Demons, Minerals, and Media-Specificity: The Subterranean as a Productive Force in Early Modern Naples

Dr. Steffen Zierholz

My project focuses on the depiction of demons and the use of copper and stone as the support medium around 1600. I will concentrate on Italian, Flemish and Dutch painters living in Naples, whether permanently or temporarily, and their scientific networks. I want to explore the use of these materials in such areas of early modern knowledge as demonology, mineralogy, metallurgy, mining, and quarrying, with a particular focus on Naples as a center of knowledge. My hypothesis is that in realizing this particular subject, the artists consciously made use of their material knowledge of the support mediums, their medial specifics, and in case of painting on stone, of the aesthetic structure of the natural pattern.

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