Event—Scholarly Seminars

Delia Moldovan, University of Warwick and Tracy Cooper, Temple University


Olevum olivarum: Stradano’s Engraving and the New Art of Olive-Oil Making in Sixteenth-Century Tuscany, Delia Moldovan, University of Warwick

The olive tree was praised in both classical and modern sources as noble and indispensable to life. It may, therefore, seem surprising that olive-oil making was included among the other engravings from Stradano’s Nova Reperta (1587-89), a series showcasing the modern scientific inventions. I propose a re-evaluation of Stradano’s engraving, a copy of which is held here at the Newberry. The image will be a lens onto a broader panorama of the economic, political, and scientific context of olive-growing in Renaissance Tuscany. This will bring novel insights into a type of cultivation that has become a landmark of the Tuscan landscape.

The Subversive Arts of Arachne: Tele e Meletto*, Tracy Cooper, Temple University

Materiality and Knowledge
Two women artists of late seventeenth- early eighteenth-century Venice achieved unusual success in their profession, Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757) and Giulia Lama (1681-1747), albeit in very different ways. The extent of that difference, and whether there were underlying connections in their practice that were not immediately evident is worthy of further investigation. This essay will identify a common factor in the art and technology of Lace—Merletto/i—an early modern invention that was one of the luxury products of Venice from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. This seminar will take advantage of the Newberry Library's Special Collection to examine their examples of the popular sixteenth-century “How-To” Pattern Books for Lace Making. These served two ostensible purposes, first, instruction in the increasingly intricate and techniques of a desirable luxury product, and, second, in an occupation appropriate to courtly behavior. This paper proposes a third, in the subversive instruction of disegno for their largely female users.

(*trans. Canvas and Lace)