November 13, 2019 – Robert Dostal

Rufus M. Jones Professor and Chair of Philosophy
Bryn Mawr College

“What is a Picture?”

This talk concerns the status of the image or picture in “western” philosophical tradition.  Plato is both the father of iconoclasm and the father of iconophilia. This tradition both influences and is influenced by the Abrahamic religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Modern philosophy can be characterized as largely “representationalist.”  Phenomenology rejects representationalism and provides a different understanding of the picture.

November 20, 2019 – Alessandro Giammei

Assistant Professor of Italian
Bryn Mawr College

“Modern Emblems: Gabriele D’Annunzio between Renaissance Imprese and Fascist Mottoes”

One of the reasons why Gabriele D’Annunzio became a global celebrity in the early 20th century was his prodigious mastery of modern communication. Mussolini, threatened by D’Annunzio’s immense popularity, adopted his rhetorical strategies and, in particular, his fulminating mottoes, which were always accompanied by images in D’Annunzio’s stationary, promotional campaigns, military insignia, private monuments, and even in the decor of his legendary palace in Gardone Riviera. After fascism, such mottoes with images have been re-used in a variety of ways, from corporate logos to tattoos, and are still popular today. This talk demonstrates that these verbo-visual devices, which have always been considered as an original product of D’Annunzio’s modernist eloquence and proto-advertising genius, are actually based on Renaissance Imprese, an erudite genre within the ancient art of emblematology.

February 6, 2019 – Felicia M. Else

Professor of Art History, Gettysburg College

Biancone: History of a Remarkable Nickname and the Changing Narratives of Florentine Public Sculpture, Mock Heroics and Political Discourse from the 16th-19th Centuries

In the heart of Florence in the Piazza della Signoria stands Bartolomeo Ammannati’s colossal Neptune statue, centerpiece of an elaborate fountain (1560-1574). Unlike its celebrated neighbor Michelangelo’s David, the statue became renowned as a disappointment, a sentiment distilled perfectly in a popular nickname for the statue, “Biancone”, or “Giant White One”. This talk will explore how Florentine audiences poked fun at works of colossal size, looking into the origin of this and other similar epithets. Dubbed as coming “from the people”, the history of “Biancone” from the Renaissance to the 19th century can tell us much about the changing views of public works and populist discourse. Ammannati’s statue, originally a court commission employing the Olympian god of the sea to celebrate the rulership of the Medici Grandukes, would feature as a bumbling giant in a mock heroic epic, a magician in a showdown against a witch and a political mouthpiece satirizing the state of affairs during the Risorgimento when Florence served as the capital of a newly-united Italy.

March 20, 2019 – Sophie Hochhäusl

Assistant Professor for Architectural History and Theory
University of Pennsylvania

Memories of the Resistance: Women, Dissent, and the Forgotten Work of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, 1938-1945

Today, Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000) is widely recognized as one of the pioneering female figures in modern design, who worked internationally in the 1920s and 1930s in Vienna, Frankfurt, the Soviet Union and Turkey. Yet, these decades of professional work were marked by a drastic break between 1940 and 1945, when Schütte-Lihotzky was interned for her participation in communist resistance against the Nazi regime. Her recollections from the years of internment became the subject of her 1984 German-language book Erinnerungen aus dem Widerstand (Memories of the Resistance). In the lecture, Memories of the Resistance, Sophie Hochhäusl reflects on the importance of Schütte-Lihotzky’s book as a critical historical document that contributes to still much needed spatial histories of resistance in the 1940s. She elucidates that the book provides a glimpse into dissidence as lived practiced. She also comments on why Schütte-Lihotzky’s activism led to the ostracization of the important modernist in the postwar era whose work, including the struggle for spaces of collective memory in Austria, remains largely forgotten.

April 3, 2019 – Matthew Feliz

Department of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College

The Drug of Reminding: Tracing the Limits of Memory in the Archival Practice of Ellie Ga

This talk will focus on the artistic practice of Ellie Ga, a contemporary artist working across a variety of media that includes installation, photography, performance, sculpture and video. From her residency at the Explorer’s Club in New York where she developed a lecture that detailed the things that had disappeared from the club’s archive to her tenure as an artist in residence on an arctic naval expedition, Ga has developed a research and travel-intensive approach that integrates a wide range of narrative genres and visual strategies, from travelogue to documentary, photographs to video and slide installations. Focusing primarily on her most recent body of work, a sustained engagement with the archaeological ruins and archival sites of the Pharos of Alexandria, this talk will address the ways in which Ga’s practice interrogates the aesthetic, discursive, geographical and scientific systems of knowledge that sustain our constructions of personal and shared history.

April 10, 2019 – Susan Dackerman

John and Jill Freidenrich Director
Cantor Arts Center
Stanford University

Firing Dürer’s Cannon

My talk will address Albrecht Dürer’s 1518 etching Landscape with Cannon as an exploration of religious reform, Ottoman aggression, and etching. In the year following the publication of Martin Luther’s 1517 Ninety-Five Theses, Dürer deployed the caustic print technique in one of his most enigmatic compositions to critique canon law in support of Luther.

April 17, 2019 – Lourdes Bernard

Visual Artist

Las Mujeres de Abril and the April 1965 U.S. Invasion of the Dominican Republic

This project began with a profound curiosity about my parents’ experience while living under Trujillo’s dictatorship and a desire to understand how Trujillo’s assassination, and the revolution that followed, became catalysts for our migration to NYC. Creating these images was a way to reclaim this history , and the collection of  65 images are formatted as a “family” album that embraces and documents the events that led to April 1965. The full size portraits depict Las Mujeres de Abril, a group of women who took up arms to fight for freedom becoming a significant part of the resistance during the American invasion of Santo Domingo.

April 18, 2019 – Thelma Thomas

The Bryn Mawr College Friends of the Library and the Center for Visual Culture

Lessons in Cloth from Late Antique Egypt: Worn, Embodied, and Remembered

Thelma Thomas
Associate Professor of Fine Arts
The Institute of Fine Arts
New York University

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Carpenter B-21
4:30 PM
Reception following lecture in Canaday 205

Support provided by the Friends of the Bryn Mawr College Library, LITS and its department of Special Collections, the Center for Visual Culture, the Program in Middle Eastern Studies, Jefferson University, 360° Program

In conjunction with the exhibition
Byzantine Textiles from Late
Antiquity to the Present
April 18-June 2, 2019
Canaday Library, Lobby and Special Collections Suite
Park Science Center, Science Crossroads

April 24, 2019 – David J. Roxburgh

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History
Department Chair, Harvard University

Art and Literature in Timurid Herat: Baysunghur’s Manuscripts

Baysunghur (d. 1433), son of ruler Shahrukh and grandson of Timur, has long been regarded as one of the most important princely bibliophiles of the Timurid dynasty, and yet his personal library of books has long deserved critical reevaluation. The lecture reexamines concepts of creative agency—the balance between patron and artists—, the physical and aesthetic reformation of the imperial book, and the effects of the total coordination of the elements of the book comprising binding, calligraphy, illumination, and painting. Why did near contemporaries and subsequent generations regard Baysunghur, and his books, as the benchmark of cultural achievement?