History of Art and Architecture

Prof. Nygren lecture at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome - December 6th

This seminar presents research from a large book manuscript that examines the emergence of painting on stone through the lens of the ecology of art. What did it mean to paint on lithic material? Why would artists do such a thing? Focusing in on a single strand of the broader argument, the talk will consider painting on stone within the Transatlantic exchange by looking at four paintings on obsidian. The chemical "fingerprint" of the stones reveals that they came from quarries in Michoacán, Mexico. Art historians have been slow to consider the implications of this revelation. Obsidian had a contested status within the world of Atlantic colonization. The research seminar shall consider what entailments, both ethical and artistic, followed when artists transformed a material sacred to the Aztec people into a substrate for images of the Christian godhead.

To learn more about the event, please visit Bibliotheca Hertziana.