Genre Imagery in Early Modern Northern Europe : New Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Genre Imagery in Early Modern Northern Europe
New Perspectives

Edited By

Arthur J. DiFuria

ISBN 9781138352704
Published August 14, 2018 by Routledge
188 Pages

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Book Description

Exploring the rich variety of pictorial rhetoric in early modern northern European genre images, this volume deepens our understanding of genre's place in early modern visual culture. From 1500 to 1700, artists in northern Europe pioneered the category of pictures now known as genre, portrayals of people in ostensibly quotidian situations. Critical approaches to genre images have moved past the antiquated notion that they portray uncomplicated 'slices of life,' describing them instead as heavily encoded pictorial essays, laden with symbols that only the most erudite contemporary viewers and modern iconographers could fully comprehend. These essays challenge that limiting binary, revealing a more expansive array of accessible meanings in genre's deft grafting of everyday scenarios with a rich complex of experiential, cultural, political, and religious references. Authors deploy a variety of approaches to detail genre's multivalent relations to older, more established pictorial and literary categories, the interplay between the meaning of the everyday and its translation into images, and the multifaceted concerns genre addressed for its rapidly expanding, unprecedentedly diverse audience.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
Preface and Acknowledgements

1 Genre: Audience, Origins, and Definitions 
Arthur J. DiFuria

2 The Value of Play in Early Genre Painting: Lucas van Leyden’s Card Games 
Jessen Kelly

3 Moralizing Dialogues on the Northern Market Economy: Women’s Directives in Sixteenth-Century Genre Imagery of the Antwerp Marketplace 
Annette LeZotte

4 Jacques Jordaens’s Twelfth Night Politics 
Irene Schaudies

5 For the Pleasure and Contentment of the Audience: Gerrit van Honthorst’s The Merry Fiddler: Promoting Civil Behavior in Early Seventeenth-Century Utrecht 
Sheila D. Muller

6 Adriaen van de Venne’s Cavalier at a Dressing Table: Masculinity and Parody in Seventeenth-Century Holland 
Martha Hollander 

7 Rembrandt and "Everyday Life": The Fusion of Genre and History 
Amy Golahny

8 The Rustic Still Life in Dutch Genre Painting: Bijwerck dat Verclaert
Alison M. Kettering


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Arthur J. DiFuria is Professor of Early Modern Northern European Drawings, Prints, and Paintings at Savannah College of Art and Design, USA.


"The essays collected in this book all make contributions to ongoing scholarly debates concerning the nature and reception of genre imagery in early modern Northern Europe."

- CAA Reviews

"Arthur J. DiFuria's edited volume offers a welcome and important collection of new viewpoints on the origins of these pictures and their social functions within early modern culture. Notably, it aims to move beyond the interpretive binary of genre images as either 'slices of life' or 'repositories of "disguised symbols,"' especially prevalent in the study of Netherlandish art, in search of more nuanced interpretations."

- Historians of Netherlandish Art