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Early Modern Cultures of Copying

Copying was an omnipresent practice throughout the early modern period. Touching on all domains of pictorial, sculptural, architectural, and craft production, it was foundational to workshop practice, the training of artists, and the transmission and circulation of artistic knowledge long before the rise of mechanical reproduction. Printing, nevertheless, looms large over discussions of copying from the late fifteenth century to the early seventeenth century. Its emergence has led scholars to promote dichotomies between the manual and mechanical as well as the artistic and indexical, often casting reproductive practices as derivative and banal. Focusing on Western Europe as well as broader cross-cultural and transregional exchanges, this conference, originally planned for May 2020, seeks to redress this issue and shed new light on practices of graphic copying. Specifically, it aims to go beyond the classic framework of emulation and imitation and the connoisseurial topos of replica and forgery to look at how copying was a fundamental constructive act, epistemic operation, and generative practice, one that spawned new thinking and ideas, as well as new modes of artistic engagement. The conference also seeks to interrogate the essential physical processes of reproduction themselves, which have often fallen outside traditional investigations of meaning, and to understand how different realms of graphic production came to be mutually informed through a complex range of reproductive modes.

Organized by Jaya Remond (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) and Michael J. Waters (Columbia University), participants include Shira Brisman (University of Pennsylvania), Aaron Hyman (Johns Hopkins University), Elizabeth Merrill (London), Kathryn Blair Moore (University of Connecticut), Stephanie Porras (Tulane University), Cara Rachele (ETH Z├╝rich), Femke Speelberg (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Madeleine C. Viljoen (New York Public Library).

For more information, including the schedule and registration instructions, please visit the external link below.

Relevant research areas: Western Europe, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque

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