New Research on the Northern Renaissance

by | May 19, 2022 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

Dr Edward Wouk, Reader in Art History and Visual Studies at Manchester University and member of The Bodies, Emotions and Material Culture Collective, has published a pathbreaking new English translation of the first substantial art theoretical texts from the Low Countries.

Dominicus Lampsonius’s biography of the painter, draftsman and architect Lambert Lombard (1565), as well as his cycle of engravings that shaped the notion of a canon of early Netherlandish art (1572) has been released in the prestigious Texts & Documents series of The Getty Research Institute.

The volume is beautifully illustrated and presents an in-depth contextualisation of the works that will shape future studies on the subject, and beyond. The volume leads readers to a whole series of topics touching on Renaissance humanism, patronage, studio practice, and antiquarianism. Above all, the new translation highlights Lampsonius’s impact on the construction of the notion of Netherlandish art and a distinctively Northern perspective on art theoretical debates in sixteenth-century Italy, namely the works of Giorgio Vasari. Lampsonius juxtaposes the latter’s notion of disegno with the witful concept and ingenious use of graphice, as Wouk reveals, uncovering Lampsonius’s “interest in opening a dialogue with Vasari about a new multi-stranded and cross-cultural history of art that would take account of developments north of the Alps and the medium of printmaking, which Vasari had not considered to be an art of disegno” (p. 2).

This is a powerful and beautifully written book, an important translation of hardly accessible texts, and a significant contribution to the study of early modern theory of art, as well as the Northern Renaissance in particular.

More information on the volume are available here.