In his Descrittione di tutti i Paesi Bassi of 1567, the Italian merchant and humanist Ludovico Guicciardini described Antwerp as the warehouse of the world where all kinds of commodities were traded and displayed. Early modern Antwerp’s pre-eminent position depended upon links between material trade and exchange and the circulation of information, knowledge and beliefs. In this multidisciplinary volume of the NKJ, articles by leading scholars in the fields of art and material culture, literature and history explore ways in which value was propagated in the city from its so-called golden age, before the Revolt of the Netherlands, far into the seventeenth century.
Christine Göttler, Ph.D. University of Zürich, Habilitation Freie Universität Berlin, is Professor of Early Modern Art History at the University of Bern. She has published monographs, edited volumes , book chapters and articles on various topics in early modern European art.
Bart Ramakers, Ph.D. (1996), Radboud University Nijmegen, is Professor of Historical Dutch Literature at the University of Groningen. He has published monographs, edited volumes, editions and many articles on sixteenth-century theatre from the Low Countries.
Joanna Woodall, Ph.D. University of London, is Professor of Early Modern Art History at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She has published monographs, edited volumes , book chapters and articles on various topics in early modern European art.
"Readers of this review need no introduction to the NKJ, which is still publishing important annual volumes on designated themes. This latest volume punningly plays on the term "values" to designate both literal, material worth for objects of trade but also to assess – through the lens of visual art, chiefly – those morality issues or spiritual values raised in early modern Antwerp, at the hub of Europe's international trade network. Each of these three distinguished editors contributed an essay as well as a joint introduction to the volume; all are well versed in Antwerp topics. Ramakers also edited a major recent related volume on a narrower period, Understanding Art in Antwerp: Classicizing the Popular, Popularizing the Classic (Leuven: Peeters, 2011; here reviewed April 2014). What further distinguishes this volume is how it does not remain content, as usual, to stop at the era of Rubens and Van Dyck, nor to focus exclusively on Antwerp painting, but instead includes studies that follow Antwerp culture across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries alike and also include other media (illustrated books, glass, and prints as well as paintings). In a short review like this one, only a sketchy overview can be laid out, but this new volume's importance and its range should be clear ..."
Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania
"Apart from its scientific merit, this book is a joy to read from beginning to end, each chapter well written and well structured, each with fascinating insights and a very useful bibliography - thus highly recommendable to any scholar working on the early modern Netherlands".
Gitta Bertram, Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart
"... this survey may well serve as a very useful first step towards a fuller picture of what might be called a chain of invention in a variety of fields, so typical of Antwerp in its heyday."
Hans Vlieghe, Centrum Rubenianum in Antwerpen, Belgium
Table of Contents
Christine Göttler, Bart Ramakers & Joanna Woodall, Introduction
Joanna Woodall, "De wisselaer". Quentin Matsys’s Man weighing gold coins and his wife, 1514
Arjan van Dixhoorn, The values of Antwerp and the prosperity of Belgica. Political economy in "Guicciardini’s Descrittione di tutti i Paesi Bassi" (1567)
Hubert Meeus, Printing vernacular translations in sixteenth-century Antwerp
Sven Dupré, The value of glass and the translation of artisanal knowledge in early modern Antwerp
Inneke Baatsen, Bruno Blondé & Julie De Groot, The kitchen between representation and everyday experience. The case of sixteenth-century Antwerp
Koenraad Jonckheere, An allegory of artistic choice in times of trouble. Pieter Bruegel’s "Tower of Babel"
Christine Göttler, Wit in painting, color in words. Gillis Mostaert’s depictions of fires
Stephanie Porras, Copies, cannibals and conquerors. Maarten de Vos’s "The big fish eat the small"
Ralph Dekoninck, A graphic Koiné for a new religious value. The visual translatability of the "Evangelicae Historiae Imagines"
Bart Ramakers, Sophonisba’s Dress. Costume, tragedy and value on the Antwerp Stage (c. 1615-1630)
Raingard Esser, The diamond of the Netherlands. Histories of Antwerp in the seventeenth century
Sarah Joan Moran, The right hand of Pictura’s perfection. Cornelis de Bie’s "Het gulden cabinet" and Antwerp art in the 1660s