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Material Texts: Larry Silver (History of Art, Penn): “Size Matters: Big City Prints of the Early Modern Period”
Monday, October 30, 2017 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center
6th Floor of Van-Pelt Library

We will be welcoming Larry Silver for a talk entitled: “Size Matters: Big City Prints of the Early Modern Period.” Larry writes:

The major growth of cities in the early modern period overlapped with the European adoption of movable type and the printing press.  Inevitably, cities celebrated themselves through large-scale self-portrait images produced with the same presses used for their chronicles.  Woodcut images, usually comprising several individual conjoined sheets, often with accompanying texts, became a widespread sixteenth-century phenomenon, often commissioned by the cities themselves.  Because of their paper supports and assemblage nature, very few of these city views survive; some of them exist in unique impressions in the collections that initiated them.  At the end of the century an atlas of hand-colored city views, assembled and printed (as engravings, like maps) by Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg (Cologne, 1572-1617; 6 vols.), built upon the wider phenomenon and served as a complement to contemporary world atlases.

Larry Silver, newly emeritus this fall, served as Farquhar Professor of Art History at Penn for two decades after teaching previously at Berkeley and Northwestern.  A specialist in Old Master paintings and graphics, he has organized several major print exhibitions, one of which, Grand Scale (Wellesley-Yale-PMA, 2008) stimulated the remarks in this talk.  His book-length studies, many of them co-authored, have often featured individual artists; Rembrandt’s Holland (2017), Rubens, Velázquez and the King of Spain (2014), Pieter Bruegel (2011), The Essential Dürer (2010; Penn Press), Rembrandt's Faith (2009), and Hieronymus Bosch (2006), as well as Peasant Scenes and Landscapes (2006; Penn Press), plus a study of the visual ideology of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (2008) and Jewish Art: A Modern History (2011).  This is his third presentation at the Workshop in the History of Material Texts.