Passion: Histories of the Heart.
Exhibition & city walk
Passion: Histories of the Heart tells some of the many histories of our most intimate muscle. The heart pumps blood and oxygen. It serves as the seat of our passions and emotions. It also gives life to Catholic symbolism, mysticism and devotion. The heart’s two symbolic functions are teased out in two complementary events: an exhibition in the St Paul’s Church and an interactive walking route in the historic city centre.
The stories in the exhibition connect these Catholic meanings of the heart to the rich emotional life that developed around it in the nineteenth and twentieth century. In this period, the devotion to the Sacred Heart took flight, thanks to the support of Rome and a number of important shifts in the devotion’s emphasis: it became more overtly political and demonstrative. The burning, pierced heart symbolized pain and love. Carefully crafted devotional images and small faith objects that people kept close to the heart (sometimes literally) are shown side by side with life-size Christ and Mary statues that share their burning, pierced hearts, and with the majestic frayed flag of the Leagues of the Sacred Heart. Many of the objects in Passion have never been exhibited before. They show how the many meanings of the heart take centre stage in Catholic culture.
The twelve stops on the walking route map a wide range of heart stories. They show the many facets of the symbolic heart, not just in Catholic history but also in art and popular culture. Some stops put well-known hotspots like the Hendrik Conscience Square and the beguinage in a new light. Other, less obvious places such as the Permeke Library and a tattoo shop reveal more surprising links between Antwerp and the heart. Discover the extraordinary stories and products that turn the heart into a multi-faceted symbol for emotions and passions in the accompanying guidebook (via the app or via the paper fold-outmap).
This project has been carried out by the Religious Bodies team at the Ruusbroec Institute (University of Antwerp). The research team studies the historical ways in which the body functions as a religious object and also made the successful exhibition Wonde(r): the fascination with the suffering body. The team members are professor Tine Van Osselaer, Leonardo Rossi, Kristof Smeyers and Linde Tuybens. Curious about their research? Find out more at www.religiousbodies.com.
14 February – 30 June 2021
- Chocolatier Goossens;
- Heritage Library Hendrik Conscience
- Hilton Antwerp Old Town;
- UA University Library;
- Tourism Antwerp (Grote Markt & Central Station);
- St Catherine’s Church/Béguinage;
- St Francis’ Church;
- St Jacob’s Church;
- Ruusbroec Library;
- Museum De Reede.