspective centred on the matters related to the production of the work of art, artist, promoters, aesthetic values, models, etc., a path has been taken towards the issues related to the reception of the Past’s visual culture. This evolution is forged in a double shift: iconic and anthropological.

Images miraculously moving into life, whose mentions are particular significant from the 14th century and throughout the Modern Age, actually have much earlier testimonies. García Avilés (2011) exemplifies how the Cantigas of Alfonso X reveal the effectiveness of prayer in evoking the action of Marian images as mediators of their sacred purpose. It has been widely debated in the last decades the complex functions of images in churches, defining them simultaneously as vehicle of the saint’s virtus represented by the art, as a material support for meditation or devotion and, as well, as elements that were part of the church symbolic decoration, where they could embody a certain objective presence of the represented supernatural reality (Sureda i Jubanay, 2012, 2013).

There are several interrogations on the function of images. What were their uses? Which practices and rituals were they a part of? How were images activated by gestures, words, sounds, rituals, prayers, deposition of ex-votos? Which other objects interacted with images? What was the importance of the travel in the diffusion of images? In which capacity can the image be understood as a support to cultural permeabilities? In which way is the devotion both a cause and effect of the artistic production?

We appeal for contributions on the study of images in the long duration and in an ample geographic context. Approaches that focus on the potential of the image as an appeal to the senses and transmission of meanings will also be valued. Beyond its thematic dossier, CEM accepts other works including news and critical reviews.

Author information

  • Accepted Languages: Portuguese, English, French and Spanish.
  • Submission proposal: Title, abstract (100 words – 150 words) and 3 to 5 keywords by April 30, 2021
  • Submission date: August 31, 2021
  • Notification date: October 15, 2021
  • Publication: December 2021

Authors must fully comply with the established deadlines, as well as the CEM’s norms of publication.

Contacts:, tlf. +351 22 607 71 77 +info:


Published by Lydia McCutcheon

Lydia McCutcheon graduated from the University of Kent with a First Class Honours in History in 2019. She also holds an MSt in Medieval Studies from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation on the twelfth-century miracle collections for St Thomas Becket and the stained-glass 'miracle windows' at Canterbury Cathedral explored the presentation of children and familial relationships in textual and visual narratives. Her research interests include the visual and material cultures of saints and sanctity, pilgrimage, and childhood and the family.

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