Worldly Goods: Early Modern Art, Trade, Knowledge, Possession


The history of the early modern era has in recent decades been reconceived and rewritten as a history of things and goods. Global trade vectors in particular have shaped new histories of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Material goods -- many of them newly available on a global scale -- shaped aesthetics, scientific investigation, political relations, identity formation, and devotional practices. This seminar studies the circulation of worldly goods between approximately 1500 and 1700, charting encounters around the globe by studying objects and persons in circulation. In orientation, the seminar is European, with a focus on the Dutch Republic in the world. Through secondary source readings and encounters with primary source materials, students will gain an understanding of how early modern objects relate to a newly "global" economy and horizon. Works of art, luxury trade goods, and pirated treasures are the principal sorts of "worldly goods" under consideration. We will consider the movement of individuals and the slave trade in the context of early modern colonialism as well as how the biographies of objects involve shifts in status and value over geographical space and time. Prerequisites: L01 113 and one 300-level course in Art History or permission of instructor.
Course Attributes: FA AH; EN H; BU Hum; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; GF AH; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

Worldly Goods: Early Modern Art, Trade, Knowledge, Possession
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