Art and Dis-illusion in the Long Sixteenth Century


Whereas entire libraries discuss the religious and political history of the sixteenth century in Northern Europe, focused on the Reformation and the rise of nation-states, Larry Silver uniquely traces the dramatic, even traumatic changes of the Reformation era discernible in the visual arts, especially paintings and the new medium of prints. Among the subjects and themes he explores are the destruction of church images, witchcraft, reactions to new voyages of exploration, and issues of vision itself in an age when moral codes and the nature of sin and death were being re-examined.

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Larry Silver, Farquhar Professor of Art History, emeritus, at the University of Pennyslvania, also taught at Berkeley and Northwestern. He served as President of the College Art Association and the Historians of Netherlandish Art, and is the author of numerous books and articles about early modern visual culture, including monographs on Bosch, Bruegel, and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.
List of Illustrations

1 The Waning of the Renaissance
 1 Holbein’s The Ambassadors
 2 Dürer’s Melancholy

2 The Harbinger: Bosch
 1 Bosch and Genre

3 Visual Conflicts of Creeds
 1 Propaganda
 2 Parodies
 3 Portraits
 4 Paradigms Regained
 5 Idol Hands: Iconophobia

4 The Dark Side: Devil and Death
 1 Monsters and Demons
 2 Witches in Germany
 3 Woman, Sin, and Death
 4 Netherlandish Witchcraft

5 Eves of Destruction: Wars
 1 Soldiers’ Death
 2 German Conflicts
 3 Dutch Revolt
 4 French Wars of Religion

6 East is East: Images of the Turkish Nemesis
 1 Pioneering Images
 2 Dürer and Turks
 3 Dutch Perspectives
 4 Melchior Lorck in Istanbul
 5 Fin-de-Siècle Danube Conflict

7 New Worlds
 1 The Americas
 2 Collecting: American Artifacts and Animals
 3 India Ink
 4 Symbolic Images of the Wider World

8 Foolish Mortals
 1 Preface

9 Peter Bruegel’s Vision Problems

Concluding Observations: Contradictions and Discrepancies
 1 Visual Dilemmas
 2 Intellectual Discontents
Scholars and advanced students, including undergraduates in upper-level courses. Anyone interested in European history of the Reformation era, with interests including politics, religion, or literature. Keywords: witchcraft, art history, Turks, Lutherans, sexuality, America, India, Bruegel, Bosch, Holbein, Dürer, visuality, folly.
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