La devoció del Roser a la diòcesi de Girona del segle XVI al XIX: confraries i imatges

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


The Devotion of the Virgin of the Rosary was one of the most extended cults in the Diocese of Girona during the Modern era and until the beginning of the 20th Century. The devotion of the Rosary is necessarily linked to the confraternities of the Rosary, the greatest exponents for the proliferation and preservation of this cult. The study of the Devotion of the Rosary requires also addressing a broader network of religious, social, cultural, and historical issues, which include images, rituals, festivals, political decisions and interests, symbolisms and identities. In this dissertation, the concept of devotion brings together all these complex concepts, but, above all, two axis of this devotion are discussed: confraternities and images. This dissertation shows how at the heart of the matter of devotion there is a sequence formed by the succession of the following concepts: identity, belonging, symbol, ritual. These contribute to understand devotion in a general way. The first confraternities of the Rosary were created in the late 16th Century and since then their establishment is documented until the 19th century, though the rise of this devotion takes place between the 17th and 18th centuries. These confraternities were established in parishes or their suffragans in more than half of the 350 parishes then in the Diocese of Girona. Also, a large part of the population was part of the confraternity (although, obviously, being registered in the confraternity book did not necessarily entail an active participation to the confraternity) and in this way the confraternities shaped to the devotion and, in some way, they institutionalized it. This institutionalization of the devotion happened mainly thanks to the Dominicans and the Counter-Reformation, but also thanks to the fundamental role of parishes and parish priests as well as the parishioners will and desires in Modern era societies. The confraternities of the Rosary are sponsors of the various liturgical objects and images that are part of the confraternity’s spaces and rituals. The images are present in all of the confraternity’s events and places both public (processions) and private (memorials or masses). There is a great variety of works, ranging from altarpieces, processional images, flags, pallia, jewelry and objects crafted in precious metals to clothing; all of which should be considered together in relation to their use, space, and the ritual that activates them. These specificities bring to rethink the images beyond their understanding as artworks and within the traditional context of study of art history; it is precisely for this reason that this dissertation provides as well an anthropological perspective on the devotion of the Rosary. This dissertation also documents a large number of images and liturgical objects that were part of the cult (most of them no longer extant) and commissioned by the confraternities of the Rosary in the dioceses of Girona.
Date of Award30 Oct 2015
Original languageCatalan
SupervisorBuenaventura Bassegoda Hugas (Director)


  • Confraternities
  • Images
  • Virgin of the Rosary

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