Event—Scholarly Seminars

Urte Krass, University of Bern, and Clare Kobasa, Columbia University


Lusitania Liberata: Images in the Service of Diplomacy, Urte Krass

The book Lusitania Liberata was printed in London in 1645. It was a colossal publication, numbering 794 pages and containing fourteen engravings by John Droeshout. These images were among the first to establish an iconography of the new Braganza dynasty in Portugal. These pictorial inventions bolstered, and in turn were supported by, the voluminous textual arguments that the book’s author, António de Sousa de Macedo, gathered to justify John IV’s elevation to the Portuguese throne. Sources tell us that the English king Charles I. even discussed passages of the book with the author. Apart from this illustrious reader, the book also found many buyers across Europe, where it circulated among a wide audience.

This talk focuses on these pictorial innovations in the service of Portuguese power, drawing upon a chapter from Krass’s forthcoming book on the global visualization of the Portuguese Restoration of 1640.

Art and Devotion in Print: Placido Samperi and Messina’s Madonnas, Clare Kobasa

While prints lurk in the background of Giorgio Vasari’s fundamental Lives of the Artists (1550, 1568), Placido Samperi’s history of Marian devotion in Messina, Iconology of the Glorious Virgin (Messina, 1644), is unusual in providing printed illustrations of the paintings and sculptures it describes. Samperi’s model invites readers to evaluate the success of a wide collection of images according to the communal response to these works. By repositioning the Iconologia at the intersection of devotional guidebook and illustrated art history, this paper will argue that the prints complicate definitions of sacred images and works of art.