The Anthropomorphic Lens

Anthropomorphism, Microcosmism and Analogy in Early Modern Thought and Visual Arts


Anthropomorphism – the projection of the human form onto the every aspect of the world – closely relates to early modern notions of analogy and microcosm. What had been construed in Antiquity as a ready metaphor for the order of creation was reworked into a complex system relating the human body to the body of the world. Numerous books and images - cosmological diagrams, illustrated treatises of botany and zoology, maps, alphabets, collections of ornaments, architectural essays – are entirely constructed on the anthropomorphic analogy. Exploring the complexities inherent in such work, the interdisciplinary essays in this volume address how the anthropomorphic model is fraught with contradictions and tensions, between magical and rational, speculative and practical thought.

Contributors include Pamela Brekka, Anne-Laure van Bruaene, Ralph Dekoninck, Agnès Guiderdoni, Christopher P. Heuer, Sarah Kyle, Walter S. Melion, Christina Normore, Elizabeth Petcu, Bertrand Prevost, Bret Rothstein, Paul Smith, Miya Tokumitsu, Michel Weemans, and Elke Werner.

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Michel Weemans, Ph.D. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, is Chercheur-Qualifie at the Ecole nationale superieure d'art de Bourges. His exhibition catalogues include Le paysage extravagant (2009) and Fables du paysage flamand: Bosch, Bles, Brueghel, Bril (2012). He is co-editor of Paysage sacré/Sacred Landscape (2011).

Walter S. Melion, Ph.D. (1988) in Art History, University of California, Berkeley, is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Art History at Emory University. His books include Karel van Mander's 'Schilder-Boeck': Shaping the Netherlandish Canon (1991) and The Meditative Art: Studies in the Northern Devotional Print, 1550-1625 (2009), along with numerous edited volumes.

Bret Rothstein, Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara, is Associate Professor of the History of Art at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of Sight and Spirituality in Early Netherlandish Painting (Cambridge, 2005), as well as various articles on the history of visual culture.
A “scintillating collection” and a “generous Kunstkammer of a book.”
Martha Hollander, Hofstra University. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Spring 2016), pp. 255-256.
List of Illustrations
Notes on the Editors
Notes on the Contributors

Michel Weemans and Bertrand Prévost


Delineating the Boundaries of the Human

1 Revolting Beasts: Animal Satire and Animal Trials in the Dutch Revolt
Anne-Laure van Bruaene

2 Monkey in the Middle
Christina Normore

3 Landscape and Body in Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel
Paul J. Smith

4 The Migrating Cannibal: Anthropophagy at Home and at the Edge of the World
Miya Tokumitsu

Empathy and the Constitution of the Self

5 Picturing the Soul, Living and Departed
Nathalie de Brézé

6 Patience Grows: The First Roots of Joris Hoefnagel’s Emblematic Art
Marisa Bass

7 The ‘Album Αmicorum’ and the Kaleidoscope of the Self: Notes on the Friendship Book of Jacob Heyblocq
Aneta Georgievska-Shine

Visualizing the Body Politic

8 Picturing the ‘Living’ Tabernacle in the Antwerp Polyglot Bible
Pamela Merrill Brekka

9 A New Heraldry: Vision and Rhetoric in the ‘Carrara Herbal’
Sarah R. Kyle

10 Anthropomorphic Maps: On the Aesthetic Form and Political Function of Body Metaphors in the Early Modern Europe Discourse
Elke Anna Werner


Anthropomorphosis and Its Critics

11 Prodigies of Nature, Wonders of the Hand: Political Portents and Divine: Artifice in Haarlem ca. 1600
Walter S. Melion

12 Between Fiction and Reality: The Image Body in the Early Modern Theory of the Symbol
Ralph Dekoninck

Anthropomorphosis and Its Conditions

13 Anthropomorphizing the Orders: ‘Terms’ of Architectural Eloquence in the Northern Renaissance
Elizabeth J. Petcu

14 Visage-paysage. Problème de peinture
Bertrand Prévost

Figuring the Impossible

15 Nobody’s Bruegel
Christopher P. Heuer

16 Morbid Fascination: Death by Bruegel
Larry Silver

Metamorphic Figuration

17 Jan van Hemessen’s Anatomy of Parody
Bret L. Rothstein

18 The Smoke of Sacrifice: Anthropomorphism and Figure in Karel van Mallery’s ‘Sacrifice of Cain and Abel’ for Louis Richeome’s ‘Tableaux Sacrez’ (1601)
Michel Weemans

Index Nominum
List of Illustrations

All those interested in the cultural history of images, microcosmism, analogy, and problems of figuration in early modern Europe.
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