Holy Organ or Unholy Idol? focuses on the significance of the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and its accompanying imagery in eighteenth-century New Spain. Lauren G. Kilroy-Ewbank considers paintings, prints, devotional texts, and archival sources within the Mexican context alongside issues and debates occurring in Europe to situate the New Spanish cult within local and global developments. She examines the iconography of these religious images and frames them within broader socio-political and religious discourses related to the Eucharist, the sun, the Jesuits, scientific and anatomical ideas, and mysticism. Images of the Heart helped to champion the cult’s validity as it was attacked by religious reformers.
Dr. Lauren G. Kilroy-Ewbank is the Contributing Editor for Latin American Colonial and Native American/First Nations art. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of California Los Angeles. Much of her research focuses on religious art in New Spain, emotions, women in art, and digital art history. In 2013, she received a Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching at Brooklyn College, CUNY, where she was an Assistant Professor of Art History until 2015. She was a tenured Associate Professor of Art History at Pepperdine University from 2015–2020. Now, she has joined Smarthistory as the Dean of Content and Strategy.