Session at the 108th College Art Association of America Annual Conference
Affiliated Society or Committee Name: Historians of Netherlandish Art
Joanna Sheers Seidenstein, Harvard Art Museums and Sarah Walsh Mallory, Harvard University
Scarcely a news cycle passes without discussion of national borders, climate change, natural disasters, and globalization. This discourse has prompted new questions about the visual representation of the physical environment, making this an apt moment to reassess the extraordinary production and consumption of painted, drawn, and printed landscapes in Northern Europe in the early modern period. This session seeks to complicate existing understandings of this material by focusing on its intrinsic but diverse sociopolitical content. How, for example, did pictorial tactics and conventions function as inscriptions of power, control, identity, and otherness? What was the role of these images in shaping contemporary conversations about social ecologies, about land ownership and labor? How has the vision of nature provided by Northern artists informed or shifted understandings of “space,” “nature,” and “environment?” Can we understand historiographical models—the advent of global art history, for example—as a product of the study of Northern landscape? How can we think of landscapes as agents that actively shaped the way in which individuals viewed and lived in the world? This session hopes to attend to the concept of “world,” integrating considerations of “the Northern landscape” with those of the landscape imagery produced by artists working in overseas territories, like the Dutch East Indies. We seek papers on all forms of landscape, including cityscapes, marine views, backgrounds of religious paintings, garden design, and city planning, produced in, or in connection with, the Northern Netherlands, Southern Netherlands, or Germany between the 15th and 18th centuries.