Dismissed as examples of a superstitious baroque "necroculture", the bone-encrusted mortuary installations of the Capuchin Order are typically viewed though a reductive optic of unhistoricized Catholic repentance or Protestant contempt. In this talk, I will examine the social and soteriological stakes of using human remains as an artistic material for the creation of Christian funerary art, asking above all why the blatant materiality of death became so important for Capuchin religious experience in Counter-Reformation Rome. [mehr]
During the second half of the 17th century, the natural philosophers associated with the Royal Society of London increasingly embraced empiricism, identifying sensory experience as the foundation for knowledge of nature. They did not, however, make this choice in the naive belief that the senses give us reliable insights into the world around us, or even that nature contains meanings to which the human mind has access. Like recent theorists of the relationship between humans and nature, therefore, the scientists of 17th-century England were alive to the possibility that our perceptions of nature might not bear much of a resemblance to nature as it exists for itself. [mehr]

Going in Eremo: Withdrawal and the Eremitic Ideal in NY, P. Morgan Library, MS. M.626

Research Seminar
At the turn of the fourteenth century, eremitic life—typified by the third and fourth century saints known as the Desert Fathers—was presented as a spiritual ideal not only for mendicant friars but also for the laity who were encouraged to withdraw to their own "desert", any space where they could connect with God. Art historians have traditionally explored the significance of the Desert Fathers by examining wall and panel paintings, while illustrated copies of the tradition’s fundamental text have gone largely unremarked. [mehr]

Freedom of Movement, by Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani

The Bibliotheca Hertziana is screening Nina Fischer and Maroan El Sani’s Freedom of Movement, a short film exploring traces of the Fascist era in the urban fabric of Rome. A Q&A with the artists and the art historian Carmen Belmonte will follow. [mehr]

Seminar Series: Reflections on the Digital Turn in the Humanities and the Sciences

Seminar 2. Presenting and Investigating the Book as a Digital Object: New Directions in Book History and Publishing
In the early modern period, a new visual culture was generated as a result of new media (as a result of the printing press); new tools of observing the world (such as telescopes and microscopes); and new questions about nature and the world. Similarly, one could argue that the current development of digital media (such as the internet, and online publication options) and digital tools (such as online catalogues and databases, or 3D modelling software) has led to new ways of finding answers. [mehr]

Still Lives: Representing and Looking at Nature Then and Now

Research Seminar
This paper explores representations of nature, particularly those of plants, focusing on the early modern period and looking at how early modern strategies shifted and continue into the contemporary era. [mehr]
La realtà non è come appare. Almeno ai nostri occhi. Cosa vedremmo allora se la nostra capacità di messa a fuoco e risoluzione fosse decine di volte maggiore? E se espandessimo la potenza dei nostri occhi dal visibile all’intero spettro della luce? [mehr]
Il workshop intende compiere una revisione storico-critica sul tema della pittura a monocromo tra il XIV e il XVII secolo, per lasciare spazio a un’interpretazione più ampia, in grado di mettere in luce la complessità di tale fenomeno pittorico. [mehr]
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