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Shaping the Netherlandish Canon Karel Van Mander's Schilder-Boeck

by Walter S. Melion

  • ISBN: 9780226519593
  • ISBN10: 0226519597

Shaping the Netherlandish Canon Karel Van Mander's Schilder-Boeck

by Walter S. Melion

  • List Price: $80.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 12/01/1991
  • ISBN: 9780226519593
  • ISBN10: 0226519597
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Description: First published in 1604, Karel van Mander's definitive treatment of Dutch art has long been recognized for its critical and historical influence - and yet, until now, no comprehensive account of the book's conception, aims, and impact has been available. Here, analyzing in depth both the content and context of Van Mander's Schilder-Boeck (or Book on Picturing), Walter S. Melion reveals its central importance to an understanding of northern Renaissance and Baroque art. Melion considers the paintings and drawings of the Flemish artist and humanist, showing how they engage the concerns of the Schilder-Boeck. He argues that Van Mander painted the kinds of subject - landscape, still-life, history - sanctioned by his text, implementing pictorial practices he endorsed. Chief among Van Mander's concerns was the establishment of a canon of early Netherlandish masters. Melion shows how he pursued this goal by first dismantling Vasari's claims for the supremacy of Tuscan vernacular painting and diction and then drawing on the humanist discourse of Ortelius and his circle to define regional pictorial idioms. By interpreting the terminology employed in the Schilder-Boeck, Melion clarifies the text's relationship to past and contemporary art theory. Van Mander is seen here developing his critical categories and then applying them to Ancient, Italian, and Netherlandish artists in order to mark changes within a culture and to characterize excellence for each region. Thus Melion demonstrates how Van Mander revised both the structure and critical language of Vasari's Lives to clarify northern artistic traditions and the concerns of Netherlandish artists. A much needed corrective to the view that Dutchart of the period was lacking in theory, Melion's work offers a compelling account of a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century theoretical and critical perspective and shows how this perspective suggests a rereading of northern art.
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