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Indecent Bodies in Early Modern Visual Culture

292 pages
Amsterdam University Press
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.
Author Bio
Fabian Jonietz is a scholar at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich, where he leads a research project on the pre-modern commemoration of animals. After receiving his Ph.D. in Art History (LMU Munich, 2012), he has been awarded various fellowships and held research and teaching positions in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. Mandy Richter works at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut. In 2014, she received her Ph.D. in Art History and is the author of the monograph Die Renaissance der Kauernden Venus. Ihr Nachleben zwischen Aktualisierung und Neumodellierung von 1500 bis 1570 (Petersberg: Harrasowitz, 2016). The research of Alison G. Stewart (Ph.D., Columbia University; Professor of Art History Emerita, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, since September 2020) has centred on sixteenth-century secular imagery. Her books include Before Bruegel and Crossroads. Her most recent work addresses Sebald Beham’s move away from Dürer’s Nuremberg to Frankfurt am Main. Pia F. Cuneo (Ph.D. Northwestern University) is Professor Emerita of Art History at the University of Arizona where she taught from 1990 to 2021. She has published widely on the nexus between art, visual culture, politics, and hippology in early modern Germany. She competes locally in dressage. Ricardo De Mambro Santos is Professor of Art History and Cinema Studies at Willamette University (Salem, Oregon), where he teaches mainly courses on Renais_x0002_sance art, theory and criticism. He has curated various exhibitions of Northern and Italian Renaissance art both in Europe as well as in the United States. Catherine Emerson is a graduate of Oxford and Hull Universities and lectures in French at the National University of Ireland Galway. She is the author of two books, Olivier de La Marche and the Rhetoric of Fifteenth-Century Historiography and Regarding Manneken Pis: Culture, Celebration and Conflict in Brussels. Miriam Hall Kirch is professor of art history at the University of North Alabama. She studies sixteenth-century Germany. Her chapter in this book builds on Frankfurt research with Alison G. Stewart. Her work has received support from the American Philosophical Society, the Renaissance Society of America, and Fulbright. Susanne Meurer (Ph.D. University of London) is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Western Australia, Perth. Her research focuses on technical aspects of printmaking and the cultural history of prints. She also specialises in early German art historiography and is completing a monograph on the Nuremberg calligrapher Johann Neudörffer the Elder. Romana Sammern (née Filzmoser) is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Salzburg. Her research and teaching interests include early modern visual culture, the materiality of artworks, image theories and art theory, and the human body and sexuality at the convergence of art and medicine. Bette Talvacchia is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emerita, The University of Connecticut. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Stanford University. Her scholarship focuses on the art of the Italian Renaissance and issues of sexuality and gender. Her most recent book, The Two Michelangelos, explores the relationships in the art of Michelangelo Buonarroti and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.