The Department of Art
is pleased to be hosting Elizabeth Petcu as part of the
Visual Thinker Lecture Series
on Friday, March 31, 2017 at 5 p.m. in Moulton Hall, 213.

Elizabeth Petcu, Institut fÜr Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

Leon Battista Alberti famously compared the relationship between architectural structure and superstructure to the dualism of skeleton and skin. This paper scrutinizes how the 1598
treatise of Strasbourg artist Wendel Dietterlin the Elder (c. 1550-1599) subverted Alberti’s theory and the aesthetic of stability it promoted by popularizing architectural motifs that recall bone, cartilage, muscle, and flesh, thus confusing built framework with decorative surface. Drawing these so-called “auricular” ornaments from contemporary anatomical publications, Dietterlin inspired buildings that challenged tectonic conventions, upset the traditional split between exterior and interior, and emulated the figural arts’ involvement in representing interior human forms. In assessing how Dietterlin’s
turned the proverbial body of architecture inside out, the paper shows that Renaissance comparisons between body and building did not always project ideals of architectural beauty, and reveals overlooked origins of Baroque-era fascination with fusing of architecture and the other visual arts.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (714) 997-6729.