Bean Kings, the Fantasy Interior and More…

I have three exciting announcements! :)

My article, “The Elephant in the Living Room: Jan Steen’s Fantasy Interior as Parodic Portrait of the Schouten Family,” appears in Aurora: Journal of the History of Art, vol. XI [12/2010].  You can also find “Enchanting the Intellect and the Eye,” my review of A. Georgievska-Shine’s book, Rubens and the Archaeology of Myth, 1610-1620, in the same volume.

Also, my most recent article, “Bean Kings and Brawling Priests: Pairing Epiphany and Easter in Baroque Haarlem,” [no longer under contract with Ashgate] is now under peer review with a journal.

Here is the abstract for the “Bean Kings” article:

The husband-and-wife artists Jan Miense Molenaer and Judith Leyster generally are considered to have worked collaboratively during their careers. The foci of this paper are two pendant sets painted by Molenaer and Leyster before their marriage in 1636, works not hitherto duly considered in relation to each other, nor understood as parodic commentary on increasingly stratified contemporary culture. I will trace the works’ iconographical, literary, cultural and philosophical sources, beginning with Leyster’s slightly earlier paintings of The Merry Company and The Last Drop of around 1629-1631, and then Molenaer’s set of The Battle of Carnival and Lent and Twelfth Night of around 1634. As we shall see, all four paintings share a common theme: they link the two central festivals of the Christian liturgical calendar—Christmastide and Eastertide.  In European popular culture the two are bound together by an entire socially-leveling carnival season that runs from early December through Mardi Gras or Vastenavond, six weeks before Easter. In their related paintings, Leyster and Molenaer depict carnival celebrations in juxtaposition to the complimentary end of those festivities with the advent of Lent. These works share an overlooked theme of ecumenical Christian humanism and an abiding form of seriocomical philosophy that was burgeoning in select humanist circles of Haarlem and beyond at this time.

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