1st Edition

Early Modern Visual Allegory
Embodying Meaning

ISBN 9781138255562
Published October 6, 2017 by Routledge
316 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

The first book in over twenty-five years devoted solely to allegory and personification in art history, this anthology complements current literary and cultural studies of allegory. The volume re-examines early modern allegorical imagery in light of crucial material, contextual and methodological questions: how are allegories conceived; for whom; and for what purposes? Contributors consider a wide range of allegorical representations in the visual arts and material culture, of both early modern Europe and the colonial "New World" 1400-1800. Essays included here examine paintings, sculpture, prints, architecture and the spaces of public ritual while discussing the process and theory of interpretation, formation of audiences, reception history, appropriation and censorship. A special focus on the medium of the body in visual allegory unites the volume's diverse materials and methods.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Making Allegory: Giotto, de Man and the allegorical impulse in Michelangelo, Laura Camille Agoston; The ends of allegory: Winckelmann, rococo and volcanic displacement, Christiane Hertel; Allegories of race: casta paintings and models for theorizing race, Oscar E. Vázquez. Allegories of Place: Giorgione's Assault: war and rape in renaissance Venice, Paul H.D. Kaplan; Shaping civic personification: Pisa Sforzata, Pisa Salvata, Cristelle Baskins; Political allegories: redesigning Siena's palio and patron saint during the Fascist regime, Medina Lasansky. Allegory and Audience: The Devil's hem: allegorical reading in a 16th-century illustrated life of St Benedict, Evelyn Lincoln; The ideal prince or an allegorical dialogue between the City of Antwerp and the Court of Brussels, Margit Thøfner; The bellona factor: political allegories and the conflicting claims of martial imagery, Jane Kromm; Faveau's Dame Clémence, or personifying romanticism, Erica Naginski. Allegory as Carnal Knowledge: Venus's milk and the temptations of allegory in Otto van Veen's Allegory of Temptation, Lisa Rosenthal; The naked truth? The allegorical frontispiece and woman's ambition in 18th-century France, Mary Sheriff; Savage breast/salvaged breast: allegory, colonization and wet-nursing in Peru, 1532-1825, Carolyn Dean; Index.

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Cristelle Baskins is Associate Professor of Art History at Tufts University, USA.

Lisa Rosenthal is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.


’Each of the essays makes a valuable contribution to our thinking about the potential and the instability of allegory. The broad scope of these case studies, which span the sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries, counts among the strengths of the volume, as the reader is challenged to compare and reconsider the nature of visual allegories over nearly five centuries of the visual tradition in Europe, as well as in the New World. Not only do the essays remind us of the playfulness of allegory, but they also expand our appreciation of the broader visual culture that shaped both the making and the interpretation of allegorical images in the early modern era.’ Renaissance Quarterly