Upcoming Publications

I have two contributions in Aurora: The Journal of the History of Art, vol. XI, to be published in November of 2010.

First, my article “The Elephant in the Living Room: Jan Steen’s Fantasy Interior as Parodic Portrait of the Schoutens.”

Here’s a synopsis: The Dutch painter Jan Steen (ca. 1626–79) is well known for his topsy-turvy comic genre pieces. Steen’s handful of portraits, however, are typically viewed as conventionally decorous and flattering to his sitters. Even in his commissioned portraits, I propose Steen includes a comic mixture of genres and juxtapositions of levels of decorum that his erudite sitters found compelling. Steen’s witty, parodic images emulate the ancient serio-comical style. The focus of my paper is Steen’s Fantasy Interior (ca. 1663, Nelson Atkins Museum), a portrait of his friend Gerrit Gerritsz. Schouten, a Catholic brewer become landed-gentry. In the work, Steen contrasts Dutch social classes and family generations, comparing their looks and morals in parodic ways. Steen points to the folly of late-century forms of exclusionary classicizing etiquette and dress, proposing instead a medieval type of sociability as a preferable alternative. Steen notes the disjunctions in the seventeenth-century social fabric and explores them in his portrait. Even as Steen humorously subverts viewer expectation, he practices a comedy of inclusion versus a satirical rejection of “societal outsiders.” Thus, he creates an endlessly entertaining and provocative image that allowed Schouten both to celebrate and laugh at his own success simultaneously.

And second,“Enchanting the Intellect and the Eye,” Review of Aneta Georgievska-Shine,Rubens and the Archaeology of Myth, 1610-1620: Visual and Poetic Memory.”

You can purchase copies of Aurora via their online subscription form.

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