Upcoming Publication

Brill_coverFor those who might be interested, my latest article, “The Wise Man has Two Tongues: Images of The Satyr and the Peasant by Jordaens and Steen,” will appear in Myth in History, History in Myth, volume 182 in Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History series.  It is due out in August of 2009.

Here’s the article abstract:

“In the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Aesop’s Fables had widespread appeal in Netherlandish culture. In particular, we find many examples of the “Fable of the Satyr and the Peasant”. In the story a wary satyr rejects the perceived hypocrisy of the peasant, “blowing hot or cold” as the situation dictates—once to warm his cold hands, and again to cool his porridge.

The Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens’ name is most synonymous with representations of the theme, for, by one count, he created a dozen versions of the story in various media.  It was one of his most repeated, most popular subjects.

It is often noted that Jordaens’ images of “As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young” and “Twelfth Night” served as models for the Dutch artist Jan Steen.  It remains under-stated, however, that Steen also painted the Satyr and the Peasant fable several times in apparent emulation of Jordaens.

In this paper, I discuss the timing and execution of Steen’s paintings as evidence of competition with the older, more famous Antwerp artist. And, I ponder what the combination of Classical mythology and genre—a marriage of elite and popular culture—reveals about correspondances between Northern and Southern Netherlandish humanism.

The answers reveal much about the cross-fertilization between these two artists, and how they used mythology to explore the similarities and differences between their respective Netherlandish cultures and identities.”

And, here’s the book synopsis from the publisher:

“In 1975, a group of Dutch and British scholars published a conference volume of collected essays entitled Some Political Mythologies. That conference sought to examine the political myth as an object of historical study, particularly in the context of the tumultuous and exceptional history of the Low Countries. Thirty years later, a more diverse group of scholars gathered to re-examine the history of Dutch myth-making in light of developments in theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the role of myths in national identity, moral geography, and community formation. The results of their efforts appear in this volume, Myth in History: History in Myth. The essays cover developments in history, anthropology, cartography, philosophy, art history, and literature as they pertain to how the Dutch historically perceived these myths and how the myths have been treated by previous generations of historians.”

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