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Dr Christina J Faraday (University of Cambridge): 'Et Occulte Et Aperte: Material Meaning in Public and Private during the English Renaissance' 

For a long time, historians of Tudor and Jacobean culture have questioned the extent to which visual art appealed to English audiences. Thanks in part to the upheavals of the Reformation, it has been argued that English patrons were repelled by visual art's misleading emphasis on surfaces, and its inability to represent interior meaning - in contrast to the literary arts such as poetry: 'look, not on his picture, but his book'. In fact, there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that English artists regularly went beyond surfaces in their attempts to represent the intangible. Drawing on a variety of cultural phenomena, including emblematics and rhetorical theory, this talk will review some of the ways that visual art was deployed to represent interior, invisible and incorporeal properties in public and private contexts.

This event is part of the A Material World: Private vs Public, which brings together academics and heritage professionals from a wide range of disciplines to discuss issues concerning historical objects, their materials, forms, and functions, as well as their conservation, presentation, display, and reconstruction.

Organisers: Rembrandt Duits (Deputy Curator, The Photographic Collection, The Warburg Institute) and Louisa McKenzie (The Warburg Institute).

All sessions during 2022-2023 will be delivered online.


Photo: © Gordon Plumb