Once considered marginal members of the animal world (at best) or vile and offensive creatures (at worst), insects saw a remarkable uptick in their status during the early Renaissance. This quickened interest was primarily manifested in visual images—in illuminated manuscripts, still life paintings, the decorative arts, embroidery, textile design, and cabinets of curiosity. In The Insect and the Image, Janice Neri explores the ways in which such imagery defined the insect as a proper subject of study for Europeans of the early modern period.
It was not until the sixteenth century that insects began to appear as the sole focus of paintings and drawings—as isolated objects, or specimens, against a blank background. The artists and other image makers Neri discusses deployed this “specimen logic” and so associated themselves with a mode of picturing in which the ability to create a highly detailed image was a sign of artistic talent and a keenly observant eye. The Insect and the Image shows how specimen logic both reflected and advanced a particular understanding of the natural world—an understanding that, in turn, supported the commodification of nature that was central to global trade and commerce during the early modern era.
Revealing how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century artists and image makers shaped ideas of the natural world, Neri’s work enhances our knowledge of the convergence of art, science, and commerce today.
In this major new work, J. N. Hillgarth investigates how Spain was seen by non-Spaniards in the period when it was the leading power in Europe. The author brings together a wide range of sources that elucidate Spanish history and Spanish character. He demonstrates the ways that propaganda has distorted both these things in the past and even continues to do so in the present.
In the first of the volume's four parts, the author discusses the reasons--geographic, political, and religious--why Spain has proved a hard country to understand. Hillgarth looks at travelers to Spain, from pilgrims to diplomats, spies, exiles, and foreign residents. In its second part, special attention is devoted to the interaction between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, including Jewish and Muslim exiles and secret Jews within Spain.
In its third section, The Mirror of Spain explores reactions to Spain by those who saw it from the outside, the Italians, Dutch, French, and English. One chapter deals with the English, Scottish, and Irish Catholics, who, like the Jewish and Muslim exiles, played a double role in that they were at once "insiders" and outsiders. Finally, Hillgarth attempts to show how two crucial centuries have affected the way Spain has been seen down to the present.
The Mirror of Spain draws on a wide range of sources in different languages. It relies on documents in the Public Record Office and the British Library, the Archivo General de Simancas and the collections of the colleges founded by exiles in Spain, and on major libraries in Venice and Jerusalem. The volume will be of interest to a broad spectrum of scholars--to medievalists, historians of Spain, scholars of political and literary thought, and all those interested in notions of national identity.
J. N. Hillgarth has taught for many years at the University of Toronto and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and has received awards and honors from a wide variety of distinguished institutions in Europe and North America.
This essay collection features innovative scholarship on women artists and patrons in the Netherlands 1500-1700. Covering painting, printmaking, and patronage, authors highlight the contributions of women art makers in the Netherlands, showing that women were prominent as creators in their own time and deserve to be recognized as such today.