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Monday, February 18, 2019 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library


We will be welcoming Shira Brisman for a talk entitled: “How Light is Spent.” Shira writes:

In 1551, the German engraver, waxworker, and goldsmith, Matthias Zündt, published a booklet of thirty-one engravings of tableware, entitled Insigne Ac Planè Novum Opis Cratero Graphicum. These designs for goblets, pitchers, and candlesticks are aimed at other members of the metalworking trade. They offer up the inventions for implementation in other media, such as silver or gold. Yet in these representations it is precisely where the fixed metal meets the refillable content—poured liquid or burning wax—that the image does more than put forth a model: it makes evident the capacity of certain resources to be used or even used up. In this talk, the compilation of Zündt’s engravings will serve as a starting point for evaluating how goldsmith-engravers (metalworkers who also made prints) confronted the notion of the expenditure of their raw materials—gold, silver, paper, ink, and even artistic creativity itself.

Shira Brisman is assistant professor in the History of Art department at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches early modern art. Her first book, Albrecht Dürer and the Epistolary Mode of Address, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016. She is currently at work on a new book, entitled A Matter of Choice, which interprets printed booklets by goldsmith-engravers that put forth potential designs for vessels, jewelry, sword handles, and the like, as both options for and critiques of the objects they imagine. She is also at work on Contriving Balance, a historical portrait of the concept of symmetry. Her essays have been published in a wide range of journals, including Art History, Renaissance Quarterly, Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, Word & Image, Die Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte.


All are welcome! Those who do not hold University of Pennsylvania ID cards should bring another form of photo identification in order to enter the library building.