Project

Art in frame. Interpreting frames in the sixteenth-century Low Countries.

Duration
01 October 2018 → Ongoing
Funding
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Art studies and sciences
Keywords
frames
 
Project description

Today, many museum visitors and art historians alike pay little attention to the frames of artworks,
and they are not inclined to attribute a particular meaning to them. In early modern Europe in
contrast, elaborated frames were widely diffused. There seems to exist a gap between the way
frames are valued today and roughly 400 years ago. It is this issue that the project will address
when formulating the following three goals:
(1) The first goal is to map the development of frames in five art forms: tapestries, miniatures,
paintings, prints and sculptures. To this end, five case studies will be undertaken that cover the
period between 1540 and 1600 in Antwerp, a major economic and cultural centre at the time.
(2) The second goal is to examine the relationship between the meaning of frames and dialectic. In
early modern Europe, dialectic was a prominent theoretical discipline that would have determined
the way in which people thought and reasoned. I argue that artists applied dialectical principles in
their works, and that these principles are a key to understanding the specific logic of frames.
(3) The third goal is to explore in how far frames are related to contemporary art-theoretical and
image theological debates. These debates were especially dominant in the sixteenth-century Low
Countries, and had a definite impact on the visual arts.
In order to reach the two last goals, frames will be studied in connection with early modern
treatises on dialectic and image theology.