The comparison of Christ with the Roman Pope: A new acquisition for the Print Collection

Image:  The comparison of Christ with the Roman Pope, 1753. Print Collection, The University of Melbourne

A colourful 1753 Calvinist broadsheet published in Amsterdam was purchased by the Print Collection in 2020 to help illustrate the power of the press on the popular imagination. The Protestant Reformation was an era of ideological and cultural change across Europe from the 16th century onwards and Calvinism was a form of Protestantism which developed in the Netherlands. Broadsheets played an important role in the dissemination of information and news during the Reformation and influenced the everyday people who encountered them.

The ephemeral broadsheet features a hand-coloured engraving at the top which depicts a humble Christ on a donkey on the left and on the right, a prideful Pope, who represents the Catholic Church, arrayed in luxury. The left column of letterpress under the image includes a short biblical text, preceded by the biblical reference, presented as Christ telling the reader what he says or does. The right column is presented as the words of the Pope and rhyming with the words of Christ, which say he does just the opposite.

Kerrianne Stone,

Curator, Print Collection


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