Workshops

Pictures, Parchment & Paper: Illustrated Books and Manuscripts in Early Modern Germany

Date: May 5, 2016

Organised by: Katherine Bond

Sixteenth-century Germany was fascinated by pictorial books. An explosion of genres covering new and diverse secular subjects were envisioned not just in print, but in manuscripts and albums, carefully rendered by local artists. While the trend for these items existed throughout Europe, the level of enthusiasm for them in Germany was unparalleled. As such, the visual culture of early modern Germany is unique and exceptionally rich, fuelled by the imaginative, colourful artistry that went into the production of these books and manuscripts.

This one-day workshop will bring together a number of graduate scholars, early career researchers, and established scholars who specialise in all forms of these vibrant products, from fencing and armour books, to books of costume, travel, genealogy, and heraldry, among other subjects. Too often these works have been investigated in isolation. Providing a platform to discuss the cultural and material characteristics these works share, this workshop seeks to understand how this exciting moment in the visual history of Germany developed and flourished. Above all we will ask, what roles did these books and manuscripts perform in their society, and how did their pictorial attributes assist their function?

To what extent did they not merely reflect, but actively mediate the world around them?

The workshop is very honoured to have Prof Dr. Dagmar Eichberger (ERC-Projekt artifex, University of Trier; and University of Heidelberg) to be presenting the keynote paper, entitled: “Gratia sola Dei. Image and Text in a musical Manuscript by Orlando di Lasso for the Wedding of Renata of Lothringen and William V, Duke of Bavaria (1568).” We are also very fortunate to have speakers journeying to Cambridge from Germany, Switzerland, and the United States, bringing together a global network of scholars interested in this fascinating area of German history. We hope that this workshop may inspire future collaborative endeavours between participants and look forward to many dynamic and thought-provoking discussions on the day.

Katy Bond in association with the Cambridge DAAD Research Hub are pleased to report the workshop ‘Pictures, Parchment & Paper: illustrated books and manuscripts in early modern Germany’ held on 5 May 2016 in the Barbara White Room, Newnham College, the University of Cambridge.

A panel of ten speakers came together from universities across Germany, Switzerland, the USA and the United Kingdom to share their research with workshop participants on a variety of pictorial books from early modern Germany. The workshop took note of the unique and exceptionally rich visual culture of early modern Germany, fuelled by the imaginative, colourful artistry that went into the production of books and manuscripts. We saw that an explosion of genres covering new and diverse secular subjects were envisioned in this period not only in print, but in painted manuscripts and albums, carefully rendered by local artists.

The workshop’s keynote speaker was Professor Dr. Dagmar Eichberger, a distinguished art historian of the University of Heidelberg, whose insightful paper entitled “Gratia sola Dei. Image and Text in a musical Manuscript by Orlando di Lasso for the Wedding of Renata of Lothringen and William V Duke of Bavaria (1568)” was a well-received investigation of the complex system of intricate marginal illustrations in an important musical manuscript of the Bavarian Court. The other speakers were a collection of graduate scholars, early-career researchers and established academics who specialise in books covering subjects ranging from fencing and armour, to heraldry, genealogy, and costume. Key to this workshop was the notion that these rich products have too often been investigated in isolation. The workshop provided a platform to discuss the cultural and material characteristics these works shared, and sought to understand how this exciting moment in the visual history of Germany developed and flourished.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1922. www.metmuseum.org