CONF: Early Modern Cultures of Copying (online / Rijksuniversiteit Groningen & Columbia University, 10–11 Jun 2021

This conference aims to 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.

To be held via Zoom. Please visit the website to register.

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. 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 Zürich), Femke Speelberg (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Madeleine C. Viljoen (New York Public Library).

All times listed are local New York time (Eastern Time Zone).

Thursday, 10 June
10 AM: Introduction
Jaya Remond, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Michael J. Waters, Columbia University

10:20AM: Session 1
The Grotesque Law of Property
Shira Brisman, University of Pennsylvania

Taking/Faking/Making: Reassessing Ownership in Early Printmaking
Femke Speelberg, Metropolitan Museum of Art

11:45AM: Session 2
Improvising Ornament
Madeleine C. Viljoen, New York Public Library

Michael Snijders and the Copious Copy
Aaron Hyman, Johns Hopkins University

Friday, 11 June
10:00AM: Session 3
Original or copy? Re-considering Francesco di Giorgio’s Opusculum de’ architecture
Elizabeth Merrill, London

Copying Perspectives and Finding the Section: Architectural Drawing Books in the Circle of Raphael
Cara Rachele, ETH Zürich

11:20AM: Session 4
Paper, Ivory, Feathers: Viral Materiality
Stephanie Porras, Tulane University

Arabesques between mechanical copying and calligraphic invention in early modern Europe
Kathryn Blair Moore, University of Connecticut

12:45PM: Final Discussion