Spring 2013 Friends Lecture Series


Visualising Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

Ingenuity in the Gallery: the Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest Revisited

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

17.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

scene in a Gallery with figures next to a display unit and many painting
Willem II van Haecht, The Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, 1628 (detail). The Rubens House © Collection of Antwerp


Speaker(s): Dr Alexander Marr (Lecturer in the History of Art, 1400-1700, University of Cambridge)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Professor Joanna Woodall with Dr Eric Jorink

Willem II van Haecht's Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest (1628) is the best known and most extensively discussed example of the Flemish 'pictures of collections' genre, which rose to prominence in Antwerp in the first half of the seventeenth century. Yet despite the painting's fame, a key aspect of its allegory has been curiously overlooked. This lecture will argue that the image may be read as a celebration of ingenium: a shared attribute of the cognoscenti – be they patrons, artists, or scholars – that populate the gallery space.

Dr Alexander Marr is University Lecturer in the History of Art, 1400-700, at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity Hall. Prior to moving to Cambridge he taught at the University of St Andrews and the University of Southern California. He has published widely on early modern art and architecture, particularly on their intellectual and scientific aspects. Dr Marr is currently preparing an edition of Richard Haydocke's 1598 translation of Lomazzo's Trattato dell'arte de la pittura for publication in the MHRA's Tudor & Stuart Translations series, and is working on a book tentatively called Writing about Art in Renaissance England.

The Spring 2013 Friends Lecture Series brings together leading historians of art and of science to consider ways in which knowledge was made visible in Early Modern Europe. The series builds upon and critically engages with Svetlana Alpers’ ground-breaking book, The Art of Describing. Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (1983). It addresses a range of visual materials, including bone and wax, tables and charts, as well as oil paintings and prints. The lectures will explore the quest for knowledge with reference to physical spaces such as the humanist cabinet, the Kunstkammer and the anatomy theatre. The series is organised in conjunction with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation interdisciplinary MA on Visualizing Knowledge in the Early Modern Netherlands c. 1550 -1730.


Supported by Friends of The Courtauld



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