The idol has traditionally been regarded as the anti-image, the thing in opposition to which 'good' art was defined. The idol mattered to artists, patrons and writers alike, for whatever their confession, and whatever their thoughts about the proper place of the devotional object, almost all took their own doctrines to be antagonistic to practices they imagined as idolatrous. Whilst the idol was not a Renaissance invention, this volume shows how both its embrace and its consequences expanded in unprecedented ways in the years after 1500. As well as offering perspectives on how the idol can serve as a useful category for exploring the status of artworks across national and international boundaries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it underlines the slippery nature of the term, and the difficulty of arriving at a consensus of what actually constitutes an idol.Comprising essays from scholars in widely ranging fields, covering European subjects and European perceptions of other cultures, this volume contributes to the important project of globalizing the study of European art. Approaching the Reformation idol as an essentially international problem, and placing particular emphasis on cultural encounters, it provides fresh perspectives on the very nature of Renaissance art, and underscores how colonial issues came to be often framed in terms of European religious conflicts.