Saskia Beranek, University of Pittsburgh
While the study of early modern portraiture can seem like a parade of distant faces and biographies, looking beyond the frame allows us to ask new questions that bring those faces to life. What is a portrait, and what kind of social work did it do on behalf of the sitter? How did where a portrait was displayed and who was allowed to see it shape both the content and the format? In this talk, Saskia Beranek explores these issues through a study of the portraits of one seventeenth-century woman, Amalia van Solms. The leading lady of the Dutch Golden Age. Amalia used her palaces filled with portraits to stage dynamic narratives of dynastic identity and personal agency. More then just houses containing pictures, Amalia’s palaces became portraits in their own right: representations of her identity assembled in the minds of viewers as they delighted in the High Baroque intersection of image, palace and garden. By combining artistic media usually examined separately and foregrounding what was at stake for one woman this talk revitalizes the study of early modern portraiture and expands our knowledge of an often-overlooked female patron.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (714) 997-6729.