Event—Tour

Christine Goettler, Bern University and Deborah Krohn, Bard Graduate Center

Christine Goettler: Gold in a Golden Age: Imaginaries of a Metal in Netherlandish Art, c. 1600 / Deborah Krohn: Reading the Table: Handbooks for Food Service in Early Modern Europe

Christine Goettler: Gold in a Golden Age: Imaginaries of a Metal in Netherlandish Art, c. 1600

My paper investigates the imaginaries of gold in Netherlandish oil painting, described by Karel van Mander as an ‘alchemical art’ requiring knowledge of nature. The focus will be on Haarlem, where, according to Van Mander, a new culture of painting was emerging around 1600, in rivalry with other centers of (Netherlandish) art such as Antwerp and Prague, but also in close association with them. It will be argued that that gold – both as a material and as a ‘material metaphor’ of transmutation – became a primary reference point for thinking about the painterly arts.

Deborah Krohn: Reading the Table: Handbooks for Food Service in Early Modern Europe

Recipe collections and cookbooks from the early modern period address a variety of aspects of food presentation and service, reflecting the highly status-oriented space of both table and dining room. As the demand for printed books grew over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this subject area, loosely defined, kept pace. Handbooks and manuals for carving meats, vegetables and fruit, as well as for folding napkins and laying the table, many with illustrations, also addressed etiquette and behavior for household servants and diners alike. My project, still in the discovery phase, explores these books from both textual and material perspectives. Many of the folding and carving manuals were printed as oblong quartos, a format seemingly reserved for music, tailoring, and handwriting texts. Questions about audience and circulation can only be answered by examining the books themselves in multiple copies, if possible, to tease out the meanings preserved by evidence of use.