2019 SCSC Annual Conference, St. Louis, MO
IAS-Sponsored Session

Art and Natural History III: Italy and the Wider World

Sterling Studio 6
Saturday October 19, 2019, 10:30am-12:00pm

Organizer: Sheryl E. Reiss, Newberry Library

Chair: James Clifton, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


Irene Backus, Oklahoma State University
“From Ming Deer to Ottoman Tulips: Medici Porcelain and the Migratory Ornament”
Sheryl E. Reiss, Newberry Library and University of Chicago Graham School
“Pope Clement VII, the World beyond Europe, and the Visual Arts: The New World and Africa”

In recent years, the interests of art historians working on early modern Italy have expanded significantly to include encounters with cultures beyond Europe. In the wake of this “global turn,” scholars have opened our eyes to cross-cultural exchange with the Americas, Africa and Asia, and to modes of representing non-European “Others.” Pope Clement VII (reg. 1523-1534), the focus of this paper, is well known for his vacillating relationships with European rulers including the Holy Roman emperor Charles V, the French king Francis I, and the English king Henry VIII. Less well known are his dealings with the world beyond Europe. This paper explores Giulio de’ Medici’s interactions—both as cardinal during the pontificate of Leo X and as pope—with the world beyond Europe. Along with Muslim cultures (especially that of the Ottoman Turks), these interactions were with the recently-encountered cultures of the western hemisphere and with Christian Africa. Particular emphasis will be placed upon how Clement’s engagement with the non-European world can be studied through visual representations and gifted objects. Works of art to be considered include the decorations of the Villa Madama in Rome and the Medici Villa at Poggio a Caiano outside Florence; the Mixtec manuscript Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1, the famed Cortés map of Teotihuacan, and other objects from the western hemisphere including turquoise masks; and gifts from Emperor Dawit II of Ethiopia

Kelli Wood, University of Tennessee
“Conchology, Collecting, and the Crafting of Early Modern Nature”
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