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In 1454 the Sienese painter Francesco di Bartolomeo Alfei faced litigation from the Mercanzia in Siena for defaulting on a contract from one of the leading Franciscan confraternities in the city. Two fellow Sienese artists, Giovanni di Paolo and Sano di Pietro, had recently completed a new altarpiece for the same entity. Anabel Thomas considers how the two commissions were linked and questions why Francesco di Bartolomeo Alfei's brief to fresco the confraternity chapel remained unfinished.
In a wide ranging analysis of mainly unpublished records, focussing on the artist's association with key members of Sienese society, fellow artisans and government officials, Thomas concludes that Francesco di Bartolomeo Alfei might have honoured his contract had he not become immersed in the military strategy, diplomacy and visual propaganda of the Republic of Siena.
The catastrophic Sicilian earthquake of 1693 led to the rebuilding of over sixty towns in the island's south-west. The rebuilding extended into the eighteenth century and gave opportunities for the reassertion and the transformation of power relations. Although eight of the towns are now protected by UNESCO, the remarkable architecture resulting from this rebuilding is little known outside Sicily.
This is the first book-length study in English of this interesting area of early modern architecture. Rather than seek to address all of the towns, five case studies discuss key aspects of the rebuilding by approaching the architecture from different scales, from that of a whole town to parts of a town, or single buildings, or parts of buildings and their decoration. Each case study also investigates a different theoretical assumption in architecture, including ideas of the Baroque, rational planning, and the relegation of decoration in architectural discourse.
In-Between Textiles is a decentred study of how textiles shaped, disrupted, and transformed subjectivities in the age of the first globalisation. The volume presents a radically cross-disciplinary approach that brings together world-leading anthropologists, archaeologists, art historians, conservators, curators, historians, scientists, and weavers to reflect on the power of textiles to reshape increasingly contested identities on a global scale between 1400 and 1800. Contributors posit the concept of 'in-between textiles', building upon Homi Bhabha's notion of in-betweenness as the actual material ground of the negotiation of cultural practices and meanings; a site identified as the battleground over strategies of selfhood and the production of identity signs troubled by colonialism and consumerism across the world. In-Between Textiles establishes cutting-edge conversations between textile studies, critical cultural theory, and material culture studies to examine how textiles created and challenged experiences of subjectivity, relatedness, and dis/location that transformed social fabrics around the globe.
This book examines a group of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century figural silks depicting legendary lovers from the 'Khamsa' (Quintet) of epic Persian poetry. Codified by Nizami Ganjavi in the twelfth-century, the Khamsa gained popularity in the Persian-speaking realm through illustrated manuscripts produced for the elite, creating a template for illustrating climactic scenes in the love stories of 'Layla and Majnun' and 'Khusrau and Shirin' that appear on early modern silks. Attributed to Safavid Iran, the publication proposes that dress fashioned from these silks represented Sufi ideals based on the characters. Migration of weavers between Safavid and Mughal courts resulted in producing goods for a sophisticated and educated elite, demonstrating shared cultural values and potential reattribution. Through an examination of primary source materials, literary analysis of the original text, and close iconographical study of figural designs, the study presents original cross-disciplinary arguments about patronage, provenance, and the socio-cultural significance of wearing these silks.
Baroque depictions of violence are often dismissed as 'over the top' and 'excessive'. Their material richness and exciting visual complexity, together with the visceral engagement they demand from beholders, are usually explained in literature as reflecting the presumed violence of early modern society. This book explores the intersection between materiality, excess, and violence in seventeenth-century paintings through a close analysis of some of the most iconic works of the period. Baroque paintings expose or reference their materiality by insisting on various physical changes wrought through violence. This study approaches violence as the work of materiality, which has the potential to analogously stage pictorial surfaces as corporeal surfaces, where paint becomes flayed flesh, canvas threads ruptured skin, and red paint spilt blood.
The life-like depiction of the body became a central interest and defining characteristic of the European Early Modern period that coincided with the establishment of which images of the body were to be considered 'decent' and representable, and which disapproved, censored, or prohibited. Simultaneously, artists and the public became increasingly interested in the depiction of specific body parts or excretions. This book explores the concept of indecency and its relation to the human body across drawings, prints, paintings, sculptures, and texts. The ten essays investigate questions raised by such objects about practices and social norms regarding the body, and they look at the particular function of those artworks within this discourse. The heterogeneous media, genres, and historical contexts north and south of the Alps studied by the authors demonstrate how the alleged indecency clashed with artistic intentions and challenges traditional paradigms of the historiography of Early Modern visual culture.
Early modern views of nature and the earth upended the depiction of land. Landscape emerged as a site of artistic exploration at a time when environments and ecologies were reshaped and transformed. This volume historicizes the contingency of an ever-changing elemental world, reframing and reimagining landscape as a mediating space in the interplay between the natural and the artificial, the real and the imaginary, the internal and the external. The lens of the 'unruly' reveals the latent landscapes that undergirded their conception, the elemental resources that resurfaced from the bowels of the earth, the staged topographies that unsettled the boundaries between nature and technology, and the fragile ecologies that undermined the status quo of human environs. Landscape and Earth in Early Modernity: Picturing Unruly Nature argues for an art history attentive to the vicissitudes of circumstance and attributes the regrounding of representation during a transitional age to the unquiet landscape.
This book investigates the aesthetic and conceptual characteristics of fifteenth-century female portraiture on panel. Portraits of women increased substantially during this century. They formed part of a material and a visual culture borne out of the rapid rise of an oligarchy from entrepreneurial activities that was especially advanced in the urbanised territories of Italy and Flanders. For this reason, the portraits in this book are by Netherlandish and Italian painters. They are simultaneously illustrative of the emancipation of the genre from its medieval idiom, and of the responses to the matrix of patriarchy, under which society was organised.
Patriarchy is an androcentric structure that places women in a paradoxical situation of legal and social disenfranchisement on the account of purported psychophysical inadequacy, whilst making them the catalysts, through arranged marriages, for the success of the spheres of power, which are controlled by men. Thus, these portraits are also a window into women's lives in this structure. This book is the first systematic study of their sign-system and of the feminine experience of seeing and being seen, at the intersection of disciplines that include art history, anthropology, legal history, philosophy. The surprising results suggest new interpretations of form and function in female portraiture, women's active role in the imaging process and the early instances of a pro-women ideology.
This book places the discourse surrounding stigmata within the visual culture of the late medieval and early modern periods, with a particular focus on Italy and on female stigmatics. Echoing, and to a certain extent recreating, the wounds and pain inflicted on Christ during his passion, stigmata stimulated controversy. Related to this were issues that were deeply rooted in contemporary visual culture such as how stigmata were described and performed and whether, or how, it was legitimate to represent stigmata in visual art. Because of the contested nature of stigmata and because stigmata did not always manifest in the same form - sometimes invisible, sometimes visible only periodically, sometimes miraculous, and sometimes self-inflicted - they provoked complex questions and reflections relating to the nature and purpose of visual representation.
This book presents four case studies that interrogate how German fifteenth-century painted triptychs engage with, and ultimately blur various boundaries. Some of the boundaries are internal to the triptych format, for example, transgressed frames between narratives scenes on triptychs' interiors, or interconnections between imagery on triptychs' interiors and exteriors. Other blurred boundaries are regional ones between the Netherlands and Cologne; metaphysical ones between heaven and earth; and artistic distinctions between the media of painting and sculpture. The book's case studies, which shed new light on Conrad von Soest, Stefan Lochner, and the Master of the St Bartholomew Altarpiece, illuminate the importance of German fifteenth-century painting, while providing a fresh assessment of relations between German triptychs and their more famous Netherlandish counterparts' and demonstrating the value of probing Medialität, the implications of format and medium for generating meaning. The book's coda assesses the triptych in the age of Dürer.
This book offers nine new approaches toward a single work of art, Titian's Allegory of Marriage or Allegory of Alfonso d'Avalos, dated to 1530/5. In earlier references, the painting was named simply Allegory, alluding to its enigmatic nature. The work follows in a tradition of such ambiguous Venetian paintings as Giovanni Bellini's Sacred Allegory and Giorgione's Tempest. Throughout the years, Titian's Allegory has engendered a range of diverse interpretations. Art historians such as Hans Tietze, Erwin Panofsky, Walter Friedlaender, and Louis Hourticq, to mention only a few, promoted various explanations. This book offers novel approaches and suggests new meanings toward a further understanding of this somewhat abstruse painting.
This is the first book to focus on coins as material artefacts and agents of meaning in the arts of the early modern period. The precious metals, double-sided form, and emblematic character of coins had deep resonance in European culture and cultural encounters. Coins embodied Europe's impressive power and the labour, increasingly located in colonised regions, of extracting gold and silver. Their efficacy depended on faith in their inherent value and the authority perceived to be imprinted into them, guaranteed through the institution of the Mint. Yet they could speak eloquently of illusion, debasement and counterfeiting. A substantial introduction precedes paired essays by interdisciplinary scholars organised around five themes: power and authority in the Mint; currency and the anxieties of global trade; coins and persons; coins in and out of circulation; credit and risk. A thought-provoking afterword focused on an American contemporary artist demonstrates the continuing expressive and symbolic power of numismatic forms.
This book argues that theatre, and the new genre of opera in particular, played a key role in creating a new vision of landscape during the long seventeenth century in Italy. It explores how the idea of gardens as theatres emerged at the same time as opera was developed in Italian courts around the turn of the seventeenth century. During this period landscape painting emerged as a genre and the aesthetic of designed landscapes and gardens was wholly transformed, which resulted in a reconceptualization of the relationship between humans and landscape. The importance of theatre as a key cultural expression Italy is widely recognised, but the visual culture of theatre and its relationship to the broader artistic culture is still being untangled. This book argues that the combination of narratives playing out in natural settings (Arcadia, Parnassus, Alcina), the emotional responses elicited by sets and special effects (the apparent magical manipulation of the laws of nature), and the way that garden theatres were used for displays of power and to enact princely virtue and social order, all contributed to this shifting idea of landscape in the seventeenth century.
The importance of place 'as a unique spatial identity' has been recognized since antiquity. Ancient references to the 'genius loci', or spirit of place, evoked not only the location of a distinct atmosphere or environment, but also the protection of this location, and implicitly, its making and construction. This volume examines the concept of place as it relates to architectural production and building knowledge in early modern Europe (1400-1800). The places explored in the book's ten essays take various forms, from an individual dwelling to a cohesive urban development to an extensive political territory. Within the scope of each study, the authors draw on primary source documents and original research to demonstrate the distinctive features of a given architectural place, and how these are related to a geographic location, social circumstances, and the contributions of individual practitioners. The essays underscore the distinct techniques, practices and organizational structures by which physical places were made in the early modern period.
The significance of the media and communications revolution occasioned by printmaking was profound. Less a part of the standard narrative of printmaking's significance is recognition of the frequency with which the widespread dissemination of printed works also occurred beyond the borders of Europe and consideration of the impact of this broader movement of printed objects. Within a decade of the invention of the printing press, European prints began to move globally. Over the course of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, numerous prints produced in Europe traveled to areas as varied as Turkey, India, Persia, Ethiopia, China, Japan and the Americas, where they were taken by missionaries, artists, travelers, merchants and diplomats. This collection of essays explores the transmission of knowledge, both written and visual, between Europe and the rest of the world by means of prints in the Early Modern period.
This volume presents the first collection of essays dedicated to women as producers of visual and material culture in the Early Modern European courts, offering fresh insights into the careers of, among others, Caterina van Hemessen, Sofonisba Anguissola, Luisa Roldán, and Diana Mantuana. Also considered are groups of female makers, such as ladies-in-waiting at the seventeenth-century Medici court. Chapters address works by women who occupied a range of social and economic positions within and around the courts and across media, including paintings, sculpture, prints, and textiles. Both individually and collectively, the texts deepen understanding of the individual artists and courts highlighted and, more broadly, consider the variety of experiences of female makers across traditional geographic and chronological distinctions. The book is also accompanied by the Global Makers: Women Artists in the Early Modern Courts digital humanities project (www.globalmakers.ua.edu), extending and expanding the work begun here.
The visual legacy of early modern cardinals constitutes a vast and extremely rich body of artworks, many of superb quality, in a variety of media, often by well-known artists and skilled craftsmen. Yet cardinal portraits have primarily been analysed within biographical studies of the represented individual, in relation to the artists who created them, or within the broader genre of portraiture. No more profound investigation of these as a specific category of object has ever been attempted. This volume addresses questions surrounding the production, collection, and status of the cardinal portrait, covering diverse geographies and varied media. Examining the development of cardinals' imagery in terms of their multi-layered identities, this volume considers portraits of 'princes of the Church' as a specific cultural phenomenon reflecting cardinals' unique social and political position.
Stretching back to antiquity, motion had been a key means of designing and describing the physical environment. But during the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, individuals across Europe increasingly designed, experienced, and described a new world of motion: one characterized by continuous, rather than segmented, movement. New spaces that included vistas along house interiors and uninterrupted library reading rooms offered open expanses for shaping sequences of social behaviour, scientists observed how the Earth rotated around the sun, and philosophers attributed emotions to neural vibrations in the human brain. Early Modern Spaces in Motion; examines this increased emphasis on motion with eight essays encompassing a geographical span of Portugal to German-speaking lands and a disciplinary range from architectural history to English. It consequently merges longstanding strands of analysis considering people in motion and buildings in motion to explore the cultural historical attitudes underpinning the varied impacts of motion in early modern Europe.
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