Abigail Newman (Universiteit Antwerpen)
Immigration, Identity, Mobility
The past few decades have seen a wealth of publications on maps, city views, and other imagery related to the appearance of early modern cities. Historians of art, architecture and urban history have all addressed the significance of such imagery. Yet these studies have yet to fully account for the role of foreigners as producers and consumers of these images. With the global turn and increasing focus on such subjects as immigration, identity, and mobility, there is a renewed need to return to such urban imagery with new questions. Radical demographic, economic, and structural changes transformed cities across Europe in the early modern period. Depictions of these cities – including Antwerp, Amsterdam, Madrid, Lisbon, London, Rome, and Venice – became increasingly common and topical. Produced in a range of media and intended to perform an array of functions, these images both represented elements of cities and actively helped shape urban identities. While often making claims to objective accuracy, these images were necessarily conditioned by the circumstances of and individuals involved in their production. Who commissioned these images and to what ends? Who designed and executed them, and on the basis of what tools, experiences and knowledge? Who marketed them, how broadly and to whom? What was the relationship of these individuals to the city in question? In particular, were any of them immigrants? Travelers? Pilgrims? If so, how did their own status as outsiders in relation to the city shape their visual choices in imaging it? For example, did foreigners bring a perceptible critical distance to their representations of urban spaces? Do they engage in ways different from their local colleagues in the perpetuation or challenging of the urban image a city’s leaders might seek to project? How do political circumstances of certain commissions relate to questions of immigration and foreignness? This session, co-sponsored by the Rubenianum, aims to bring art and architectural historians in dialogue with urban and cultural historians to assess the role foreigners played in constructing and consuming the visual identities of early modern European cities. It welcomes papers engaged with these questions from scholars in any relevant discipline.
Accuracy and Deliberate Modification in António de Holanda's Foreign Gaze
Pedro Flor (Universidade Aberta & Instituto de História da Arte / NOVA-FCSH (UAb & IHA/NOVA-FCSH))
António de Holanda (c. 1480-1557), Renaissance Miniature Painting, Iconography of Lisbon / Cityscape depiction
Born in the late 15th century, most probably in the Netherlands, António de Holanda (c. 1480–1557) is perhaps the most extraordinary (un)known illuminator, active in Portugal, from the Renaissance period. Despite having produced some of the most emblematic artworks of the time, such as the so-called "Atlas Miller” (BnF) or the "Genealogy of Infant D. Fernando” (British Library), the lack of studies on his work is striking and the work of his son, Francisco de Holanda (c. 1517–1584), overshadows his own. Apart from these two works mentioned, others are ascribed to him or are thought to have had his participation, namely in collaboration with none other than Simon Bening (c. 1483–1561), the last major Flemish miniaturist of his generation of the Ghent-Bruges tradition. Having arrived in Lisbon at the beginning of the 16th century, in circumstances as yet undetermined, António de Holanda was soon serving at court, patronised even by King Manuel I (1469–1521). This paper will focus on António de Holanda's foreign gaze, which presented the official image of the city, still medieval in appearance, but already unveiling the new winds of the Renaissance that were making themselves felt in Portugal, through the public and private buildings following antiquity, as was then in fashion. Holanda was part of a generation of Flemish artists who, thanks to the political, diplomatic and economic ties between Antwerp and Lisbon, visited the Portuguese capital and settled there. To study the oldest images of Lisbon, it is essential to study the work of António de Holanda, who drew from life and simultaneously idealised the city five times, following the Flemish tradition of imagining urban centres and reproducing them, sometimes with enormous accuracy, but sometimes deliberately modifying the perspectives, buildings and landscapes at will.
Anton van den Wyngaerde’s Panorama of Walcheren: A Journey into Local Identity
Ryan Gregg (Webster University)
City Views, Anton van den Wyngaerde, Charles V
Anton van den Wyngaerde’s (c. 1490–1571) panorama of Walcheren (c. 1550) in the Museum Plantin-Moretus exemplifies the complexities of sixteenth- century notions of travel, foreignness, and local identity inherent within the art of city views. A consummate itinerant in his role as the most prolific city- view artist of the sixteenth-century, van den Wyngaerde likely began the panorama for his fellow traveler, Charles V. The emperor constantly moved amongst his domains, always belonging but never residing. Similarly, van den Wyngaerde visited the locales he depicted while never representing the one city in which he claimed residency, Antwerp.
Walcheren is, however, unusual in van den Wyngaerde’s oeuvre. A ten-meter-long depiction of an entire island, it contains multiple city views within it, along with depictions of industry and culture. Rather than viewing a single city from a stationary position, the panorama constructs a journey along the coastline while introducing the viewer to the island’s topography and economy.
Presented to its rulers’ eye, Walcheren offers a view into past visits alongside its statements of economy and defense. Both artist and patron likely spent more time than necessary on the island, allowing them engagement beyond the technician’s observation or a sovereign’s body politic persona. The panorama suggests van den Wyngaerde’s awareness of the region’s cultural subtleties, as it conveys more than the architectural topography and authoritative symbolism of his views of single cities. Furthermore, van den Wyngaerde’s and Charles’ status as something between tourist and native reflected the unique situation of the island’s population. As a center of commerce positioned at the mouth of the Schelde river, Walcheren already had a transitory population of foreign merchants and visitors that merged with the long-term inhabitants to form a cosmopolitan identity. A viewer, then, in traveling the length of van den Wyngaerde’s island, is initiated into its sites and practices, and joins this population as a denizen. In performing this act of naturalization, the panorama coalesces the island’s different political, economic, and cultural identities to assist in negotiating its position between major political entities and cities of the region.