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Table of contents :
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Jessica Goethals, Valerie McGuire and Gaoheng Zhang
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe, Edited by Jessica Goethals, Valerie McGuire and Gaoheng Zhang This book first published 2008 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing 15 Angerton Gardens, Newcastle, NE5 2JA, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2008 by Jessica Goethals, Valerie McGuire and Gaoheng Zhang and contributors All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-84718-445-6, ISBN (13): 9781847184450
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Illustrations .................................................................................... vii Preface ........................................................................................................ ix Introduction ................................................................................................ xi PART I CONSOLIDATING POWER AND HEGEMONY THROUGH IMAGE NEGOTIATION Chapter One................................................................................................. 3 Triumph and Law: Giorgio Vasari’s Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve and the Iconology of the “State of Exception” Carolin Behrmann Chapter Two .............................................................................................. 15 Anxious Masculinity, Affectation, and the Creation of Personal Image: Echoes of Quintilian in Castiglione’s Il libro del Cortegiano Jennifer Newman Chapter Three ............................................................................................ 25 Mother’s Milk and Deborah’s Sword: The Anatomy of Joan of Arc in Henry VI Kathryn Falzareno PART II THE MOBILE REFERENT AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF SELF AND NATION Chapter Four.............................................................................................. 43 Echo and Narcissus: Labyrinths of the Self in Early Modern Music Ljubica Ilic Chapter Five .............................................................................................. 57 Aristocratic Spectacle: Visual and Literary Portraiture in the Seventeenth-Century French Salon Hiba Hafiz
Table of Contents
Chapter Six ................................................................................................ 77 The Future of the Past Looks Bleak: Spenser’s Recycled Image and Baudrillard’s Simulacrum Thomas LeCarner PART III DEPARTURES FROM THE ORTHODOX: RE-IMAGING CONVENTION AND CULTURE Chapter Seven............................................................................................ 95 Taking Mary’s Pulse: Cartesianism and Modernity in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin Elissa Auerbach Chapter Eight........................................................................................... 119 Secular Relic: The Spectacle of the Body in Decay on the Early Modern English Stage N. M. Imbracsio Chapter Nine............................................................................................ 129 Modernity and Byzantine Icons Lilia Verchinina Notes........................................................................................................ 137 Bibliography............................................................................................ 165 Contributors............................................................................................. 183 Index........................................................................................................ 187
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1-1 Giorgio Vasari, The Wounding of Coligny ............................................ 4 1-2 Giorgio Vasari, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve ..................... 5 1-3 Giorgio Vasari, The Lit de Justice of Charles IX .................................. 5 1-4 Detail of The Wounding of Coligny....................................................... 8 1-5 Detail of The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve.............................. 10 1-6 Detail of The lit de Justice of Charles IX ........................................... 12 7-1 Rembrandt van Rijn, The Death of the Virgin..................................... 96 7-2 Theodor Galle and Carel de Mallery, The Death of the Virgin, illustration from Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, Nuper reformatum, & Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editum: ad instar Breviarii Romani sub Urbano VIII. Recogniti, Antwerp, 1652 .................................................. 101 7-3 Theodor Galle and Carel de Mallery, The Burial of the Virgin, illustration from Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, Nuper reformatum, & Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editum: ad instar Breviarii Romani sub Urbano VIII. Recogniti, Antwerp, 1652 .................................................. 102 7-4 Theodor Galle and Carel de Mallery, The Assumption of the Virgin, illustration from Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, Nuper reformatum, & Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editum: ad instar Breviarii Romani sub Urbano VIII. Recogniti, Antwerp, 1652 .................................................. 102 7-5 The Chapel of Our Lady in Time of Need near Heiloo with Saint Willebrord, illustration from Richard Verstegen, Antiquitates Belgicae of Nederlandsche Oudtheden, Amsterdam, 1700 .................................... 103
List of Illustrations
7-6 Theodor Matham, As Death Draws Near, illustration from Roberti Francesco Romolo Bellarmino, De arte bene moriendi libri dvo, Amsterdam, 1626 .................................................................................... 105 7-7 Rembrandtvan Rijn, Saskia Lying in Bed.......................................... 107 7-8 Albrecht Dürer, The Death of the Virgin........................................... 108 7-9 Dirck Pietersz. Crabeth, The Death of the Virgin Mary .................... 108 7-10 Rembrandt van Rijn, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.... 110 7-11 Frans van Schooten, Man Observing a Diagram of the Retinal Image, illustration from René Descartes, “La Dioptrique,” Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & cherche la verité dans les sciences. Plus la dioptriqve. Les meteores. Et la geometrie. Qui sont des essais de cete Methode, Leiden, 1637 ............................................... 113
This book is the fruit of a vibrant and intellectually exploratory conference, “Power and Image in Early Modern Europe,” hosted by New York University’s Department of Italian Studies on April 7-8, 2006. A group of young scholars gathered from across disciplines to share their reflections on how contemporary theory may deepen our understanding of early modernity. New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science, the Dean’s Office of the Graduate School of Arts and Science, the Medieval and Renaissance Center, and the Casa Italiana ZerilliMarimò graciously sponsored the conference. The editors are indebted to the NYU Italian Studies professors for their support, with particular gratitude to Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Department Chair; Virginia Cox, Director of Graduate Studies; and Jane Tylus, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, for their generous help in preparing the conference and this book; to Professor Louise Rice from the Department of Fine Arts for moderating a discussion on art history; and to Professor Stefano Albertini, Director of the Casa Italiana, for providing an optimal locale for learning and exchange. Finally, we extend a warm thanks to Lindsay Eufusia, and, in Rome, John Thavis and Chiara Moriconi for their assistance with the images reprinted here.
INTRODUCTION JESSICA GOETHALS
“Power and Image in Early Modern Europe,” the 2006 New York University conference, emerged in response to contemporary queries about the use of images in the promotion and protection of sociopolitical power. In Society of the Spectacle, for example, Guy Debord argued that “the spectacle is heir to all the weakness of the project of Western philosophy, which was an attempt to understand activity by means of the categories of vision.”1 For Debord and other critics like him, image and spectacle act as fundamental mediators of power relationships. We invited the conference participants to consider how large-scale societal changes impact this function of images by looking at the social, political, and jurisdictional (re)encounters of early modern Europe in particular. From connections and confrontations between sovereign Europeans states to reconceived intellectual relationships with the philosophers and theologians of antiquity, from the discovery of the New World to the radical shake-up of the old during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, early modernity redefined the boundaries of nation and self through a continual confrontation with the Other. How, we asked, was “image” implemented in this shifting landscape where recalibration of social relations became unavoidable and almost universal? The conference contributors responded with a spectrum of answers drawn from across disciplines and cultures. The early modern use of image, they suggested, was pliable and often problematized; it could serve not only as an authoritative instrument by which to demarcate or extend horizons of influence but also as a symbol for investigations into selfhood, as well as a medium for revising or supplementing outdated social conventions. The image could thus both command submission and offer strategies for exploration and contestation. Consequently, some manifestations of image achieved a privileged and even sacred status, while others became figures of the negative, the “Other,” or even the uncharted. While the definition of image as not only “likeness” and “representation” but also as personal reputation and public opinion did not
emerge until the mid-twentieth century, the following papers clearly show that this duality was at already at play in early modernity. All of the authors in this volume consider in some way two principal goals of the image-creator: first, the construction of a visual, literary, or auditory representation that stabilizes or expounds a sociopolitical position, and, second, the dissemination of this image in order to convey a message to a particular audience. In order to understand this spectacle of image conception and communication, one must compare the objectives of the image-creator to the actions and reactions of the targeted community. Such an examination of the early modern period prompts questions similar to those posed by Debord and other critics interested in the relationship between power and image in the age of mass media: How are certain images fashioned, justified, and circulated, and who controls this process? How can the use of images become a tool not only for the changing state but also for the self-reflective individual? And, finally, what happens when the traditional signification of an image is no longer socially compelling? This book considers the varying stimuli for, disseminations of, and responses to the early modern image. Discussing particular images in such terms can be illuminating, for these criteria illustrate that a social or political objective could be comparably addressed by seemingly disparate disciplines. Moreover, this approach also highlights an organic language of images that acknowledges, duplicates, resists, contradicts, and transforms itself. The first section examines the function of images in the concretization and legitimization of sovereign and social power. In “Triumph and Law: Giorgio Vasari’s Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve and the Iconology of the ‘State of Exception,’” Carolin Behrmann describes Gregory XIII’s commissioning of the Vasari fresco series in the Vatican audience chamber as a decisive strategy for restaking the horizons of papal power in reaction to the French kingdom’s unilaterally executed 1572 massacre of the Protestants. Painted behind the papal throne, the frescoes not only visually shift juridical authority from the king to the pope but also accentuate the Vatican’s ability to suspend the law and define justice on its own terms. Jennifer Newman expands upon this use of the image as a reaction against and eradication of ambiguous power roles in “Anxious Masculinity, Affectation, and the Creation of Personal Image: Echoes of Quintilian in Castiglione’s Il libro del Cortegiano.” Tracing the debate on art versus nature in physical bearing and public comportment from Cicero to Quintilian to Castiglione, Newman elucidates the uncertain role of
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
socially prominent men who are nonetheless subservient to a higher male power. Castiglione’s courtiers attempt to extricate themselves from ambiguity through the composition of a verbal portrait that, like Gregory XIII’s frescoes, establishes their jurisdiction by contrasting them with a weaker figure. Virility and polish—indicators of deserved social prominence—assert themselves over gaucherie and effeminacy. In Kathryn Falzareno’s “Mother’s Milk and Deborah’s Sword: The Anatomy of Joan of Arc in Henry VI,” we move from anxious masculinity to “unruly” femininity. Examining the importance of name-as-image in Shakespeare’s play, Falzareno distinguishes between the image that Joan of Arc appropriates for herself and the hegemonic assignment of a more socially suitable name and image to her. Her dichotomous and so-called androgynous behavior remains discordant with society’s demand for order and clean categories, and her refusal to accept the names, labels, and images with which the male authority marks her inevitably leads to her forcible reintegration through violence. While the first section examines attempts to concretize power through the negation or diminution of threatening ambiguities, the second section turns instead to moments in which indeterminacy leads not to the singular and authoritative but rather to the refracted and reflected image. In “Echo and Narcissus: Labyrinths of the Self in Early Modern Music,” for example, Ljubica Ilic explicates the role of musical echo as an auditory representation of the subjectivity of affect. The mirrored self encourages a multiplicity and a fluidity of self-investigation, fostered here in the social space of musical performance. Hiba Hafiz’s “Aristocratic Spectacle: Visual and Literary Portraiture in the Seventeenth-Century French Salon” recalls the previous chapter on Castiglione and focuses on the communal construction and critique of individual and social identities within the French salons. These selfreadings are informed by both the influence of the salonnières and contemporary philosophical investigations, such as those of François de la Rochefoucauld, and move away from the more traditional constraints of the court identities. Instead, they engage in social definitions that highlight multiplicity through shared verbal play. The elasticity of images is not limited to the investigation of self but also to questions of history and nationhood, as Thomas Le Carner illustrates in “The Future of the Past Looks Bleak: Spenser’s Recycled Image and Baudrillard’s Simulacrum.” LeCarner locates a common interest in the sign without referent between The Faerie Queene and Baudrillard. The vanishing of the real results in “refracted and inverted”
images that facilitate the historical allegories of the poem and emphasize Spenser’s nostalgia for a past that never happened. Moving from the concrete, defining image and the multiplied, interrogative image of the first and second sections, respectively, Section Three discusses the transitional and transgressing image that signals a departure from orthodoxy. Elissa Auerbach opens this section with her chapter, “Taking Mary’s Pulse: Cartesianism and Modernity in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin.” Investigating the iconographic choices made by Rembrandt, Auerbach describes the etching as a complex work that deliberately complicates a traditional pre-Reformation image through the explicit evocation of Cartesian rationality, figured by a new treatment of the body and by the inclusion of secular characters like the doctor. In “Secular Relic: The Spectacle of the Body in Decay on the Early Modern English Stage,” N. M. Imbracsio further develops the concept of the transitional image, looking carefully at how the image must be redeployed in moments of transgression. Turning towards the postReformation English stage, this chapter presents dramatic images of death as a secularization of a traditionally Catholic visual ritual. The grotesque and decomposed body, which exhibits increasing narrative agency, stands as a figure for cultural anxieties about the disintegration of social institutions. In the final chapter, “Modernity and Byzantine Icons,” Lilia Verchinina draws a comparison between Byzantine and modern anxieties about the nature of icons by examining the dialectic between hypostasis and ousia as debated by the Iconoclast Council. Comparing these questions of identity and essence with those prompted by modern artistic practices like photography, Verchinina emphasizes the existence of images in the Christian East that differ from the use of perspective in early modern art by resisting if not preventing the presence of the Subject. The divergent tasks of the images presented in these papers do not follow a stark chronological, positivistic development. Rather, they reflect a cyclical process at play in the understanding and implementation of images. As early modern Europe confronted each new breach of traditional social, political, spiritual, and intellectual boundaries, communities (in all their varying shapes and forms) responded by buttressing existing roles, acknowledging the increasing difficulty in preserving those roles, and transitioning to new methods of negotiating power and position.
Part I Consolidating Power and Hegemony Through Image Negotiation
CHAPTER ONE TRIUMPH AND LAW: GIORGIO VASARI’S MASSACRE OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW’S EVE AND THE ICONOLOGY OF THE “STATE OF EXCEPTION” CAROLIN BEHRMANN There is a distinctive affiliation between law and image.1 To fully understand the power of the law, it needs to be associated with the history and status of the image. This unraveled paradox of the western juridical tradition has been the subject matter of several studies which deal with the aesthetical and philosophical interpretation of this rapport.2 Unfortunately only a few art-historical studies concentrate on the complex connection between meaning and structure of the power of the image, the normativeness of the law, and the construction of the state.3 This essay attempts to give an example of this specific interrelation in early modern Rome.4 There is no other image of a religiously and politically motivated mass killing as triumphant, prominent, and at the same time as confusing and perplexing as Giorgio Vasari’s fresco series in the Sala Regia, the papal audience chamber of the Vatican Palace. Even today the Sala Regia is one of the most significant audience halls of the Vatican.5 To give a recent example, on the occasion of his annual “state of the world” speech after Christmas and Epiphany, Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger granted a private audience in the Sala Regia of the Vatican, addressing the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. Typically the pope sits on his papal throne at the northern front wall of the oblong hall. All of the duly convened ambassadors and representatives of the secular state powers step forward and bow low in front of the papal authority. This special ceremonial act looks back on a tradition of more than five hundred years and shows the pope as a secular authority and a head of state to whom the princes and kings of the world have to demonstrate their respect—in an act that ignores the altered balance of power and the fact that today’s state
representatives have much more secular power than the pope might ever have had before. Monumental historical paintings cover the walls and form an impressive visual background for the ceremonies in the Sala Regia. The frescoes celebrate different glorious events of war and peace in which the papal troops or papal diplomacy gained triumph over worldly states and rulers.6 Several studies have examined the correlation between the visual program and early Christian and medieval political and juristic doctrines. According to one, the Sala Regia “reiterated the Medieval doctrine of papal absolutism in visual terms.”7 Papal sovereignty is therefore represented in images showing triumph over heretics. But a peculiar juridical moment can be traced, especially relating to the images of St. Bartholomew’s Eve, which goes beyond the simple antagonism of Catholic doctrine against heretical evil. The frescoes of the Parisian massacre by Giorgio Vasari are located on the northern throne wall of the Sala (fig. 1-1, 1-2, and 1-3).8 The scenes commemorate the extirpation of the Huguenots in the year 1572, the Night of St. Bar-tholomew. Only two months after the massacre, Gregory XIII commissioned Vasari to paint the frescoes. They show three crucial moments during the Fig. 1-1 Giorgio Vasari, The Wounding course of events. On the of Coligny, Sala Regia, the Vatican, longitudinal side of the hall a 1762-73. Fresco. first fresco represents the Wounding of Coligny on August 22nd, 1572. To its right, on the front wall, a second fresco shows the Massacre of
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Coligny and His Huguenot Followers on St. Bartholomew’s Day, August 23rd to 24th, 1572. The third fresco, on the right hand side of the throne, depicts the moment in which King Charles IX in Council Declares Coligny a Traitor on August 26th, 1572.9
Fig. 1-2 Giorgio Vasari, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve, Sala Regia, the Vatican, 1762-73. Fresco.
Fig. 1-3 Giorgio Vasari, The Lit de Justice of Charles IX, Sala Regia, the Vatican, 1762-73. Fresco.
The slaughter of the Protestants that took place at the wedding night of Margaret of Valois and the Huguenot Henry of Navarra, the prospective King Henry IV, cannot be told in all its details here.10 The massacre was the atrocious result of a plan of the royal hosts: Catherine de’ Medici and King Charles IX, together with their courtly entourage, were carrying the ongoing religious war to extremes.11 The events surrounding the slaughter of the Protestants constituted one of the first intra-stately conflicts to be depicted, printed, and distributed throughout Europe.12 Given the fact that the defeat of the Huguenots meant a victory for the Catholic League, it is more than plausible that Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1502-1585) also commemorated the event as a victory of the church over the heretics. On this occasion he celebrated several special masses in different Roman churches.13 But the Pope’s opinion was Janus-faced. In contrast to his joyful reaction, he also criticized the French king’s conduct, which from his point of view was arbitrary and illegitimate.14 After the massacre, which caused horrible suffering not only in Paris but also in the provinces of the French kingdom, royal absolutism was heavily attacked in a mass of pamphlets.15 This meant further aggravated criticism and a fundamental reflection upon the relationship between the king and his subjects on one side and the political action of the monarchy in general on the other. The criticism was directed not at the violence per se but at the “Machiavellian tendency” of this cold-blooded act and of other decisions of the royal house.16 On August 26th, two days after the Parisian massacre, Charles IX confirmed at the lit de justice—a parliamentary session for the essential registration of royal edicts—that his order had not been motivated by hatred for the Huguenots but should instead be understood as an act of defending his people from a threatening Huguenot conspiracy;17 he maintained that Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, the leader of the Huguenots, had planned a conspiracy against the royal house and that this was the only reason why the king had instigated this exceptional but necessary action. This version was publicized by the royal ambassadors in an attempt to portray the massacre as a legitimate act of law enforcement.18 To explain the fact that they did not avenge Coligny’s “crime” in a judiciary way, the French ambassador Pomponne de Bellièvre cited the reason of state of Niccolò Machiavelli.19 According to the ambassador, legal action would have provoked an “inner war.”20 During the lit de justice—the solemn affirmation of the king’s legislative monopoly, when he appeared as supreme judge in parliament—the king explained the action as just.21 As paradoxical as it sounds, according to his account the terrible violence against the Huguenots would sustain stately order and peace. However, it was not an act of legitimization, as Denis
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Crouzet has accurately remarked: Charles IX appeared in front of the parliament to force the king’s law by ending the state of exception.22 Apart from the massacre’s serious consequences concerning the confessional and political struggles during the religious wars, the unilateral action of the French crown also has to be seen as a challenge to the legal powers of the Pope. The question of authority in the area of jurisdiction determined the relationship between the church and the sovereign states of Europe, between the pope and the worldly rulers, for centuries but especially during the second half of the sixteenth century.23 It was one of the main concerns of the newly elected Pope Gregory XIII to implement and uphold the centrality of the papal powers on the juridical level.24 Together with Gabriele Paleotti in 1572, during the first months of his pontificate, he published a memoriale in order to sustain the jurisdiction of the church. The Paleotti text ends with the assertion that the Papal States were also to be conceived as a “Stato laico,” which meant it was entrusted with the defence of its own sphere of influence and jurisdiction.25 But the reality was far more complicated, and the sovereign states, especially Spain, were too autonomous to grant such a concession; hence, there was no way to generalize the problem on a jurisdictional level. No other description, no theory or tractate on papal sovereignty depicted the claim to legitimacy of both the secular and the sacral sovereignty more conspicuously than the visual program and its depiction of the massacre in the Sala Regia. Unlike the other frescoes in the Sala, which show papal supremacy in the form of gestures of humility, donations, or recompenses to the church, the crucial focus of Vasari’s massacre panels is on a juridical moment. The decision to choose the massacre as the pictorial motif on the throne wall of the Sala should be interpreted as more than just a part of the Counter-Reformation’s proclamation against heresies26 but also as corroboration of a fundamental juridical claim. Both the depiction of St. Bartholomew’s Eve as the anomy that results from the suspension of law and the representation of dominant papal powers aim at the legitimization of an autonomous state and law. In the first fresco of the series, the wounded leader of the Huguenots is carried by three courtly-looking men (fig. 1-4). The admiral is dressed in a heavy mantle. Around his neck he wears a necklace and a medal of the Fraternity of Holy Michael, one of the most important knightly orders of France. Coligny’s upper body is lifted up by two men. His head falls on his breast and his hat has to be held up. His sagging hand is limp and mutilated; two fingers are missing, and blood is dripping down. The other hand lies on the shoulder of one of the helping noblemen. Coligny and his
attendants are shown as frightened enemies in defeat but also, as Röttgen emphasizes, as blind and errant noblemen. Characteristic of the other men in the background are their facial expressions and gestures. The man directly above the attendants’ heads looks heavenwards and extends his arms. He seems to be trying to protect the group from something mendacious. While the fingers of his one hand are spread, the other hand tightly grasps the admiral’s baton of command. Fig. 1-4 Giorgio Vasari, detail of The The diverse gestures of the Wounding of Coligny, Sala Regia, the figures indicate panic and the Vatican, 1762-73. Fresco. loss of control. There is only one nobleman, the one shown in profile in the center, who seems to be calm. With his index finger he points warningly to another scene. In the center of this fictitious architectural landscape stands Bramante’s tempietto, erected above the place of the martyrdom of St. Peter (fig. 1-1).27 Above the lantern of the temple an Archangel hovers in an aureole, holding up a sword and pointing down with the other hand. The appearance of the Archangel Michael, the prince of heaven and assistant of the throne, is not merely a warning. Together with Gabriel, he embodies grace and justice. Governing the affects and emotions of the people, he is the main actor in the image. The royal family originally arranged for Coligny to be assassinated on the street, but he was only wounded and survived.28 Vasari shows neither the assassins nor those who ordered the execution—only the panic and uncertainty of the Huguenots, who do not yet know anything about the consequences of this attack. The holy judgment, which reigns above the place of martyrdom of Peter and his followers on earth, allows the leader of the Huguenots to live. Coligny lies in the arms of his attendants like Christ after the Deposition from the Cross, as a comparison with Raphael’s Deposition (1508, Galleria Borghese) strikingly shows.29 But this scene
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
should rather be compared with another central fresco by Raphael in the Stanze of the Vatican: The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple (1511).30 Not only the motif of the temple but also the central figure hovering above the steps show the close similarity of the two images. The Expulsion of Heliodorus represented not merely a sacred message but also the exaltation at the expulsion of the Bentivoglio family from Bologna, the victory of Pope Julius II over the city. The temple is here a symbol of the States of the Church, and the Bentivoglio, as Burke remarks, are seen as profaning the temple.31 The subject of the intruder as thief, like Heliodorus in the temple, also appears in a poem by Jean Dorat, where he characterizes the Huguenot leader Coligny as “head of the thieves of the Church” and gloatingly describes his dismemberment: This Gaspar who was once head of the thieves of the church ended his deeds without his own head. He who used to steal prophane and sacred goods with his hands, one sees as a figure lacking hands. He who used to show off his shameful member to holy people is a shameful image without a shameful member.32
From a Catholic perspective, the mutilated body is the visible sign not only of triumph and the punishment of heresy but also of absolute sovereign judgement. The intruder is merely warned, not mortally harmed. Thus Vasari depicts a sovereignty that pardons and dispenses justice on life. Michel Foucault describes the power of the sovereignty over life in his dictum of “killing or letting live,” which is only effective from the moment in which the sovereign can kill—in that moment he exercises his universal right to judge and decide about life.33 This classic theme of political theory is paradoxical in the sense that the life and death of the subject become justice only through the sovereign’s will. A different sovereign justice is shown in the fresco of the bloody deed against Coligny, his execution, and the massacre of the Huguenots (fig. 12). In the upper part of the image, troops storm the house in which the Huguenot leader was kept for protection after the attack. On the first floor, the intruders stand on the balconies and lift up their arms, gesticulating excitedly. Coligny falls headfirst from the window onto the street, right into a group of soldiers waiting downstairs.34 The admiral, who in the first fresco was shown as a very dignified nobleman, is now shown naked, deprived of his clothes, and with long hair, bearded and disheveled. He raises his arms above his head and angles his legs in a wild, distorted, Maenad-like dance. The iconography of the admiral’s fall has been compared with the downfall of Simon the Magician.35 Simon Magus is known as a figure of
law who pretends to work wonders and tries to challenge the apostle Peter in a thaumaturgical contest.36 His fatal downfall in front of the emperor Claudius Nero Germanicus (41-54 AD) is one proof of the power and predominance of the Vicar of Christ, whom the magician dared to challenge. Coligny was already dead when they pushed his corpse out of the window.37 His fall itself was less spectacular than the death of Simon Magus. But the Catholics then cut off his head and dragged the torso through the streets of Paris. Vasari does not show these abysmally violent scenes. He freezes the moment of the fall and turns the Huguenot into the doomed magician. Another figuration of law in the same fresco can be seen in the massacre scene, the slaughter of unnamed and impersonalized Huguenots. The structuring elements in the anarchic confusion of corpses, weapons, and faces are the swords of the soldiers in antique armour. A tough and sturdy bearded man fills up the whole bottom border of the image; a soldier is forcing him down with his knees, ready to strike him the last blow (fig. 1-5). The soldier’s hand thrusts relentlessly into the opponent’s face, whose right eye is virtually squashed between his two fingers. Behind the two there are similar scenes; for example, a young soldier with a red harness grabs an old bearded man by his hair and is poised to kill him with an uplifted sword. The paratactic arrangement of the swords demonstrates the predominance of the royal Catholic troops and seems to expose a hidden mechanism behind it. The faces of the Fig. 1-5 Giorgio Vasari, aggressors in the background are turned detail of The Massacre of away, and thus the anxiety and panic in St. Bartholomew’s Eve, Sala the Huguenots’ faces dominate. DisRegia, the Vatican, 1762-73. torted, the mouths are widely open and Fresco. convulsively disfigured, and the masklike faces are deeply wrinkled, the eyes scared. Every last gap in the picture between the bodies of the combatants is filled up with the heads of the
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Huguenots. The composition separates the heads from the corpses, demonstrating the violent act which thus becomes the execution of the sentence. The convulsion of and targeted attacks on the faces and heads show the atrocious dimension of the violence. The enemy to be eradicated does not have an identifiable face, is reduced to a grotesque cipher and pure terror.38 If in the first fresco the Huguenots were shown as noble men, as part of the court and the social order, Vasari here abruptly introduces them as mere objects, unidentifiable humanlike creatures. This visual construction of the heretic as nauseating fiend or unidentifiable human being is part of the violent rites of the religious conflicts.39 The face has been the main target for the ritual violations. The Catholics mark and mask the faces of the Huguenots in infernal aesthetics—and fabricate monsters.40 Such exclusion and dehumanization of this kind form the original political relation, according to Giorgio Agamben. It shows the structure of sovereignty itself.41 Agamben inverts early modern accounts that understood sovereignty to be an inclusive social contract. Sovereign power does not affirm its power by asserting its dominion. Thus it is the withdrawal of its protection, and the abandonment of bare life to a realm of violence and lawlessness.42 But this exclusion is in fact an inclusion, for sovereign power applies all the more when in the act of withdrawing itself. He who has been banned is not, in fact, simply set outside the law and made indifferent to it but rather abandoned by it, that is, exposed and threatened on the threshold in which life and law, outside and inside, become indistinguishable. It is literally impossible to say whether the one who has been banned is outside or inside the juridical order.
It is the life exposed to death, which “can be killed but must not be sacrificed.”43 This figure of the exception has a crucial meaning for the political whole.44 The last fresco shows the sitting of the Parliament of Paris in the presence of His Majesty King Charles IX (fig. 1-3). Only a few days after the massacre the French king proclaimed Coligny’s guilt and the justness of his assassination.45 The so-called “lit de justice” is an expression of royal sovereignty. In his first account to Pope Gregory XIII, the nuncio in France, Antonio Maria Salviati, describes the lit de justice in all its details.46 The presence of the king in parliament can effectively momentarily suspend the delegation, and his officers can exercise their function.47 In the presence of the king, the parliament loses its legislative function and takes up a mere advisory role. Vasari was very interested in all the details of the seating chart and its ceremonial sequences.
After the prayer in the Sainte Chappelle, the king entered the parliament together with the chancellor, the princes, and marshals, as well as cardinals and bishops (fig. 1-6). He took his place under a baldacchino; to his right were his princely brothers, to his left Cardinal de Bourbon in a red mozzetta and white rochetta.48 Given the fact that Vasari had been extremely precise with all the details and quite accurate in his portraits, it is very striking that one crucial detail is missing.49 The king’s image on the medal Virtus in rebelles by Alexandre Olivier (B.N. Cabinet des médailles), Fig. 1-6 Giorgio Vasari, detail of The which commemorates the defeat lit de Justice of Charles IX, Sala of the Huguenots, shows the Regia, the Vatican, 1762-73. Fresco. missing part, however. Charles IX is enthroned under a baldachin and above trophies of arms and heads. In his right hand he holds the sword, as in the Sala Regia—but in his left he also holds the main de justice, the sceptre with the vowing hand which forms part of the crowning ceremonies as well as the lit de justice.50 The missing main de justice in the king’s left hand is replaced in Vasari’s painting by a gesture: the upraised finger of the Pope’s representative seems to be a substitute for the missing symbol. But this gesture is more than just a substitute; it demonstrates papal sovereignty administering the law—the king is reduced to a marionette. Vasari’s three frescoes on the throne wall of the Sala Regia demonstrate the limits of the profane juridical order in three different situations: the threatening of the Admiral as a sign of the sacred powers of the Catholic Church, the massacre as total suspension of reigning law, and the abolition of the king’s powers as demonstration of the papal forces and anomy of the profane rulers. Agamben describes this kind of suspension of the juridical norm as the sovereign’s status.51
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To understand these three moments as images of the “state of exception,” it is necessary to be aware of the contemporary juridical discourse. After the Council of Trent, the church had to defend its old privileges against the other powerful European states.52 The church no longer possessed its former scaling influence on social life and therefore moved all its efforts towards control and discipline on an ethical level.53 It confined its jurisdiction to the “inner forum,” the forum of conscience.54 The standardized confession system turned out to be an alternative to the law of the state. The Council of Trent led to a renewal of the old canonical legislation, which disrupted the whole juridical system of the Church concerning its order, norms, and concrete judicature. This process brought about deep changes that were not to be reduced by administrations. As we can see, Vasari’s images of St. Bartholomew’s Eve show papal sovereignty as dispensing and also executing justice. The retrospective legitimization of the massacre replaces the missing papal authoritative act to administer law in the case of the massacre. The leader of the Huguenots is seen as both victim and condemned soul. The political space of the exception is constituted in this “zone of indistinguishability” between victim and murder.55 The result of this interplay between the visualization of the massacre and the demonstration of papal powers is neither a factual nor a juridical situation. It is not factual because it is only created through the abrogation of the norm and therefore is not juridical fact. Instead, we can detect a space in which the aspired–to juridical-political order can actually be effective.
CHAPTER TWO ANXIOUS MASCULINITY, AFFECTATION, AND THE CREATION OF PERSONAL IMAGE: ECHOES OF QUINTILIAN IN CASTIGLIONE’S IL LIBRO DEL CORTEGIANO JENNIFER NEWMAN Wayne A. Rebhorn has described Baldassare Castiglione’s ideal courtier as “an artist fabricating images of himself to offer his audience.”1 In order to impress and thereby influence others, Castiglione’s courtier must create and manipulate an image of himself by means of his dress, comportment, speech, and deeds. Il libro del Cortegiano (The Book of the Courtier) explores the intricate interplay between nature and art—that is, the inherent qualities of the courtier and the exercise and techniques used to perfect and enhance these qualities—as well as the relationship between the affectation and sprezzatura involved in the courtier’s self-fashioning. The courtier, we shall see, carefully crafts his personal image but at the same time must appear not to do so. While this is often seen as characteristic of Castiglione and his period, this essay argues for the influence of Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria (On the Orator’s Education), especially Book 11, chapter 3, on the modes of self-fashioning in Castiglione’s Cortegiano. Specifically, it will explore both writers’ recommendations to hide the care taken to create one’s image, particularly in regard to bodily comportment. Both the Cortegiano and the Institutio rework the description of the ideal social man of Cicero’s De oratore (On the Orator). But they do so for changed political contexts—in the first case, at the court of Urbino, Italy, in the early sixteenth century, and in the other the first-century Roman Empire—in which the courtier and the orator hold less of a direct political role than the orator of Cicero’s time held. As a result, the works reflect much anxiety concerning the need to prove the virility, social legitimacy, and civic value of the courtier and orator, which can be seen in the authors’ warnings against straying away from masculinity. Castiglione’s focus on the relation between a natural-
seeming masculine image and political status is not new but rather an inheritance from Quintilian’s work. In Il libro del Cortegiano there is exhaustive discussion of the inherent qualities of the ideal courtier, court lady, and prince, as well as the exercises by which one improves one’s character. At the beginning of the description of the ideal courtier, Ludovico da Canossa claims that the perfect courtier should be born into a noble family because “nature has implanted in everything that hidden seed which gives a certain force and quality of its own essence to all that springs from it, making it like itself.”2 He also requires that the courtier have “that certain grace which we call an ‘air’ which shall make him at first sight pleasing and lovable to all who see him.”3 This nobility and grazia that are so pleasing are inherent qualities that make the ideal courtier naturally superior to the lower classes and to competing courtiers. However, Canossa also stresses here the training of the courtier. These metaphorical seeds within individuals, he says, will grow to be better than those from which they came unless not tended properly. Canossa also states that there are some born with qualities between perfection and complete incompetence and that “those who are not so perfectly endowed by nature can, with care and effort, polish and in great part correct their natural defects.”4 We can see here that, while Canossa recognizes the ability to perfect oneself through study and practice, his ideal is for the courtier to be born with grazia and nobility and not to need art to achieve perfection. Later Cesare Gonzaga asks “by what art, by what discipline, by what method” the courtier not naturally endowed with grazia could acquire it.5 Canossa replies that “although it is almost proverbial that grace can’t be learned,” if one is to acquire grace (“esser aggraziato”) he should have the best possible teachers and begin learning at a young age.6 The pupil should imitate his master exactly and later observe other courtiers and choose good qualities of theirs to imitate.7 In this passage, as earlier, Canossa points out that there is a technique to obtaining grazia, but at the same time he is mystifying this ideal, calling attention to the common belief that it cannot be learned. The debate over nature and art also arises in Book 4, when Ottaviano Fregoso describes how the ideal courtier is to lead the prince toward virtue and away from vice. Gaspare Pallavicino argues that virtues and vices cannot be learned, that they are instead “given by nature and by God.”8 But Ottaviano replies that in his opinion “the moral virtues are not in us entirely by nature.”9 He argues that humans are born capable of virtue or vice and that it is the practice of one or the other that makes virtue or vice a habit. In this instance, two different speakers disagree on the roles of
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nature and art in determining an individual’s character, rather than one speaker who adjusts his position. When they move on to the next topic of discussion, the interlocutors and the audience are still left without a decisive answer. Yet clearly both nature and art are necessary: reaching virtue depends on an inherent ability to do so, coupled with the practice of virtuous activities. The same theme emerges in the second book of the Cortegiano, in the discussion on humor. Federico Fregoso claims that “pleasantries and witticisms are the gift and bounty of nature rather than art,” and that some groups, such as Tuscans and Spaniards, are naturally wittier than others.10 Despite this assertion that wit is natural and cannot be taught, Emilia Pio calls on Bernardo Bibbiena to teach the group everything that he knows about jokes and story-telling.11 His exposition, which fills the entire second half of Book 2, includes examples of jokes and stories as well as an explanation of what provokes laughter. Bibbiena’s explaining what is funny implies that the other courtiers have something to learn about wit and that there is in fact an art to humor. We have seen an interesting tension between nature and art in the discussions of grazia, virtue, and wit in the Cortegiano. According to the speakers, these three qualities are ideally inherent but can be polished through practice, imitation, and the study of rules. The question of to what degree nature and art are responsible for one’s character never gets definitively resolved in the dialogue. It seems that Canossa, Federico, and the other courtiers in the Cortegiano would like to believe in the natural superiority of the ideal courtier and therefore themselves. At the same time, however, they cannot fully deny the reality that the courtier must work to acquire these valued qualities. There is a similar interplay between nature and art as an important theme in Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria. In his chapter on delivery, Quintilian states that “nothing comes to perfection unless nature (natura) is assisted by art (cura).”12 He is responding to those who believe that raw, impulsive delivery is best and that any study in oratory is “affected and unnatural.”13 He concedes, “Still, as regards Delivery, I am not obstinate: I agree that nature has the main part.”14 This is because good delivery requires the natural ability to memorize a text and to speak without preparation, as well as a “good firm voice” without defect.15 Those who do not have this natural ability cannot become orators, no matter how much they study or practice. But Quintilian, we shall see, places much emphasis on the art involved in delivery. In the chapter of the Institutio on delivery, the use of the voice and the carriage of the body are highly regulated. The orator is not left to use his
voice and body as he naturally would; instead, he is given minutely detailed instruction on how to adapt his behavior to what is appropriate for an orator. It is important that the voice be strong and durable, and indeed Quintilian recommends techniques such as “walking, rubbing with oil, sexual abstinence, and easy digestion” to avoid the “feeble shrillness of eunuchs, women, and invalids.”16 He lists at length the particularities of the quality of the voice, before moving on to gestures. What follows are infinitely specific instructions on the use of every part of the body during oratorical performance—the head, face (including eyes, eyebrows, nose, and lips), neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and feet—as well as a detailed analysis of hand gestures and proper dress. Art obviously plays a greater role than Quintilian admits. Quintilian also discusses the relation between natura and cura in regard to conveying emotions to one’s audience. He writes: But some emotions are real, others pretended or imitated. Real emotions burst out naturally—sorrow, anger, outrage, for example—but they lack art, and have therefore to be disciplined by training and method. Emotions contrived by imitation, on the other hand, involve art, but they have no basis in nature, so that the first thing for us to do is to be genuinely affected, form a picture of the situation, and let ourselves be moved by it as though it was real. (11.3.61-62)17
To Quintilian, both real emotion not tempered by art and purely imitated emotion are unacceptable. The orator must make use of both art and nature, stimulating real emotion artificially by imagining a situation and becoming moved by it. In other words, emotion which bursts out naturally is unacceptable because it demonstrates a lack of art, but artful displays of emotion are only acceptable if the emotion, though artificially stimulated, is genuinely felt. This follows his argument that in order to attain perfection, art must help nature. Both the natural and the artificial are unacceptable alone. To return now to the Cortegiano, we must explore a concept that is related to this interplay of nature and art and is perhaps the most famous notion of the Cortegiano: sprezzatura. In Book 1, Canossa claims that, for those who have not received much grazia from nature, there is “a universal rule” (“una regula universalissima”) applicable to all behavior; that is, to avoid affectation and to practice in all things a certain sprezzatura [nonchalance], so as to conceal all art and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it. And I believe much grace comes of this: because everyone knows the difficulty of things causes the
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greatest wonder; whereas, on the other hand, to labor and, as we say, drag forth by the hair of the head, shows an extreme want of grace, and causes everything, no matter how great it may be, to be held in little account.18
In other words, it is the appearance of having put any effort into an action and of not possessing the skill inherently that diminishes the action’s beauty. Only grazia which is natural or apparently natural is esteemed. As Canossa puts it, “we may call that art true art which does not seem to be art; nor must one be more careful of anything than of concealing it.”19 The techniques the speakers describe throughout the Cortegiano are all meant to help the courtier maintain the facade of natural and easy grazia. Sprezzatura, like all other behavior, is highly regulated. Canossa gives as an example of affectation a man named Pierpaulo who dances with his head held woodenly, thus appearing extremely focused, as if he were counting his steps.20 He looks ridiculous because his efforts are so obvious. Here Bibbiena argues that if sprezzatura is to be praised, then Canossa should appreciate the dancing of a certain Roberto, who, to show that he is not thinking about what he is doing, lets his clothes and slippers fall off.21 But Canossa points out that this is not sprezzatura, but affectation. Roberto’s audience is aware that he is allowing his clothes to fall off to prove a point, thus he does not appear to be acting naturally. As Rebhorn explains, behavior such as Roberto’s “calls too much attention to the fact that a performance is occurring, instead of letting the performance speak for itself” and “shows an incomplete mastery of art or an offensively cunning and inept attempt to dispense with it.”22 Quintilian’s work, like Castiglione’s, also emphasizes the importance of appearances and warns against affectation. Quintilian writes, “Leaning back towards your friends and letting them support you in their arms is an affectation, unless you have good reason to be tired. The same goes for being openly prompted when something slips your mind, and reading from a text.”23 Such things can “impair the force of the speech, cool the emotion, and make the judge feel that he is not being treated with sufficient respect.”24 It can be said that, like some of the examples of affectation given in the Cortegiano, these actions call too much attention to the performance that is taking place and rupture the myth that the orator is acting naturally. Quintilian sums it up best when speaking of the education of the young orator on delivery. He stresses that the boy be taught to avoid “staginess” in his gestures, writing, “If speakers do possess an art of these things, its first rule is not to seem to be an art.”25 Quintilian gives another interesting example of hiding art. He writes that after the orator’s speech begins
Chapter Two it is quite proper for the fold (of the toga) to slip, apparently accidentally, off the shoulder; and when we come to the Arguments and Commonplaces, it is quite proper to throw the toga back from the left shoulder, and even to let the fold down, if it tends to stay up. You can pull the toga away from the throat and the upper chest with the left hand, for everything is now hotting up. And just as the voice becomes more vehement and varied in tone, so the clothing gets into battle mode, as it were.26
By the end of the speech, “almost anything goes—sweat, fatigue, disordered clothing, toga loose and falling off all round,” and Quintilian even argues that “disheveled hair has some emotional impact, and wins approval just because trouble seems to have been forgotten.”27 These are all behaviors that speakers tend toward naturally in a heated moment; someone so focused on and moved by their own argument will forget comparatively unimportant things such as the neatness of clothing or hair. Such behavior on the part of the orator is only acceptable, however, if it appears to be natural. Quintilian warns that failing to fix a fallen toga too early in the speech appears foolish, presumably because early in the speech a speaker would not naturally be so heated that he would forget the importance of tidiness.28 We have seen in both Castiglione’s Il libro del Cortegiano and Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria a focus on both natural ability and the study and practice necessary for the perfect courtier and perfect orator, respectively. Both works include arguments for inherent talent while at the same time admitting that art is necessary as well. Both describe the great effort required for making one’s performance appear effortless, stressing this art of concealing art. To be sure, both Castiglione and Quintilian are entering the debate in rhetorical theory about whether eloquence is derived from art or nature. This issue was addressed by Cicero in his De oratore in which Crassus says that natural ability is key to eloquence but can be polished through art, yet those without some of this natural ability can never learn.29 This is likely the source of similar statements in Castiglione’s and Quintilian’s works. Nevertheless, Cicero’s work places greater emphasis on nature than art, as Crassus later says: “But the essential nature of all these rules, as I understand it, is not that orators, by following them, have won a reputation for eloquence, but that certain people have observed and collected the practices that eloquent men followed of their own accord. Thus, eloquence is not the offspring of art, but art of eloquence.”30 While Cicero is not opposed to the orator learning rules, practicing oratory, and imitating teachers, he stresses the inherent ability of the ideal orator.31 Unlike Quintilian, who writes that nature and
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art must work together to achieve perfection, Cicero’s speaker Antonius declares that “what makes men invincible is a mind that is keen and vigorous, as well as discriminating and resourceful—without the addition of any art.”32 Unlike the Cortegiano and Institutio oratoria, De oratore includes no mention of affectation or hiding art. Thus it seems that Castiglione is following Quintilian’s lead in complicating the relationship of nature and art, as opposed to taking on the simpler view of Cicero. The disparity between reality and appearances in Castiglione’s and Quintilian’s works is best understood in view of the social circumstances surrounding the works. Rebhorn, in an essay comparing Castiglione’s work to De oratore and to Book 11, chapter 3, of the Institutio oratoria, speaks of the “rhetoric of the courtly body” created in Castiglione’s dialogue; that is, a set of meanings inferred from the courtier’s body.33 Rebhorn points out the numerous references to gender and class in the description of the body in Castiglione’s dialogue. According to the speakers in the Cortegiano, the courtier’s body must be virile, not soft like a woman’s or with clothing too similar to a woman’s, and in all ways different from the bodies of peasants and buffoons.34 Castiglione’s speakers warn against straying from gravity and masculinity. Quintilian has the same concerns, wishing the orator to be virile as opposed to effeminate, with an “urbane, not rustic” voice, and to not resemble an actor, clown, or dancer.35 And in Cicero’s section on delivery, which deals with gesture, voice, face, and eyes, Crassus says of gesture, “For this, one needs the vigorous and manly attitude of the body derived not from stage actors, but from those who fight with weapons in the palaestra.”36 Rebhorn’s point here is that the ancient rhetorical tradition, particularly these works of Quintilian and Cicero, are the source for Castiglione’s notion of the male body. Rebhorn connects the opposition of virility with femininity in the Institutio oratoria to Quintilian’s own warning not to “lose the authority of the good and dignified man” or vir bonus.37 This term comes of course from Cato’s definition of an orator as a “good man skilled in speaking,” which Quintilian takes as the basis for his ideal orator, highlighting his moral character and membership in the upper class.38 The critic Erik Gunderson explores this issue more fully. He describes the vir bonus as a man in his “full, dominant social capacity, and one who has proven himself valuable within his society.”39 The chapter on delivery in the Institutio oratoria explores the meanings of the body and its movements and how the body demonstrates whether or not the speaker is a vir bonus. Quintilian gives the reader warnings of how not to appear and places more stress on the orator’s potential errors rather than prescriptive rules. As
Gunderson explains, Quintilian’s thorough description of each body part only makes the student more aware of the depth of his audience’s scrutiny and the difficulty of his own performance. The student must learn to analyze each part the way his audience would, and correct any errors: “More nature (natura), that is, requires more labor (cura).”40 The fear reflected in Quintilian’s text is a departure from Cicero’s De oratore. While Cicero stresses the importance of a virile body, he does not collect such specific precepts for bodily comportment. As Gunderson shows, in Book 11, chapter 3 of Quintilian’s work we can see an obsession with the way the body and comportment reflect the orator’s masculinity and class, and indeed, his value to his society. This concern is also present throughout the Cortegiano. For example, Ottaviano Fregoso tells the others in Book 4 that in his opinion many of the talents so far recommended for the ideal courtier (such as dancing, merrymaking, singing, and playing) were frivolities and vanities and, in a man of any rank, deserving of blame rather than of praise; for these elegances of dress, devices, mottoes, and other such things as pertain to women and love (although many will think it contrary), often serve merely to make spirits effeminate, to corrupt youth, and to lead it to a dissolute life; whence it comes about that the Italian name is reduced to opprobrium, and there are but few who dare, I will not 41 say to die, but even to risk any danger.
Ottaviano associates these courtly activities and manner of dress with effeminacy and ineffectiveness and even Italy’s military failures. He continues on to say, however, that these activities are good in that they serve a positive end: the courtier’s final goal of winning the favor of the prince in order to become his advisor and lead him to moral virtue.42 According to Ottaviano, such pleasantries at court, while despicable, are at the same time tools used to gain political influence and power, and thus legitimacy. The insistence on displaying one’s masculinity and class in both the Cortegiano and the Institutio oratoria reveals a certain social anxiety due to the political circumstances of the times. For Castiglione’s ideal courtier, it is of course the political and social realities of life at court that necessitate the maneuvering and flexibility advocated by the speakers in the dialogue. As Federico Fregoso tells his peers in Book 2, “I would have the Courtier devote all his thought and strength of spirit to loving and almost adoring the prince he serves above all else, devoting his every desire and habit and manner to pleasing him.”43 It is on the prince’s favor that the courtier’s livelihood depends, and this directly influences the
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behavior advocated in Castiglione’s work. 44 Critic David Quint also points out the role of the court lady in “carrying out the court’s cultural and political project” by tempering the aggressiveness of the courtier.45 While we are told from the beginning of the Cortegiano that the courtier’s profession is arms, according to Quint in effect, the entire Book of the Courtier moves the courtier away from the battlefield and military life that is supposedly his first profession and into a polite realm where he had better hang up his armor and fighting ways at the door or risk the ridicule that befalls the boorish soldier in Ludovico’s anecdote. The court and its etiquette become an instrument by which the prince can pacify, keep an eye on, and control his warlike noble subjects.46
For Quintilian’s orator there is a similar lack of power. Quintilian lived not in the Roman Republic, but the Empire. His own appointment to a chair in rhetoric, in fact, was due to the favor of Vespasian, and Quintilian was criticized as being a flatterer of the emperor.47 His ideal orator would be preparing for a role in the legal courts, not as the senator or other powerful political figure of Cicero’s De oratore.48 Due to the political circumstances, his station and importance are less certain. It is my assertion, then, that the complexity of the relationship between nature and art, affectation and sprezzatura in the Cortegiano and the Institutio oratoria springs in part from anxious masculinity on the part of the authors. I use the term as Mark Breitenberg defines it in his Anxious masculinity in early modern England, a book which according to Breitenberg “pursues the confrontation between the ‘natural’ superiority of men and the profound costs of maintaining that superiority.”49 He writes that in a society in which some members are highly privileged over others, “it follows that those individuals whose identities are formed by the assumption of their own privilege must also have incorporated varying degrees of anxiety about the preservation or potential loss of that privilege.”50 We can see this anxiety in both Castiglione’s and Quintilian’s pieces in their instructions for the ideal courtier and ideal orator. Both want to distance the elite male from the illegitimate, the feminine, and the lower class, and to avoid the loss of power and gravity. Both lived in societies where the favor of one ruler governed one’s social position: Castiglione’s livelihood was based on his service to the court of Urbino, while Quintilian’s fame was based on his links to and perhaps flattery of the emperor. Both authors, in their discussion of the body, dress, and comportment, reflect the anxiety of losing their position and the fear that serving a ruler signifies femininity and illegitimacy.
Hence the confusion in Castiglione about the how much of the courtier’s grazia is natural and how much can be learned. The dialogue comes to no conclusion about what makes a courtier a courtier: natural grazia and nobility or the effort put into learning prince-pleasing activities. The speakers of the Cortegiano believe that their bodies can reflect their character and thus substantiate their claim to their superior station. They therefore wish to promote the myth that this grazia is inherent to them, though they seem to know this is not necessarily the case. The same is true in the Institutio. For Quintilian, art, and the hiding of art, help the orator retain the appearance of natural masculinity and the associated social legitimacy. Quintilian wants to believe in the natural virility and legitimacy of his orator, while at the same time he fears slips into illegitimacy. Thus he advocates an art to enhance the so-called “natural” qualities he wants to highlight. Castiglione is influenced by Quintilian, but also elaborates on this relationship between art and nature. In the Cortegiano, sprezzatura provides an excuse for the courtly activities that Ottaviano condemns as feminine and silly but which are necessary to earn and retain the favor of the prince and the court at large. For if the courtier is able to appear naturally able in whatever activity he chooses—because he can study it and then appear not to have done so—there is no way to tell what his natural characteristics truly are. He must curb his aggression at court and participate in games, music, dancing, and literary activities, but he can always believe—and claim—that any frivolous or submissive activities are only an act. He fears he may lose his sense of authority and the right to his social position by taking part in these acts, but by participating in the dissimulation prevalent at court, of which all of his peers are aware, he may reserve his sense of natural masculinity, legitimacy, and authority.
CHAPTER THREE MOTHER’S MILK AND DEBORAH’S SWORD: THE ANATOMY OF JOAN OF ARC IN HENRY VI KATHRYN FALZARENO We are women of a breed whose racial ideal was no Helen of Troy, passed passively from male hand to male hand, as men pass gold or lead; but that Brynhild whom Segurd found, clad in helm and byrne, the warrior maid, who gave him counsel “the deepest that ever yet was given to living man,” and “wrought on him to the performing of great deeds;” . . . We are of a race of women that of old knew no fear, and feared no death, and lived great lives and hoped great hopes; and if to-day some of us have fallen on evil and degenerate times, there moves in us yet the throb of the old blood. —Olive Schreiner, Woman and Labour (1911)
More than five centuries after her death, the fame of Joan of Arc continues to be linked more to her gender than to her accomplishments. Whether she is viewed as a brilliant general or a gifted charlatan, a troubled young girl or a woman visited by angels, a national savior or a traitor to her sex, Joan persists in defying categorization. Her story is too complex and her legend too extensive. A historical figure with a mythic reputation in her own time, Joan of Arc’s political importance began in 1429 with her arrival at the court of Charles VII at Chinon. Her literary legend began not long after, with Christine de Pizan’s poem of praise, the Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc; since then, Joan’s importance has diminished neither in history nor in literature.1 In 1 Henry VI William Shakespeare has created a Joan no less complex than the historical woman. Rather than a factual representation of the fifteenth-century Joan of Arc, this character is a figure through which Shakespeare questions the role of the feminine, using the lens of anatomy and physical difference. For Shakespeare this crucial distinction between male and female was located very specifically in the female breast. Early modern medicine, asserting the anatomical proximity of the sexes, had “scientifically proven” that female reproductive organs were merely an inverse parallel of the male sexual apparatus, where the vagina was simply the inversion of the penis. Having effectively made the sexes analogous below the waist, the inarguable site
of scientific gendered difference became the female breast. In a play wherein Joan’s femininity is an almost overriding component in her characterization, the breast becomes the lexical touchstone for her sexual difference from the male characters. Historically, the female breast is an iconic image that represents both chastity and agricultural bounty. These two ideas seem to be diametrically opposed—virginity versus generation—but both appear in the iconographic representations of the breast. The breast is somehow able to contain within itself the incongruity between the ideas of incorruptibility and creation. The difficulty of categorizing Joan is comparable to categorizing the breast. Joan is both the virginal saint of the French and the promiscuous devil of the English; while the two roles seemingly negate one another, in fact the mythology of Joan is large enough to encompass both. Shakespeare’s 1 Henry VI is rife with gendered epithets attempting to label Joan, praising or denouncing her, not because of her politics or her religion, but because of her femininity. Nancy Gutierrez sees this labeling as an endeavor to demonstrate “the patriarchy’s need to defuse and neutralize any female threat by transforming it into a reinforcement of the male prerogative.”2 Although no character draws specific attention to Joan’s physical breast, each word chosen to describe her is highly gendered, thereby evoking synecdoche as a lexical connection between flesh and feminine character. Both the French and the English try to classify Joan; this attempt, however, merely accentuates the conflation of her political role and her physical body. In the eyes of the French, Joan is a saint and a mother, a nurturer who restores her country’s honor and dignity, rousting the invading English from French shores. In Act One alone, the French call her a “holy maid,” “France’s saint,” a “glorious prophetess,” and a figuration of the Hebrew heroine Deborah. The English, however, distrust her disregard for the social constructions of gender; she is dangerous, transgressive, and threatening. Act One finds Joan being called an “Amazon,” a “witch,” and a “high-minded strumpet.” Within these first few scenes Shakespeare concentrates the complexity of Joan of Arc in one anatomical location and presents the problem of her taxonomy: she is both pagan Amazon and godly warrior, shameless strumpet and blushing virgin, profane witch and holy prophetess. Shakespeare insists that his audience recognize Joan as a decidedly feminine figure even as he emphasizes the difficulties posed by this very femininity. It is the recognition of Joan’s troubling dichotomies that allows the male characters within the play to inscribe their sexual desires and fears
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upon her. The names she is called, and their references to her breast, are indications of her treatment by the male characters of the play as definitively “other”; the naming patterns separate her from her martial actions and political importance and relegate her to the status of “simply” female. She is the text, not the agent. Gutierrez insists that in spite of Joan’s influence, she lacks the “power to impose her self-fashioned identity . . . for the masculine mindset of her allies and of her enemies refuses to grant her the freedom of such” self-direction.3 Hence, as men refer to Joan and her unusual status, they attempt to place her in a proper feminine sphere by referring to her breast in order to keep her in some sort of recognizable social category. In the breast, Kathryn Schwarz says, “social constructions of the feminine and physical qualities of the female become precisely coextensive . . . the breast is . . . a metonym for the feminine, a text that proves the equation between sex and gender, body and act.”4 Joan is outside of the acceptable realm of feminine action and thus requires careful consideration from the male characters in the play. The difficulty of controlling Joan’s agency becomes more pronounced, and it becomes crucial to the continuation of male power that she is recognized as only a woman and returned to the sphere of the feminine. Joan never pretends to be masculine, as appears even in her chosen name. She calls herself “La Pucelle,” which the French define as “virgin” in the sense of nubility and ripeness, implying an incipient loss of virginity. Even Joan’s chastity is highly eroticized, as her sexuality is imminently emergent. This liminal, unstable nature appears in her preferred form of address: she is “La Pucelle”—never “La Vierge,” a word which pays homage to the Virgin Mary and indicates a chastity that is adopted for religious purposes. Rather than rejecting her sexuality by aligning herself with a line of chaste holy women, Joan chooses to be called by the name that contains within it a sense that virginity is a transitional phase but not a permanent choice.5 She is not beyond the question of sex, her moniker claims; she is simply outside of sex for now. “La Pucelle” seems an ideal name for Joan, one that is imperfectly defined, just as is her place in society. Translation only complicates the issue, as the French “Pucelle” is a false cognate for unflattering English slang. In the Elizabethan vernacular, pussel or puzzel means whore, and pizzle means penis. Diverse puns abound at Joan’s expense, centering on her sexuality and questioned chastity. Sometimes even critics cannot seem to help themselves, Edward Burns quipping, “The woman in man’s clothing wielding a sword is a pucelle with a pizzle, and therefore a puzzle.”6 Thus Joan is a “Puzel” to the English.7 Tellingly, even the name that Joan chooses for herself is deliberately appropriated and re-defined
according to the needs of the surrounding patriarchy; her name is not her own. The French also define Joan to befit their purposes. Even as they widely proclaim her virginity and her godliness, the courtiers of the Dauphin read into Joan’s words a sexualized subtext. Since the word “Pucelle” carries with it such a sense of eroticized chastity, it is unsurprising that Joan’s avowed virginity is such a source of amusement to the sophisticated court. The language Shakespeare places in the mouths of his characters sets up a convention of double entendres regarding Joan of Arc. While her words can always be read as sincere and holy, there is also a continuing undertone of innuendo that calls into question her worth and her chastity. For example, Shakespeare’s account of the first meeting between Joan and the Dauphin Charles only serves to underline this troubling lexical imprecision. She challenges her prince to a trial by combat to prove her divinely-sent strength. If she wins, he must accept that she is sent by God to liberate France. Before beginning, Joan warns Charles that “I exceed my sex . . . If thou receive me for thy warlike mate” (I.ii.90, 92). Depending on Joan’s meaning of “mate,” she could be offering herself as an ally, an adversary, or a marriage partner. Charles seems free to make up his own mind as to her nebulous meaning. She further challenges his protest that he fears no woman by responding, “While I live, I’ll ne’er fly from a man” (I.11.103). This simple sentence can mean merely that Joan refuses to evade a fight, but it also carries within it the suggestion that the young woman would not run from an amorous pursuer. Charles, defeated in combat, praises her ability and offers to be her servant, the act of a lovestruck young man. Apparently the Dauphin has chosen to see Joan’s lines about pursuit as an invitation and reads the word “Pucelle” as a promise of future sexuality, perhaps one turned to his own benefit. Implicit stage directions during this scene compound the difficulty of interpretation, as an overpowered Charles asks her to “look gracious on thy prostrate thrall” (I.ii.117). In defeating him in arms, Joan has apparently knocked Charles to the ground. If while he delivers this line she is sitting or standing astride him, the sexual innuendo of his flattery and her status as his “warlike mate” takes on further meaning. Her dominance—both martial and sexual—is undeniable. The rest of the scene heightens the sexual subtext between Joan and Charles as two French courtiers chat about how long the Dauphin is lingering in his interview with the young woman. They wonder if he “shrives this woman to her smock” (I.ii.119), whose context can be interpreted as an act of the sacred (penance for sin) or the profane (stripping undergarments for sexual play). This multiplicity of readings
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cannot help but color the attitude of audience or reader towards later scenes of Joan, especially the charges brought against her during the trial in Act Five. In 1 Henry VI, the implicit condemnation of a woman with influence and power is license for mockery, especially highly gendered mockery. As the play progresses, Joan becomes associated with many feminine myths, each portraying a different facet of female power. One of these subsets of women, the Amazon, has found a way to live outside the sexual confines of patriarchal society. Upon her arrival at the French court, Joan almost immediately becomes linked with these mythical female warriors, as Charles cries, “Thou art an Amazon / And fightest with the sword of Deborah” (I.ii.104-105). These fearsome women have removed one breast to facilitate greater accuracy with a bow. This voluntary mastectomy makes each Amazon threatening in two ways: it makes female archers more proficient in challenging men on the battlefield as well as deliberately un-sexes the female body by removing a visible physical sign of femininity. Thomas Heywood’s 1624 Historie of Women explains that one of their brests they reserue safe and vntouched, with which they giue sucke to their infants; the right brest they burne off, that with the more facilitie they may draw a Bowe, thrill a Dart, or charge a Launce.8
Amazons are women willing to sacrifice outward signs of feminine sexuality to succeed in the typically masculine sphere of battle. Schwarz asserts that “the question of why monomasty should be the hallmark of the genuine Amazon—rather than, for example, weaponry or sexual selfsufficiency or violence against men . . . returns to the larger question of what is at stake in the image of the absent breast.”9 The removal of the breast not only provides a military threat to male enemies but also compounds the sexual problem of self-sufficient women. Tradition associates Aristotle with the pronouncement that Amazons “have the right brest of a man; and the left of a woman, wherewith they nourish their children.”10 The Amazon is still a woman, able to suckle a child and provide motherly comfort, but she has the right breast “of a man.” She has encroached on his professional military sphere, and now she is attempting to conquer his physical sphere. The Amazon has usurped male anatomy, both by sporting a battle scar, which replaces a breast, and by adopting phallic weapons. Joan is both a warrior woman “who helps her countrymen in battle and an unspecified Amazon who may embody threats to men—in fact, a representative of the full complexity of late Elizabethan perception of the strong woman,” in the words of Gabriele Bernhard Jackson.11 Shakespeare
chooses to address Joan’s “full complexity” through her feminine identity, an emphasis that his source texts—the Chronicles of Edward Hall (1548) and Raphael Holinshed (1587)—do not address in detail: Holinshed only hints at her sexuality in relation to the Dauphin but has no doubt that she fakes her pregnancy, and Hall mentions her strict chastity. Joan’s sexual nature is not a focal point for either of their historical tales; the emphasis on Joan’s feminine identity and her physical body is an invention of Shakespeare alone. Joan’s femininity is seemingly at odds with her confidence and aggression. While the “conventionally phallic sword problematizes the sexual referentiality of that weapon, the question of breasts threatens to dismantle referentiality altogether,” says Schwarz.12 The sexual implications of someone with both a sword and breasts are extremely puzzling to Shakespeare’s French court. Charles the Dauphin is bewildered by her combination of womanly virtue and strength of arms and attempts to qualify his understanding of her by combining his assertion that she is an Amazon with the notion that she “fightest with the sword of Deborah” (I.ii.105). When the Dauphin associates Joan’s strength at arms with a Biblical precedent, her legend and her mystery deepen. If the French style Joan as Deborah, her sensational reputation encourages the people to see their country as a land destined for freedom and its people as ordained by God to drive out the English occupation. Because of the religious directive behind Joan’s quest to free France, it seems natural for her to be compared to Biblical heroines, most particularly Deborah, who is the ultimate Biblical warrior maiden.13 In Judges 4 and 5 of the Bible, Deborah leads troops into battle to take their freedom from Sisera, captain of the occupying troops in Canaan. While Deborah is not the only heroine in the Bible, she is one of the only ones to take up arms against an enemy and ride into battle. Because she actively seeks to drive usurpers out of the land of God’s chosen people, she is a natural choice for the French to liken to Joan, who was leading the charge to push the English conquerors from France. One of the most intriguing points of comparison between Joan and Biblical heroines such as Deborah was the ability—and inability—to successfully bear arms. While an Amazon deliberately hones her military might, a Biblical heroine is a weak woman who is divinely inspired to physical strength. It is the marriage of Joan’s “natural” feminine weakness with her heaven-sent martial strength that makes her such a powerful figure. Deborah Fraioli sees this physical weakness as something “valorized by the association with the Biblical motif of the weak overcoming the strong . . . one important distinction [is] that it [allows
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Joan’s] femininity to remain intact.”14 Divine instruments such as these heroines are merely conduits for God’s force; they are in no way trained warriors. This distinction makes these heroines significantly less threatening to the patriarchy than Amazons who deliberately train to equal men in battle. Joan is no over-excited virago attempting to overthrow all masculine power; she is merely a woman trying to save her country from annexation and uses the inspiration of heaven to do so. Robin Blaetz agrees, insisting that “in the moral battle, Joan resembles the weak, unsexed Christian maiden whose righteousness is rewarded with victory.”15 The physical sign of her continuing feminine weakness is the soft, yielding flesh of her woman’s breast. Even though Joan shows great martial ability, it is presumed that her prowess is heaven-sent; this explanation is socially preferable to the idea that a woman may be naturally capable of besting a man in physical combat. Joan manages to sidestep this patriarchal aversion by insisting that her strength is indeed divinely inspired. “Christ’s mother helps me, or I were too weak” (I.ii.106), she insists when besting her Dauphin in a combat trial. Joan is only able to act as a warrior because of the divine guidance given to her by the Virgin Mary. Like Mary, she brings the promise of salvation and peace through her purity and goodness, and, like Mary, she is both virgin and mother, providing spiritual sustenance to her homeland without besmirching her chastity. Charles even goes so far as to say that if Joan continues to be as successful as she is in the first taking of Orleans, “No longer on Saint Denis will we cry, / But Joande Puzel shall be France’s saint” (I.v.67-68). A successful Joan—if proven to be France’s own Biblical heroine—has the opportunity to replace the first bishop of Paris as patron saint of her country. No other French woman has the opportunity to come as close to gaining the status of the beloved Virgin Mary, the only woman to remain chaste and unsullied while still acting as a mother and giving suck to the savior of mankind from her unblemished breast. With Joan, the French have their own inviolate virgin, a heady combination of martial ability and chaste innocence. Joan also acts as a prophetess, given impossible knowledge by the grace of God. First described even to the English as “a holy prophetess, new risen up” (I.iv.101), she is assured to be a truly divine figure to Charles the Dauphin, who is guaranteed that “the spirit of deep prophecy she hath, / What’s past and what’s to come she can descry” (I.ii.55, 57). Unfortunately for Joan, her ability to tell the future is yet one more aptitude that is outside the normal feminine purview.16 While there is a great tradition of medieval woman-prophets, there is no permanent place in the patriarchal structure for an ecstatic female connection to the divine.
An “unruly woman, the female visionary was a subversive figure of protest, whose absolute allegiance to her visions widened options for all women . . . however, the visionary woman also reconfirmed the hysteria of what was thought to be the womb-ruled sex.”17 Prophesy is neither rational nor controllable, and in the fifteenth century there was a great deal of fear about that sort of unleashed power being in the hands of the less-powerful sex. Very often, unless they were surrounded by male followers, who could ostensibly keep them in check, holy women and those able to prophesy were highly threatening to the ruling masculine system. There arose a conflation of the visionary and the witch, since none could locate the origin of these supernatural visions. Women who might once have been revered as holy women were suddenly feared as witches. In 1 Henry VI the English are particularly quick to accuse Joan of witchcraft, crediting all her martial victories to some unholy power that she wields. She is a “damned sorceress,” “Hecate,” “Circe,” a “giglot wench,” an “enchantress,” and a “fell banning hag,” all of which appear in the first few scenes. When she attacks Orleans, the English blame their loss on “art and baleful sorcery” (II.i.13), as the French have apparently been able to “join with witches and the help of hell” (II.i.18). Most notably, the Englishman Talbot encounters Joan as he exits Orleans defeated and immediately launches into invective. First, all he sees is a woman in armor, but he presumes that she must be a witch. He seems to draw the conclusion that the only woman who could successfully rout him must be aided by devils: “Devil, or devil’s dam, I’ll conjure thee. / Blood will I draw on thee—thou art a witch— / And straightway give thy soul to him thou serv’st” (I.v.5-7). He threatens to draw her blood, an operation that is supposed to decrease a witch’s power, but he never gets inside Joan’s guard. The other Englishmen agree with his naming of Joan as a witch, calling her the “foul fiend of France and hag of all despite, / Encompassed with thy lustful paramours” (III.ii.51-2), and accusing her of “convers[ing]” with her spirits (II.i.25), a word that means to speak, but also to engage in sexual intercourse. A witch’s power was thought to be drawn from sexual favors awarded to the devil, so the very strength of a witch is linked irrevocably to her promiscuity. While the French believe that Joan’s chastity is complete, due to her divine mission from God, the English are convinced of her unmaidenly licentiousness. These accusations of sexual dissolution and the practice of witchcraft identify Joan as the enemy of England and an unnatural kind of woman. Furthermore, these insults further serve to draw continued attention to her female breast. Witches, while suspected for many reasons, were often convicted on the strength of a visible mole,
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thought to be a third nipple by which the witch’s familiar (a demonic manifestation) might feed. The English see Joan as either a demon herself or a demonically-possessed danger to society at large, and even these accusations of unsavory spiritual activity are linked to Joan’s troubling sexuality. Her condemnation as a witch accentuates the inherent threat of femininity to the patriarchy in this narrative. Witchcraft, with its pagan, matriarchal history, appears as a wellspring of what Hwa-seon Kim calls “female force, female power, and female action,”18 destructive to both the social mores of the time and the dominance of the Church. Historically it has not been unusual for rebellious women to be accused of witchcraft, as “social disorder and instability” are the fault of women possessing “unauthorized power.”19 In fact, this accusation has been a highly effective way of containing the transgressors within patriarchal gender relations. The patriarchy projects its exaggerated insecurities upon these women, and the brutal punishment of outspoken femininity has its intended ideological effects: silence and weakness.20 When Shakespeare’s Joan is condemned as a witch, the condemnation of sorcery negates her possible religious importance to the Church and leaves her within the control of the exclusively male power-structure that rules the material world. Joan’s trial for witchcraft shows her desperately presenting every trick she can devise to prove her innocence, calling upon her reputation for chastity and divine purpose: Virtuous and holy, chosen from above By inspiration of celestial grace To work exceeding miracles on earth. A virgin from her tender infancy, Chaste and immaculate in very thought, Whose maiden-blood, thus rigorously effused, Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven. (V.iii.47-53)
The last four lines insist upon her chastity, as if her unspotted sexuality will prove her moral superiority. She even threatens those who indict her with a posthumous accusation of her innocence, claiming that her maiden blood will cry out in her defense, much as happens with Abel’s murder in Genesis 4:10. Her English captors are unimpressed by her defense, however, and continue to discuss her execution. Embodying chastity as the Pucelle has not saved her from judgment, and so she changes tactics, suddenly confessing to pregnancy and “pleading the belly”:
Chapter Three Then, Joan, discover thine infirmity, That warranteth by law to be thy privilege. I am with child, ye bloody homicides: Murder not then the fruit within my womb. (V.iii.60-63)
The English prosecutors exclaim in amazement, “‘The holy maid with child?’ / ‘The greatest miracle that e’er [she] wrought’” (V.iii.65-66). Regardless of Joan’s admission of pregnancy, the court is inflexible. The Englishmen refuse to let a son of the Dauphin live, so Joan confesses to d’Alençon and Reignier in turn, but the court refuses to believe her claim of pregnancy, in spite of legal precedent for pleas of “the belly,” a common legal way for woman to postpone execution until after birth. Joan’s immediate abandonment of her chastity as a defense and her espousal of a sudden pregnancy could be seen as proof of her sexual promiscuity, especially among the unforgiving English soldiery. David Bevington observes in Joan’s claim of pregnancy an unsuccessful parody of Mary’s Virgin Birth, an echo of her identification with the holy mother.21 Perhaps, however, her immediate willingness to go from insisting on her virginity to playing the whore represents a desperate attempt to remain alive, even if she must perjure herself. Joan cannot belong to a typically feminine sphere, and she cannot belong to a masculine realm of experience. She has been stripped of her mission, her martial ability, her royal favor, her intimidating reputation, and her confidence. Ultimately, Joan is abandoned, deserted by her allies, her countrymen, and seemingly even by her blessed Virgin Mary. Joan is utterly defenseless as she is convicted of witchcraft and taken offstage to be burned. Psychically defeated by her captors and her abandonment, Joan herself seems to finally agree with the link between sex and deviant spirituality. Although she insists in her trial that I never had to do with wicked spirits; But . . . you judge it straight a thing impossible To compass wonders but by help of devils (V.iii.42, 47-48)
her interaction onstage with “fiends” counteracts her assertions. In Act V scene ii, she offers blood, sacrifice, and dismemberment if only unholy spirits will save her and give military victory to France. She claims that “my body shall / Pay recompense” (39-40), and offers them to “take my soul—my body, soul, and all” (43), but the fiends refuse. Interestingly, she
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offers a corporeal sacrifice that only highlights her ambiguous sexual nature. When she entreats Where I was wont to feed you with my blood, I’ll lop a member off and give it you . . . So you do condescend to help me now (V.ii.35-38)
the audience cannot help but question what “member” Joan is likely to offer to the fiends. Given her debatable sexuality, she might propose either of two appendages: one decidedly male, one decidedly female. As a soldier, she could offer up a disposable or metaphorical phallus (akin to her sword, the symbol of her authority). As a female figure, however, she might figurate the member as a breast, indicating not only the further dissection of her womanhood but also referencing the ability to spiritually “feed” her followers. If Joan has truly come to peace with the entirety of her conflicting personae, perhaps Shakespeare means to indicate that Joan, like her iconographic breast, is able to contain both ideas within herself. She is able to offer both her masculine and her feminine selves to demonic powers in a desperate attempt to remain a player in the power struggle between England and France. Regardless of the anatomy offered to the spirits, each option is a representation of sexualized anatomy: Joan is willing to dismember her body, but the audience is left unsure as to which body—the metaphorical male or the physical female—she refers. Joan’s entreaty, however, is futile, and she gives up on the devils, bemoaning, “My incantations are too weak, / And hell too strong for me to buckle with” (V.ii.48-9). While what occurred in history and what is captured in literature are significantly different (the historical Joan was never officially accused of witchcraft in Rouen), in both cases the condemnation against Joan is gendered; she has transgressed masculine power boundaries and must be reprimanded. Even if Joan were to entirely conform to feminine constrictions, she has come too far to successfully re-adopt the mantle of a simple woman. She has become defined through reference to a sexual identity that she herself has problematized. Sexuality and sanctity are irrevocably intertwined in the lives of medieval religious figures and the early modern plays which feature them. Vows of chastity, mystical marriage with God, martyrdom in sexually suggestive contexts, and transvestism do not simply remove holy men and women from sexuality but continue to define them through reference to sexual identities that they have reshaped and redirected.22 Joan is now trapped in her very refusal to adopt traditional gendered roles.
One of the points on which Joan was convicted historically was her refusal to wear women’s clothing. Steadfastly keeping to her masculine attire, she was told that she could avoid execution and spend her life in prison if she took on feminine garments again. She retained masculine garb and was convicted of idolatry by cross-dressing. Her assumption of male attire made her a sort of self-fashioning man, contrary to the Church’s doctrine on what was natural. Obviously, placing Joan back into her “proper” feminine clothes was important to the inquisitors. Other women, however—even early Church saints—had adopted masculine dress, some even passing as men for years.23 In spite of this transvestite precedence, however, Joan’s adoption of manly attire was somehow different, more threatening. Susan Crane suggests that it is this very refusal to “pass” as masculine that so undid Joan. Her “body is the more visible and shameful for its imperfect containment in crossdress. She occupies neither position in the gender binary, but contaminates both by combining them.”24 Joan is transgressive, not because she dresses as a man, but because she continues to acknowledge her femininity while dressed as a man. Marina Warner explains: Joan was using male apparel to appear sexless, rather than male, to appear not-female, rather than female. She was not in disguise—everybody knew she was Joan la Pucelle, the magic virgin. Female in body, but not in spirit—her dress signified her abjuration of the weakness of femininity, 25 both physical and spiritual.
The difficulty lies in the fact that Joan never pretends to be male. The men she encounters—her leaders, her soldiers, her enemies—are all aware of her sexual difference, the physical existence of her breast under her armor. The act of renouncing female dress actually draws further attention to the woman’s form she covers. It is this contrast of soft, vulnerable flesh protected by hard, inflexible metal that so entrances her supporters and confounds her enemies. The combined power of her inherent femininity— the innocence, the reverence—and the power of her adopted masculinity— the freedom, the responsibility—makes Joan a truly formidable figure, and the court must find a way to make her less than iconic, less than omnisexual, and again “merely” a woman. In Shakespeare’s other stories of transgressive women, shrews, roaring girls, and other deviants from sexual and societal norms, a happy ending occurs when the woman is corrected and brought back into the realm of acceptable behaviors. Katherina is a shrew tamed, Beatrice is a scold happily wed, Viola is a transvestite re-feminized, Jessica is a Jewess converted, and Rosalind is an impersonator unmasked. These formidable
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women are physically or psychologically defeated by the husband-figure and brought back into their proper feminine spheres. If female characters cannot be contained, they must be punished, as in the deaths of disrespectful Regan and Goneril, disobedient Juliet, masculine Lady Macbeth, adulterous Gertrude, and maligned Desdemona. Within this convention, Joan must be brought back into the feminine classification, so to speak, and subjected once more to the patriarchal will. Jackson explains that “the more free play Joan’s attractive force is permitted, the more completely she will have to be feminized at the end of the play.”26 Joan’s emotional collapse in Act Five effectively re-feminizes her. First, she attempts to regain her influence by calling on her “witch” power—a purely feminine sphere of authority. Furthermore, she pleads her purity and virginity, then in turn tries to “plead the belly,” capitalizing on the court’s view of her as a sexualized female. The ultimate powerlessness revealed in her proactive attempts to save herself definitively places her back into the reactive domain of the female. In both 1 Henry VI and in history, Joan is tried, committed, and executed, not as a political prisoner but as a woman. Even at Joan’s historical execution, there is a peculiar emphasis placed on her physical body. The May 1431 edition of The Parisian Journal describes the moments after her death as follows: She was at once unanimously condemned to death and was tied to a stake on the platform (which was built of plaster) and the fire lit under her. She was soon dead [of smoke inhalation] and her clothes all burned. Then the fire was raked back and her naked body shown to all the people and all the secrets that could or should belong to a woman, to take away any doubts from people’s minds. When they had stared long enough at her dead body bound to the stake, the executioner got a big fire going again round her poor carcass, which was soon burned up, both flesh and bone reduced to ashes.27
The gender confusion Joan encourages continues even after her death. Her naked body must be displayed to spectators in order to provide visual proof that she is, in fact, female and only female. This objectification of her body is a corporeal manifestation of the lexical emphasis found in Shakespeare. The characters in 1 Henry VI use names that refer to the feminine body to insist on Joan’s reversion to the female role, and the historical audience of her execution was given visual proof as to her femininity in order to reinforce her heresy and the necessity of her execution. Whether as an historical figure or a semi-fictional character, Joan causes such consternation among the populace that she must be proven, again and again, to be a woman—to be outside of the patriarchal power structure.
This emphasis on her womanhood over her political importance has continued to the present, even as recently as her canonization trial, concluded in 1920. In the records of this trial, as each side attempts to characterize the historical Joan (continuing the argument of whore versus saint), her character is once again represented by her physical person. In a 1901 trial, Promoter John Baptist Lugari denounces Joan’s worthiness for canonization, citing her immodesty and eroticized imprudence and explaining that Sometimes . . . she showed prudent and necessary caution, by sleeping in her clothes when in the field with soldiers. But . . . sometimes she acted otherwise. [The Promoter] brings up the duc d’Alençon’s testimony . . . about seeing her beautiful breasts. This was imprudent of her, and the fact that the duke did not have impure thoughts about her is attributable to the grace of God rather than to her precautions. The same is true of John d’Aulon, who could glimpse her nipples when helping her to arm.28
Even in the twentieth century, hundreds of years after her death, Joan’s character is still physicalized in her breast. Her prowess as a warrior is not questioned and neither is her spirituality. The Church wants to know if she had immodestly bared her breast, seeming to be more focused on her modesty and femininity than her other qualifications for canonization. Joan’s breast is much more than a secondary sex characteristic or a gender marker. Because the patriarchal power structure has insisted on establishing her importance within the location of her breast, this particular French breast stands as a signifier for her political worth, her martial prowess, her sexual identity, and, still, her spiritual merit. By the close of the play, Joan has become something much more than a woman. She has become a symbol: for wronged femininity, for cherished womanhood, for reviled treachery, and for the fear inherent in an oppressive patriarchal system. By the time she enters the courtroom, patriarchal society has insisted upon re-integrating her into the feminine sphere, and when she refuses to acquiesce quietly, she must be reassimilated through violence. The social hierarchy and a burgeoning peace between nations depend on the nullification of the Joan threat. Her combination of the internal dichotomies of whore and virgin, witch and mother, man and woman, are unresolved and therefore unacceptable. She transcends too many boundaries; she attempts too much power. The male characters realize this, and so does their playwright. Through the gendered vocabulary specific to Joan, Shakespeare guides the audience of 1 Henry VI to feminize her from the beginning of the play. The way she speaks and
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the way she is spoken to both indicate her femininity, even when she is pressing her “masculine” power. At the zenith of her power or in the depths of her despondency, Joan of Arc’s breast—that locus of physical difference, that lump of flesh—is the lens through which Shakespeare characterizes his fictional portrait of a problematic historical figure.
Part II The Mobile Referent and Constructions of Self and Nation
CHAPTER FOUR ECHO AND NARCISSUS: LABYRINTHS OF THE SELF IN EARLY MODERN MUSIC LJUBICA ILIC Self Perception and the Mirroring Image In 1935, Max Ernst created an unusual invitation for one of his exhibitions: the text of the invitation appears in the cracks of a photographic collage, representing Ernst’s face as if seen in a shattered mirror. The distorted self-imagery of Ernst’s auto-portrait reflects a recurrent problem of self-representation in Western art that reached its peak in twentieth-century Dadaism and Surrealism. The earliest examples of this kind of intricate self-portraiture originate in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Already in 1524, Parmigianino, in his self-portrait, revealed his fascination with the optics of the convex mirror and the distorting effect it creates. Even earlier, in 1508, Leonardo planned to build, among other inventions, a chamber of eight mirrors in which the mirroring object becomes visible from every side; when standing in the middle of it, the observer becomes overwhelmed with the number of possible viewpoints and with his or her own de-centered gaze. In The Order of Things Foucault shows the ever-changing logic of human perspective by explaining the behind-the-mirror gaze of the beholder in front of Velásquez’s Las Meninas.1 The painter himself and all the other protagonists on the painting seem to look at the mirror while the gaze of the spectator comes from somewhere behind it; there is nothing that could logically bridge the space that stands between the imaginary mirror and the potential witness of this scene. In Las Meninas, Velásquez puts the observer inside the mirror, into an unreal, infinite space that seems unusually familiar today because of its similarity to the voyeuristic perspective of the camera. Leonardo, Parmigianino, and Velásquez experiment with the possibilities of representation while exploring the physical laws that govern human perceptual experience. They explore the sense of the self in the surrounding world. Parmigianino’s mannerist fascination with the
elongated shape of his own hand, the disoriented perspective in Leonardo’s chamber of multiple mirrors, and the small unusual details in Velásquez’s court scenery (like the royal couple left out from the room but nevertheless represented in the small mirror at the center of the painting, as Foucault points out)—all communicate a desire for expressing a reality that is subverted not by imagining the unimaginable but by intensifying and multiplying the sensory effect of actual realistic representation. Like their late modern counterparts such as Ernst, they indulge in representations that are slightly convoluted and very often enigmatic. It is not only the visual arts that engage in such concerns, however. Seventeenth-century composers made extensive use of echoing, both to explore how the perception of space, and human place in it, influences music and also to pose problems related to early modern identity in ways that resemble the abundant imagery of the mirroring. Yet my introductory note did not arbitrarily begin with visual arts. As many agree by now, modernity is defined by the supremacy of human gaze. In Martin Jay’s words, modernity is an ocularcentric culture, a culture that values sight above all senses.2 This domination of visual perception, especially after the discovery of perspective, significantly influenced perceptions of space in both non-performing and performing arts. As my discussion unfolds, I will often negotiate between the two in order to explain how, despite phenomenological differences, an insight into their interactions facilitates the understanding of music.
Sound, Self, and Space The correspondences between visual and aural reflections in Western culture are at least as old as Ovid’s story of Narcissus and Echo. According to ancient mythology, the goddess Juno punished the nymph Echo for exaggerated talkativeness and condemned her to eternal mimicking of the speech of her collocutors. Narcissus, on the other hand, is in ancient sources conventionally presented as a beautiful and vain boy who dies of love for his own reflection. In the Metamorphoses, Ovid brings the two characters together, using Echo’s incapability to foretell Narcissus’s own unfortunate destiny. He unites the two characters in their sins of self-love—Narcissus’s negligence of others and Echo’s overindulgence in words. In Ovid’s version, Echo is one among the many enamored with Narcissus. When she has finally collected enough courage to address him, she is, due to Juno’s punishment, only capable of repeating Narcissus’s final words. Thus, Ovid uses Echo’s discursive weakness not only to
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emphasize Narcissus’s power, that is, the ineffability of his beauty, but also to foreshadow Narcissus’s final downfall: in a conversation with his potential lover, Narcissus’s words only bounce back at him in the same way his reflection will stare back from the brook once he falls in love with his own image. In other words, the relationship between Narcissus and Echo is metaphorically reciprocal to Narcissus’s inability to be infatuated with anyone but himself. As Narcissus’s Other, Echo is merely his aural reflection; she’s an aural metaphor for his visual self-infatuation. Their mutual fate is to lose their original appearances: rejected and ashamed, Echo hides in woods and caves, and as her love grows, she wastes away until she becomes only a voice, while Narcissus fades away from love with his own reflection, transforming himself into a flower. In the Metamorphoses Narcissus is a sad figure, the victim of an error in judgment, and caught in a moment of illusion. He does not consciously adore his own image and becomes aware only later in the story that he’s actually in love with himself. Although punished for being vain and refusing the love of all the nymphs (including Echo), he does not show any capacity for inner reflection.3 As Julia Kristeva remarks, “The object of Narcissus is psychic space; it is representation itself, fantasy. But he does not know it, and he dies. If he knew it he would be an intellectual, a creator of speculative fictions, an artist, writer, psychologist, psychoanalyst. He would be Plotinus or Freud.”4 After Ovid, however, the myth went through significant transformations and reinterpretations, offering differing lessons depending upon the cultural agenda of the particular narrator. In early modern culture, it took on a life of its own, inspired by, yet quite independent of, ancient sources. In Renaissance lyrical poems, for instance, it depicted unhappy love, while in emblematic and didactic poetry it became an allegory of vanity. Whatever the interpretation of the myth, however, Echo always ends up alone. Thus she, and the actual acoustic phenomenon named after her, seemed to offer the perfect metaphor for an early modern subjectivity that recognizes both the possibilities and the limitations of its own agency. Echoing became especially interesting to early modern composers who wanted to explore the potentials of musical representation. The echo appears in various forms and in nearly all early modern musical genres. It plays a prominent role in dramatic settings of madrigals and operas, it becomes incorporated as an extra feature in the spatial games of antiphonal choirs and in the registrar experiments of organ music, and it was used to explore relationships between sound and space in instrumental music composed for acoustically resonant chapels and cathedrals. In choral settings, and especially in madrigals, it functioned as an auditory
game; its mimetic nature offered a great deal to composers who wanted to play with possibilities of musical representation. For instance, Orlando di Lasso’s famous echo song, “Ola, o che bon echo!” revels in the simulation of resounding voices. The protagonists in the song recognize the resonance and then play with it just for fun; the brisk and jovial lyrics take part in this joke, and the entire piece delights in the simple effect of echoing. Within this framework, the effect of sound reflection was very often used to depict physical space—not only the resounding of mythical meadows where Echo and Narcissus supposedly met, or the spatial settings of other mythical, biblical, and historical stories, but also the actual physical space of the performing venue. The evocation of space, through the juxtaposition of multiple sources of sound and an emphasis on the material distance between them, is crucial for the effect of echoing. In performances like these, the players or singers who imitate the resounding voice respond from behind the scenes, or from the opposite side of the performing venue, and sonically simulate the acoustics of a pastoral landscape. The musical imitations of natural phenomena like echoing very often developed into complex aural illusions that significantly surpass realistic representation. In eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music, the metaphor of echoing loses its cultural prominence but never completely disappears from the repertoire. On the contrary, the imitation of spatiality in nineteenth-century symphonic music and, more significantly, in the dramatic effects on the opera stage are linked up with this tradition.5 However, the spatiality of nineteenth- and most of eighteenth-century music is of a different kind; it rarely utilizes the performing potentials of an off-stage “real” physical space. What mattered in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century canonical musical repertoire was the illusionary space “invented” by timbral combinations, harmonic progressions, and other means of musical rhetoric: the imaginary soundscape independent from “the real space” of the concert hall. Although up to a certain point responsive to the acoustics of the space of the performing venue, these effects basically create an imaginary space of their own, similar to representations on the theater stage or in painting. In other words, by the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries, the simulation of spatiality became incorporated and “framed” into musical works while its performance, in terms of visual perspective, became stage-centered. There are differences, accordingly, between the understandings of spatiality in premodern and modern musical performance.6 Premodern performance practice does not necessarily require recognition of the distinction between the space of a performer and that of an observer
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(listener); we can easily imagine the blurring of the spatial boundaries between performers and audience in the church and court spectacles. Modern music performance, however, is concerned with the stagecentered spectacle that is always strongly separated from the audience and constantly under the silent inspection of its gaze. In theatre theory, William Egginton defines the premodern notion of spectacle as presence and the modern as theatricality.7 According to Egginton, presence is evoked in any kind of ritual where the entire community participates in the performing process, “that experience of space that subtends such diverse experiences as the participation in a ritual invocation of the seasons, certain shamanistic cures, ‘voodoo death,’ and the miracle of transubstantiation,” while theatricality defines modern stage rituals divided between the space of observer (listener) and the space of character (performer). But this does not mean that one paradigm completely abolishes another. It merely indicates that one concept of space becomes more relevant for the certain groups of people and at a certain point in history. Indeed, while theatricality defines the core of modern musical performance, numerous modern performing practices evoke the experience of presence as Egginton defines it: for instance, the role of music and “musicking” in different sacred and secular rituals. The notions of presence and theatricality are crucial for my approach to musical conventions and performing practices. They evoke the understanding of the self that is at the center of my discussion on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century echo pieces—self as a phenomenon defined by its relationship to a culturally and historically specific experience of space.
Toward Modernity: Negotiating the Performing Space Once the stage space became autonomous, the emotions of imaginary characters with which the audience could choose to identify (or not) became the core of dramatic representation. Discussions between musicians and theoreticians toward the end of the sixteenth century embody the paradigm shift that ocurred to the discursive features of the modern musical canon. Among other things, an interest in classical Greek tragedy as a perfect artistic form, in which poetry holds superiority over music, resulted in the understanding that music should primarily underline the meaning of words. The sounds stood as representations of emotional expressions (or, more accurately, affects) that the audience could identify with or ignore, according to their opinions or tastes.
The popularity of music representation enhanced the early modern love of echo rhetoric. In The Garden of Eloquence Henry Peacham explains echoing as a specific form of repetition: “This exornation doth not only serve to the pleasantness of sound, but also to adde a certaine increase in the second member. Of some this figure is called the Rhetoricall Eccho, for that it carrieth the resemblance of a rebounded voice, or iterated sound.”8 In music of the time, the rhetoric of echo could express a wide range of emotions, from lamentation to rhetorical potency. Jacopo Peri created a famous echoing vocal performance to depict the lamenting of the mythical singer Arion in one of several spectacular intermedii at the famous Florentine wedding of Ferdinando de’ Medici and Christine of Lorraine in 1589. As the story goes, Arion was to be robbed and killed by his own ship crew while sailing home from Italy to Corinth. But conveying the story was obviously not Peri’s goal; he was more interested in depicting Arion’s—that is, his own—singing powers. He sets Arion’s boat song, Dunque fra torbide onde (Thus over troubled waters), as an “Ecco con due Risposte” in order to produce an auditory spectacle and to use the Medici’s wedding hall for a display of musical illusion. “Gentle Echo with your gentle accents, redouble my torments,” sings Arion. Peri uses a doubling effect to emphasize Arion’s sadness, repeating his sighs and the words that signify suffering and grief. The purpose of the echo is to magnify these affects and present them as an aural hallucination to which the Medici’s guests would succumb. The repetitiveness of expressive phrases emphasizes the singer’s rhetorical prowess and overwhelms the listener’s senses with the vertigo of multiplying auditory affects. It is not only the structure of power that reveals itself in this description of the spectacle of Florentine intermedii. More important for my discussion is the role of space in the performing act. For, while the space of the theatrical piece was stage-like, the space of musical intermezzi was unconfined.9 From one of the descriptions of the wedding of Francesco de’ Medici and Joanna of Austria in 1565, we learn that in an intermedio organized for that occasion the performers approach the stage from various sides and directions.10 The practical explanation for this manner of performing is that, in enjoying an interpolated music somewhat differently from that of the actual theatrical piece, the audience becomes occupied while the stage settings get changed. In other words, the designers ensured that the seductiveness of the spectacle—a symbolic display of Medici’s political and social power—would not be interrupted at any time. The Medician spectacle also speaks to the direct sensory effect of intermedii on those who witnessed them. The audience was a part
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of the performance; they wanted to feel as if Cupid actually materialized among them and as if Venus’s song descended from the real heavens to them. As witnesses to Arion’s song that I discussed above, they wanted to participate, not only in communicated emotions, but also in the singer’s actual desolation on the open sea. This power of perceptual illusion is what kept the intermedii as an important part of communal experience on Italian courts for so long, despite the rising popularity of the theatrical performances of opera. It would be easy to assume that the de-centered performances of intermedii maintain premodern conceptions of space: in these performances, as in medieval drama and visual art, there is more than one focus of the spectator’s gaze, and one’s visual attention is scattered in different directions. I believe, however, that precisely this negotiation between the off-stage and on-stage spaces (the experimentation with centered perspective and limits of the stage) reflects a new awareness of the difference between the two and defines the conscience of the modern audience. In other words, I define the dialectics of spatial closure and openness as a historical phenomenon that gains relevance exactly in the moment when the stage becomes separate space for the theatrical display of imaginary innerness, while the other space, the space of the audience, becomes deeply separated from what is represented in the scene. It is Jacopo Peri, the singer, who takes the character of Arion while performing. But as I have shown in my discussion, intermedii offered to the audience both contemplation/observation and participation; it is, in my opinion, a genre that simultaneously reflects two different concepts of space. The intermedii document a shift from a premodern to a modern sense of the self. After all, it is not a coincidence that discussions of this genre conclude historical surveys on Renaissance or Baroque music and describe it as a predecessor to opera—a “real” modern musical invention. The truth, however, is that intermedii stayed the favorite musical genre at the Italian courts well into the seventeenth century. While opera struggled, finally finding its refuge in liberal-minded and market-oriented Venice, intermedii flourished throughout the majority of Italian regions, and precisely, I believe, because of their specific understanding of the performing space.11
The Rhetoric of Echoing: Labyrinths of the Self I have shown how Arion’s echoing voice represents the power of a singer capable of performing so beautifully that he can save himself from certain death (in one version of the myth, the dolphins save Arion after
hearing his beautiful song). His embellished lamentation, however, seems rather simple in comparison to Claudio Monteverdi’s uses of echo in his Favola in musica Orfeo (1607). First, Monteverdi exploits the metaphor of echoing in Orfeo’s central aria, Possente spirito; in order to persuade the gods to return his beloved Euridice from the dead, Orfeo puts to work all his rhetorical skills, and Monteverdi magnifies the height of Orfeo’s rhetorical potency with exuberant instrumental echoes of his melismatic vocal melody. Both Peri and Monteverdi use the echo effect as the manifestation of the resounding auditory power of mythical musicians empowered with awe-inspiring performing skills. Monteverdi, however, goes further and presents the antithesis to this rhetorical abundance in the conclusion to his opera. As Orfeo laments after losing Euridice, the concluding syllables of each phrase are thrown back at him. Aggravated by Echo’s restrained responses, Orfeo sings, “Kind, loving Echo, you who are disconsolate, and wish to console me in my anguish . . . while I complain, alas, why do you answer me only with final accents?”12 Bitter, lost, and powerless, Orfeo becomes deprived of his expressive abilities; the short answers of Echo embody his rhetorical lack. Both Peri and Monteverdi use echo to describe the feeling of inner torment, but Monteverdi transforms the simple effect used in Peri’s Dunque fra torbide onde. In Possente spirito, the echo “translates” into composing principle: while the voice sings, the instruments (first bowed strings, then wind, and finally plucked strings) elaborate previously vocal musical thoughts. However, while we know that Peri’s aria was performed with singers responding from various parts of the performing hall, it is not clear what kind of performing manner Monteverdi had in mind for Possente spirito. Whether performed in one way or another, in Monteverdi’s aria, Arion’s vocal echoes were transformed into instrumental embellished melismas accordingly to Orfeo’s reputation as both a powerful singer and a virtuoso lyre player. Orfeo’s echoing sighs in the opera’s final act depict a quite different dramatic situation than the instrumental echoes of rhetoric prowess in Possente spirito. To compose a beautiful lamentation and then reinforce its affectation through repeating echoes seems to be one of the favorite rhetorical tropes in many early modern works, including Giacomo Carissimi’s Jepthe and Biagio Marini’s La Bella Erminia. There are other seventeenth-century settings of the Orpheus myth, like Stefano Landi’s Morte d’Orpheo, that continue to use this effect. Upon a closer look into the history of rhetoric, the relationship between Orpheus and the trope of echoing, and especially the connection between lamentation and echoing, is a long lasting one. Frederick Sternfeld points out that even Ovid
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inherited and accepted the manners of lamentation from older sources, that is, from his Greek predecessors. Sternfel claims that Ovid passed on to the Renaissance not only the subject matter from the Greek mythology but also their modes of expression. In this context, lamentation was traditionally represented by repetition and echoing.13 This manner of lamentation can be already found in Euripides’s Andromeda, where the heroine laments her faith while echoes bounce back.14 In the conclusion to Orfeo, Monteverdi only masterfully used one of the conventional rhetorical figures in musical-poetical representation of grief. I will now look at pieces that go beyond the traditional use of echo as lament and whose creators even more significantly experiment with a display of echo as a musical maniera, while negotiating between the sense of presence and theatricality. Earlier in this essay, I emphasized the famous example of the echo song by Lasso because its zesty aspect becomes relevant for the rhetoric of other sixteenth- and seventeenthcentury echo music, including the piece that will be at the center of my discussion in following pages: Biagio Marini’s Sonata in Ecco for three violins (1629). Marini’s sonata exhibits the full range of complex meanings that the rhetoric of echo developed in early modern music, including both the simple thrill with the possibilities of musical representation and, as its final result, the overwhelming by sensory perception. Marini was no doubt familiar with the dramatic uses of echo in the vocal music of his time. He took on a quite different challenge, however, when incorporating this rhetorical figure into the purely instrumental genre of sonata, without the help of narrative contextualization. Marini had different purpose in mind: in the early seventeenth century, the violin’s full potentials were still waiting to be explored, and he used echoing in order to do so. The Sonata in Ecco reveals how the early developmental stages of the sonata were modeled on the textures of vocal music. In this piece, it is often easy to imagine the three violins replaced by three voices; on the other hand, this sonata’s numerous displays of technical virtuosity obviously reinforce the instrumental nature of the genre. Marini imagined his Sonata in Ecco as the act of a performer at work: the subject is actually the performer who has discovered a new toy (an instrument) and wants to examine its capacities. As a successful violinist who pioneered various virtuosic effects on this instrument, Marini chose to posit the performing act as a way of exploring innerness. Marini plays with the three-part structure of his sonata, concluding every section with elaborate echo effects that significantly change musical meanings. Every expressive exposition of the solo violin becomes
disturbed with instrumental echoing from offstage. The second and third violins should play sempre piano from a place where they cannot be seen by the audience, recommends Marini at the very beginning of the score. They should repeat, from behind the scenes, the motives of the first violin. In the first section, one can sense a certain pleasure in the echoing passages, as Marini merely indulges with childlike enthusiasm in the game of echoing. The first repetition is based on a rather simple passage motive. The second motive becomes more interesting, with elaborated trills, as if the performer liked the effect made by the first one. Then, the first violin plays with its own supposed echo, doubling the melody in thirds, creating the illusion of “catching” its own reflection and playing with it, as with its own “thoughts.” Marini shows how the thrill of the new game develops with every new trick. This naiveté in the Sonata in Ecco, though, has in particular to do with the discovery of the self. Marini, an embodiment of homo ludens, realizes through this echo-simulation what kind of marvelous artifice is he able to create. As previously described, Arion’s and Orfeo’s echoes are reflections of their emotional states. The two singers not only sing their sorrow but through echoing become aware of it and able to recognize its impact. This aspect of self-recognition becomes very important for Marini’s purely instrumental genre. If the performer in his sonata at first naively listens to his own echo, he later becomes entranced by his own reverberation and tries to create new phrases that can thrill him as they bounce back. In the second part, Marini further develops little tricks from the first section: the first violin plays double stops, and the violins from the background readily respond. Furthermore, the soloist plays with syncopations, new and old passages, and broken chords. The performer’s interest in a newly discovered game reaches its pinnacle at this point. This aural selfreflection could be again explained by visual metaphor: when standing in front of the mirror while holding another mirror against it, one sees multiple reflections of the self (holding a mirror) at the point where the two mirrors intersect. Marini translates this spatial metaphor into the temporality of music: the violinist hears his own sound reflections, then becomes influenced by them, and creates new sounds that somehow respond to the preceding ones. It is the sonic equivalent of a visual representation of “a picture within a picture” or “a reflection within a reflection.” What is really interesting, though, is how Marini ends his sonata. The phrases at this point become very short: the performer stops and listens to the reverberation on every tone of the D major chord—the penultimate sonority before the expected resolution to the sonata’s tonic, G. But
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instead of finishing on the tonic G that would successfully conclude the piece, the resounding of a tense D from the violins in the background lingers on—and that’s the end. Perpetual echoing on a high-strung chord does not satisfactorily conclude the piece, no matter how the violinists choose to perform it. If performed energetically, the final measures communicate unceasing enthusiasm—an effect that would be even more emphasized if the performing venue has lively reverberation. If the violinists decide to end the piece in decrescendo (the performing manner I’m more inclined to), they convey a level of boredom with the whole enterprise. In both cases, the long stop on the suspenseful chord represents the impossibility of concluding the piece in a “proper” way. By doing so, Marini challenges the possibilities of the musical trope of echoing more extravagantly than his predecessors. His inconclusive indulgence in auditory self-reflection conveys not only self-empowerment but also bewilderment with indefinite resounding. Unable to conclude the piece, Marini projects a self that, in one way or another, becomes lost in the labyrinths of its own reflections. Marini’s sonata simulates a kind of excitement with oneself. The very notion of being able to listen to one’s own thoughts arouses emotions; the echoing phrase returns unchanged, but hearing it again creates a fascination with one’s own creativity and a desire to come up with a new idea and then another. What about the ending, then? I have already mentioned that the effect of “fading out” does not make for a very convincing closure, especially since it is tonally unstable. The result is not the opening up of the structure to new developments but some kind of emotional stasis in which the game ends when the excitement quails. The final never-ending chord depicts what happens when curiosity becomes satisfied. It echoes boredom. The subject in front of the mirror, like Narcissus confronted with his own image, is finally always alone. Sonata in Ecco shows how the effect of limitless space signified by echoing “merges” into the sonata’s formal and affective structure. The echo affect entirely shapes the logic and dramaturgy of the piece. At this point, the physical space is of equal importance with the autonomous space of the piece, and they unavoidably influence each other: the fascination with the limitless space creates a limitless (unconcluded) musical structure. In my examples thus far, the echo effect represents a forceful articulation of labyrinthine interiority that explores the sense of the self in its surroundings. To be able to find the way out of labyrinth is to be capable of reaching a goal and resolving one’s own destiny, and that seems to be the most difficult goal, especially in Marini’s piece. Labyrinth,
an important metaphor in mannerist aesthetics and in early modern culture, signifies the sense of uncertain existence, paradox, and conflict. In another seventeenth-century piece, Saul, Saul was verfolgst du mich? (1650), Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) transforms the rhetorical device of echoing into a swirling metaphor of auditory persecution; the vocal echo effects depict the almighty voice that torments Saul. Strongly influenced by Italian Counter-Reformation art, Schütz creates a piece that negotiates the irreparable sense of self-guilt—a leitmotif of Protestant doctrine—with all the theatrical emotional affectations of the Catholic Baroque. In this piece, echoing displays an emotionally charged affect that cannot be compared to previously explained mannerist detachment. The horror is palpable and overtly expressed. The conclusion of Schütz’s piece raises similar issues as Marini’s sonata. The question at the very end—“why do you persecute me?”— might be posed differently, as Schütz shows early on in the piece; it can be asked by the entire ensemble, reflecting Saul’s agony at its peak. Instead, the piece ends with the title question quietly sung by two soloists, simulating the emotional and physical numbness caused by the auditory hallucination. Interestingly, Saul’s voice never sounds in this piece, but only the multiply echoed voice of his assailant. However, “the lack of subject” in this case creates quite an opposite effect: it is the listener who hears with the ears of Saul, surrounded by the surreal auditory attack. Schütz creates this immediate effect by using a large performing ensemble (soloists, two choirs, and violins) on one hand, and a minimal narrative content of only two textual phrases on the other. The discrepancy is not obvious, but it would be logical to expect Schütz to use such a large ensemble to depict an array of different musical affects. Instead, he focuses only on one: the effect of auditory persecution. He makes the first choice in order to achieve the monumental sound that properly depicts the wrath of God. But more importantly for this discussion, he uses the choirs and soloists to depict the effect of a voice moving through space in an echoing manner, which he learned from Italian composers. In this context, his strategy of using a minimal number of words becomes clearer: when the line “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” repeatedly “travels” from bass to cantus, the listener becomes caught in the effect, experiencing what Saul supposedly experienced when falling to the ground struck by Jesus’s voice. Another phrase, “It will become hard for you to kick against the thorns,”15 is a direct threat to Saul that further deepens the emotional effect of fear and distress. Although in the New Testament Saul readily answers back (“Who are you, Lord”), in the motet Schütz leaves him voiceless, choosing to describe and emphasize the powerful moment of Saul’s
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emotional state in the moment of divine recognition. Schütz achieves the feeling of an overwhelming powerlessness of the subject (the listener, Saul) by means of the labyrinth of repeating voices: the phrases bounce off each other, and none of them leads toward emotional relief. The sense of tortured subjectivity that Schütz depicts in this motet becomes a trademark of early modern art. As Gustav René Hocke puts it, “One experienced the world as God’s poetic labyrinth. But one no longer sought the entrance, or even only the exit. One remained stuck in the inextricable.”16 Today, early modern echo pieces reveal very similar explorations of selfhood as the early modern examples of self-portraiture do: they reflect various ways of self-exploration in relation to the surrounding world. While in early examples the effect of auditory mirroring has a dimension of optimistic exploration of the entire new world of subjective experience, later examples bring about a certain doubt in the possibilities and limits of personal agency; they communicate the feeling of subject’s destabilization and amazement with the impossibility to grasp the limits of the being. In Umberto Eco’s words, “If Baroque spirituality is to be seen as the first clear manifestation of modern culture and sensitivity, it is because here, for the first time, man opts out of the canon of authorized responses and finds that he is faced (both in art and in science) by a world in a fluid state which requires corresponding creativity on his part.”17
CHAPTER FIVE ARISTOCRATIC SPECTACLE: VISUAL AND LITERARY PORTRAITURE IN THE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY FRENCH SALON HIBA HAFIZ At least since Norbert Elias’s thorough analysis of the sociology of the French court in his Court Society (1969), much attention has been focused on the role of the image and image-making in early modern governance and self-perception. Courtly manuals, arguably the most striking indicator of the significance of image production in early modern writing, became one way of tracking an emerging system of anxieties and values about behavioral and governance models. In this article I would like to consider an early consolidation of a system of representation in seventeenth-century France that emerged specifically from the interconnection of imaging practices and manners, but very self-consciously outside the world of the court. This system of representation became an alternative to forms of representation and representability in the court and functioned as a crucial transition into the kind of “modern” forms of representation that we see in the rise of the novel. The system that evolved amongst salonnières engaging in visual and literary portraiture was one with deep implications that were not only mimetic but also philosophical, social, and political. I hope to consider here the ways in which, in the world of the aristocratic salon, imaging practices went beyond the visual and even behavioral register, extending to the very definition of subjective states through the medium of linguistic representation. In this way, language itself took center stage in the world of subjecthood and power relations, increasingly becoming the primary means through which the emerging self, as a “modern individual,” was understood and dynamics of control conceded and exchanged.
Court Manuals Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier (1528) was translated into French in 1537 and generated a series of native French court manuals striving to reenact the Italian ideal of civility in the new Bourbon court: Du Souhait’s Le Parfait Gentilhomme in 1600, Nervèze’s Guide des Courtisans in 1606, Nicolas Pasquier’s Le Gentilhomme in 1611, Guez de Balzac’s Aristippe ou de la cour in 1618, and Nicolas Faret’s L’Honnête homme, ou l’art de plaire à la cour in 1630, to name a few. Peter Brooks calls these “manuals of recipes for success in society,”1 and the timing of these native manuals after the French Wars of Religion and the reinvigoration of French courtly life is not surprising; standardizing a nonsectarian system of demonstrating loyalty and gaining favor after decades of violence and instability would seem a welcome respite. Faret’s L’Honnête homme was extremely popular, undergoing seven editions throughout the seventeenth century, perhaps because of its promise to “represent . . . as in a small painting/tableau, the most necessary qualities, whether of spirit or of the body, that a person should possess in rendering himself agreeable in the Court.”2 Faret here quite explicitly establishes his manual as a guide to mastering the world of visual representation through visual representations, and these court manuals invariably emphasized the importance of “manner and gesture, social masks and the game of society.”3 As educational tools, the manuals tended not to concern themselves with theories of representation as such, nor did they bother to work through whether or not refined manners and behavior in fact made one more authentic and “true to life” (which is a kind of art), or hypocritical. Such questions were mostly pushed aside for more practical accounts and didactic exposition, creating an image of an ideal courtier to emulate.
Early Modern Theories of Representation / Foucault These questions, however, did emerge in other genres of writing, particularly in moral essays and treatises. Subsequent critics have attempted to anatomize the contradictions of early modern theories of representation in relation to truth and authenticity, perhaps one of the most helpful of these being Michel Foucault. In The Order of Things, Foucault argues that during this period four forms of similitude or resemblance were dominant: convenientia, aemulatio, analogy, and the play of sympathies. His exploration of these forms is intricate and complex, so I will focus only on the latter as being most relevant to my argument. My
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analysis of resemblance will focus less on the relations of resemblance found among objects in the world in what Foucault calls “the prose of the world,” and more on the relations of resemblance between texts and readers. In doing so, I will be considering similitude as an early modern form of identification, a process through which readers, listeners, or observers relate through agreement or disagreement with the texts that they encounter. Foucault describes aemulatio, or “emulation,” as “enabl[ing] things to imitate one another from one end of the universe to the other without connection or proximity: by duplicating itself in a mirror the world abolishes the distance proper to it; in this way it overcomes the place allotted to each thing.”4 This figure of emulation will, of course, become key for the noblesse de robe struggling to establish their position as nobles alongside the now more impoverished noblesse d’épée; the court manuals very much became a way of attaining similitude to an ideal through the kind of imitation that implied a displacement or a spatial substitution of a former bourgeois status to being a noble courtier. Analogy and the play of sympathies, however, served an alternative function in this representational system that took on a new life in a parallel world growing apart from the court, and significantly so during and after the Fronde. These two forms of similitude became ways of reaffirming but also exploring the nature and role of the aristocracy and aristocratic subjecthood in relation specifically to language and textuality. The two forms differ in that analogy, as Foucault argues, is more flexible, requiring only “subtle resemblances of relations” whose “reversibility” and “polyvalency endow analogy with a universal field of application. Through it, all the figures of the universe can be drawn together,” but specifically through man, “the great fulcrum of proportions—the center upon which relations are concentrated and from which they are once again reflected.”5 The play of sympathies, on the other hand, draws “things towards one another in an exterior and visible movement, it also gives rise to a hidden interior movement—a displacement of qualities that take over from one another in a series of relays.”6 In other words, he argues that sympathy is an instance of the Same so strong, and so insistent, that it will not rest content to be merely one of the forms of likeness; it has the dangerous power of assimilating, of rendering things identical to one another, of mingling them, of causing their individuality to disappear— and thus rendering them foreign to what they were before. Sympathy transforms. It alters, but in the direction of identity.7
Sorel’s Berger Extravagant as Parody A literary example of how this works can be seen in Charles Sorel’s Le Berger extragavant (1627-8), a novel that I hope will assist in revealing, through its critique of aristocratic representational practices, the ways in which the works emerging from the salons were a crucial aspect of ancien régime society and aristocratic self-definition. Sorel narrates the experiences of his protagonist, Louys, a seventeenth-century French Quixote who believes himself to be living in a pastoral novel (one which closely resembles that of Honoré d’Urfé’s widely read and popular L’Astrée). This bourgeois drama escalates as his friends agree to participate in his world of illusion by taking him to “Forez,” the mythical forest-setting of L’Astrée, and Louys, now “Lysis,” plays at being one of the aristocratic shepherds in L’Astrée, pursuing his nymph, “Charite,” and discoursing on the nature of love. Critics have argued that this is clearly a parody of d’Urfé’s widely read novel, not only in terms of its unrealistic and mythical plot, but in terms of its very form of representation: “Lysis serves to satirize both ‘real-life’ nobles, with their mania for playing at pastoral life, and the literary representation of nobles as shepherds in pastoral literature; he satirizes, that is, both model and ‘portrait’ of the noble.”8 This “portrait” of the noble becomes a particular source of representational and ideological tension in Sorel’s famous engraved portrait of “Charite,” Louys’ love-interest. Charite’s portrait literalizes Lysis’ metaphorical description of her: her breasts are literally depicted as orbs, her eyes are shining suns, her eyebrows are bows, her lips, interlocked coral. This portrait, Erica Harth argues, resists the ideology of vraisemblance, a kind of similitude which interposes allegory or mythic idealization, an “ought,” between art and nature: “The implication of Sorel’s portrait of Charite . . . is that a true portrait must do away entirely with metaphor.”9 In this way, Sorel’s critique of aristocratic portraiture was a critique of a representational politics; there’s a way in which analogy and the play of sympathies collide together to form an incoherent and perverse representational system in which the relationship between similar objects (Charite and her portrait) are utterly undermined.
Aristocratic Texts and Theories of Representation Sorel’s powerful parody—a bourgeois “playing at” the selfmythologized pastoral life of nobility—was in fact what the aristocrats had been doing all along. Honoré d’Urfé was himself very forthright in his introduction to L’Astrée about the conventional construct of the pastoral
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environment as a disguise for nobles playing out their romances and philosophical debates. Subsequent aristocratic admiration for L’Astrée during their financial travails and their loss to Mazarin during the Fronde established the novel as the basis for intensely engaged activity: there were debates in the salons about accurately identifying, based on one’s knowledge of affairs and intrigues, the aristocratic and courtly counterparts to this roman à clef, and, further, portions of the novel were actually enacted, literally “played out” in the privacy of the Hôtel de Rambouillet. Harth explains this phenomenon in the following way: “In this world where to see and to be seen was the chief activity, the nobility was enthralled by the spectacle of itself. It adopted disguise in order to see itself in disguise . . . it was not only for its educational value as a manual of civility but also because its readers delighted in what they perceived as their reflected image.”10 I will concentrate more fully on the role of the Fronde in aristocratic representation below, but it is important to point out that here that the spectacle is not just a matter of representing oneself idealized or mythologized within a pastoral setting but of envisioning and perceiving this as a communal exercise. It is this that both resembles the representational form of analogy and also creates an enclosed social and semiotic world in which referents are only accessible to the participants. In a world where playing a character in a novel might in fact be an act of performing an other’s idealized representation of you, there is a kind of direct Baroque display of excessive performativity: yes, one’s portrait in L’Astrée might exceed you in its idealization, but “real life” can even exceed that, can play it playing itself. Further, this similitude is an analogic one: the performance is intended to resemble the world of the novel in a way which not only draws that world together, but also draws together the performers of that novel in a simulated world. Here the image becomes a form of empowerment through an act of collective recognition that happens visually. Another equally important form of portraiture was literary or character portraits. These gained popularity after the publication of Madeleine de Scudéry’s Artamène ou Le Grand Cyrus (1649-53), an epic novel written during and about the Fronde, immortalizing its participants by setting them and their heroic deeds in ancient Persia. Narrativizing the rebellion of the Princes in epic form was clearly a form of legitimation through mythologizing, but Mlle de Scudéry’s novel was multi-generic, introducing for the first time in novelistic form indepth and realistic descriptions of her characters, descriptions which served as character portraits to identify on which contemporary aristocratic figure the “fictional” character was being modeled. These portraits included both a physical, external description as
well as a psychological or “moral” depiction to detail holistically an “accurate” key for the audience to detect. The technique took on a life of its own when members of various salons (those of Mme de Rambouillet, Mlle de Montpensier, and Mlle de Scudéry herself) began writing character portraits of each other, a practice whose popularity centered around the generation of the most accurate and authentic portrayal of a salonnière, a portrayal that demonstrated intimate knowledge of her “heart.” Mlle de Montpensier created an exemplary collection of these “literary” portraits in her Divers portraits (1659), and these metamorphosed generically in the salon into portraits done by moralistes like Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, and La Bruyère. In their hands, the portrait became a kind of collective endeavor with participants in the salon refining and critiquing the accuracy of each portrait’s representation, but, further, the portrait could become more abstract: La Rochefoucauld’s “belle pleureuse” or La Bruyère’s “coquette” became generalized pictures with whom one could identify similarly guilty traits. What is significantly different about this kind of representational practice––that of the literary portrait—is its professed “vérité” and “sincérité,” exposing all of one’s “défauts,” or faults, alongside one’s virtues. In these portraits, the ideology of vraisemblance does indeed transform itself into a more literalized form of imitation: the portrait should authentically match the person portrayed, or the generalized and condensed maxim about the hypocrisy of the courtier should be so piercing as to require a self-recognition through a penetrating unmasking. This can be related to the “danger” Foucault cites in his account of the “play of sympathies,” a danger of two similar things collapsing forcefully into each other and into sameness: you are assimilated into the critiques of your faults, or vices, precisely through a relation of sympathy to the text. This kind of recognition radically diverges from the collective form of recognition of the analogical enactment of the pastoral novel and, perhaps more importantly, presents us with a contradiction at the level of representation: is there one ideology of representation that the aristocracy in crisis adopts, or has it found itself already in a crisis of representation or representability?
Autonomy / Heteronomy in Imaging Practices We can perhaps clarify the contradiction by thinking about the relationship between representational practices and autonomy or heteronomy. In working to make an image vraisemblable, your skill as an artist or portraitist is displayed in the nature of the artifice created. The
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detection of the artifice by the audience is a kind of recognition, both of the linking of the represented object with what it “ought” to look like—the nobleman with the pastoral shepherd or the noblewoman with the nymph—and also a recognition of the genius of the artist. Here autonomy is foregrounded against heteronomy: the system of laws and the ordered world of allusions that regulate themselves are trumped by the aesthetic intervention of the individual artist who has mastered them. In the imitative “realism” of the portrait, however, determining the accuracy of the portrayal requires a kind of consent or agreement, at least of the person being described, but, more extensively, of the community of salonnières that approves the authenticity of the likeness. The heteronomy of literary portraiture consists in favoring opinions, sympathies, and aesthetic judgments of the précieuses over and above the individual’s ability to manipulate an external system of mythologized or idealized codes. The correspondences that are crucial here have less to do with a linking of the ancient and the modern or the historical and the mythological but rather with a limited internal economy of one-to-one relations between the text/portrait and the individual being portrayed. Paradoxically, the former model of representation, that of autonomous vraisemblance, is one which takes place at the level of collective perception and identification; the imitative and heteronomic “realism” takes place at the level of individual adjudication. This paradox is a crucial one: it enables within a very complex system of representability the articulation of a highly negotiated relation to power that the “fallen” aristocracy possessed. As briefly indicated above, this elaborate network of linguistic/visual play and power, which emerges in literary exercises, is deeply related to forms and methods of self-imaging and self-understanding. While I have thus far focused mostly on novelists and the relationship between the salonnières and the novel, I will now concentrate on the work of other frequenters of the salons, the moralistes. There are many ways of situating the moralistes and even other seventeenth-century French novelists within the larger European philosophical tradition, but I will focus very specifically on two main arguments about the self that are implicit in their work and that require attention in order to understand their philosophical implications. In looking at these formulations, I hope to illuminate the ways in which practices of linguistic self-imaging were a crucial and central example of early modern theories of representation more generally. Both arguments emerge from the belief that metaphysical arguments about the self are intricately tied to and inseparable from epistemological arguments about the self. The first argument—that the self is formed through language and it is through language that the self is most aware of
itself and its inner and outer workings—is intimately linked to the second argument—that knowledge about the self is always already knowledge about the world. Both are familiar arguments, yet they are distinct in important ways both from late nineteenth- and twentieth-century structuralist, poststructuralist, or psychoanalytic theories of subjectivity that rely on language and from the standard Kantian and post-Kantian arguments about knowledge of the world being the condition for the possibility of knowledge about the self. Arguments about the negative influence of language on the formation of the subject were prevalent in seventeenth-century France, not least with Descartes. In his Discours de la méthode (1637), he argues for a foundationalist, analytic method “to best conduct reason and search for truth in the sciences.” Yet while one of the key tenets of his system of truth, the clearness and distinctness of ideas, has a rhetorical origin in the notion of energeia enargeia (when an orator presents to his public an idea that is so clear that one cannot but accept it), Descartes very seriously considers the ways in which language obfuscates truth and provides through his system a radical critique of educational and cultural institutions that allow language and rhetoric to get in the way of the proper application of reason. Romance, histories, and fables are such institutions: Fables lead us to imagine many events as possible that are not at all; and even the most faithful histories, if they don’t change or augment the value of things to render them more worthy of being read, they almost always at least omit the most base and least illustrious circumstances: hence it happens that the rest doesn’t appear as it is, and those that regulate their manners by the examples that they draw [from these sources], are subject to falling into the extravagances of the knights-errant of our romances and to conceive designs that exceed their powers.11
Descartes worries here that narratives and the ways in which they are structured allow us to regulate our actions based on false knowledge, a false structure of belief. “The extravagances of the knights-errant of our romances” are not merely a moral problem but in fact highlight the ways in which the novel and, by extension, novelistic discourse are problematic precisely because they offer structures of belief that compete with more veridically founded structures, namely those established through reason. Within Descartes’ coherence theory of truth, or one that advocates that truth can only be determined based on whether or not it coheres with other truths within a larger structure, this is a particularly threatening problem. The system of romance cannot be complete: it changes, augments, and omits material, placing the reader in a position to wrongly evaluate its
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lessons and to make faulty designs based on its examples. The alternative to the linguistically organized and coherent system of the novel (and, significantly, to a system founded on a heroic ethic) then becomes the ideal of an internally organized and coherent system in the mind founded on the clear and distinct truth of the cogito.12 Advocacy for this system relies on a radically different conception of the self. Descartes here explicitly establishes a binary—between the self understood as a product of and emergent from some kind of narrative (the object of Descartes’ critique) and the self understood as the product of an instantaneous moment of rational self-recognition—which persists as a threatening incompatibility on both sides of the literary and philosophical divide. In the field of literary criticism, this takes the form of the separation between plot and character, creating a spectrum across which critics situate writers between the extremes of character as a mere effect of plot on the one hand, and an utter independence of character from plot on the other. Whether or not these binaries are justifiable is not a question I will address here, but it is important to note the tensions between plottedness and individual self-awareness evolving in seventeenth-century French philosophical and novelistic tradition. The moralistes are significant in this evolution because, while they rejected the Cartesian theory of the transparency of the mind and the primacy of the cogito in favor of a much more murky ontology, they retained a crucial element of the philosophical argument about the cogito: its indexical epistemology. Émile Benveniste’s argument about the formation of subjectivity through language can be summarized by his statement in “Subjectivity in Language”: “‘Ego’ is he who says ‘ego.’”13 This radical rupture from Descartes, locating the metaphysical certainty of the self in the speaking subject rather than in the thinking subject, firmly positions the nature of the subject in action rather than thought and, further, in action within a linguistic community, so that self-awareness is not merely possible through an awareness of otherness but specifically through an awareness of linguistic otherness: “Consciousness of self is only possible if it is experienced by contrast. I use I only when I am speaking to someone who will be a you in my address.”14 Yet, like Descartes, the subject is a product of momentary self-recognition: “I” refers to the act of individual discourse in which it is pronounced, and by this it designates the speaker. It is a term that cannot be identified except in what we have called elsewhere an instance of discourse and that has only a momentary reference. The reality to which it refers is the reality of the discourse. It is in the instance of discourse in which I designates the
Chapter Five speaker that the speaker proclaims himself as the “subject.” And so it is literally true that the basis of subjectivity is in the exercise of language.15
It is this instance of an utterance that gives the quality of “here-ness” to self-awareness, a “here-ness” familiar from the cogito, yet, again, the self is not aware of itself as a thinking thing, bracketable from the world, but rather as a subject of discourse made possible through differential knowledge of other subjects in the world. For La Rochefoucauld and thinkers in the seventeenth-century French salon, the indexicality of the cogito was of critical importance to the nature of subjectivity, but like Benveniste, and Kant before him, they strongly believed that knowledge of the world was the condition for the possibility of knowledge about the self. Crucially though, they believed that knowledge necessarily came through language use and being a speaking subject. Their conceptions of the self and self-knowledge are an integral link in the philosophical tradition and make possible arguments like Benveniste’s and Kant’s, but it is important to look at the particular ways in which the language-formed subject according to their account is not only an epistemological necessity but also an ethical one. There are two inextricable components to La Rochefoucauld’s indexical understanding of the self and self-knowledge. The first involves an argument about the nature of the self as fallen, or the Jansenist conception of the self, and the second concerns specifically the means towards self-knowledge that language provides, but it is language understood in its indexical modality, the possibility of its being uttered and realizing the speaking subject. In order to contextualize these arguments, however, it is important to understand their emergence within the culture of the seventeenth-century French salon after the Fronde. After their defeat in the Fronde, the salon became a site of refuge for Frondeurs, such as La Rochefoucauld. The defeat of the “princes” in 1653 was arguably the “last effort of the nobles to assert their power against the monarchy,” and most notably, against Cardinal Mazarin.16 The Frondeurs that frequented the salons of Madame de Sablé, Madame de Rambouillet, and Mademoiselle de Scudéry were engaged in the developing art de conférer, as Montaigne called it. Vivien Thweatt argues that they developed a keen ear for new fashions in philosophy and in metaphysics, and an even keener eye for the faults of their contemporaries; and out of the twilight of their lives and the play with words that was their pastime, there emerged a concept of the self that questioned the old values in an effort to answer to the new age.17
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The construction of this new conception of the self was all the more interesting because of its methodology. Much like Descartes’ Discours de la Méthode, the texts produced in this setting were intensely selfinvestigative yet, unlike the Discours, proceeded less from an analytic deconstruction of beliefs about the nature of the self and more from the sheer play of wit, irony, and linguistic turns which stretched the language of affect and sensibility to new descriptive possibilities. Morris Bishop gives an excellent account of such linguistic experimentation in the literary portrait: The guests would be set the task of describing one of their number, in person and spirit; they would proffer a bouquet of verbal roses, cunningly interspersed with thorns. Or an habitué would read to the group his selfportrait, and all would exclaim with ravished joy, and then, not delicately, with infinite qualifications, would suggest retouches, re-phrasings, to teach the self-portraitist to know his own faults better.18
La Rochefoucauld wrote his own self-portrait, saying of the process that “I have studied myself as much as is needful for self-knowledge and am not wanting in either confidence to state freely such good qualities as I may have or candor to own up to such defects as I certainly possess.”19 The portrait writers were thus equally committed to avoiding the flattery that they believed dominated court culture and to describing and expanding upon people’s faults. The tradition of the character portrait provides a kind of template for novelistic character construction, and it also provides a method for approaching and describing interiority much earlier than critics of the “psychological novels” of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would allow. The degree of “realism” involved in this enterprise is observable in La Rochefoucauld’s description of his project in the Maximes, a description which necessitates a reconsideration of Ian Watt’s linkage of the novel’s formal realism with empiricism: “[I want] to make an anatomy of all of the innermost reaches or folds of the heart.”20 For the French moralists, the character portrait was a way of exploring man’s fixed, stable, and definable nature by [mak]ing clear this nature in the diverse conditions of social life. The more complex an author regarded such a task of moral prosopography, the more likely he was to draw upon ancillary disciplines like cartography, cosmography, physiognomy or anatomy. At its most probing, the moralist enterprise came to resemble that of the dedicated naturalist.”21
Further, what is interesting about this approach to interiority is that it is very much a product of public unmasking and social debate, insisting on
the highly public nature of the formation of private interiority and on the inseparability of the self from the social and moral codes that make it possible. La Rochefoucauld also participated in proverb games with Madame de Sablé and Jacques Esprit, the tutor to the Prince of Condé’s children, in which they would individually present a thought in epigrammatic form so that the frequenters could criticize it, question its truth, style, and expression, and suggest alternative phrases.22 It was through these exercises that the Maximes were produced and collected by La Rochefoucauld, and it is in the recording of the maxim as a fundamentally conversational genre that we begin to see the degree to which La Rochefoucauld was invested in the production of a new form of social and psychological realism. This is particularly evident when we contrast Pascal’s Pensées with La Rochefoucauld’s Maximes. Thweatt makes the following useful distinction between the two thinkers: La Rochefoucauld paints a portrait of 17th-century man as he sees him in his earthly pursuits, while Pascal portrays man in the light of the eternal. La Rochefoucauld’s area of inquiry is limited to what Pascal calls the cupidinous or concupiscent world, while the thrust of Pascal’s argument is to illustrate the disparity between the “état deplorable de la nature corrompue” and the state of “grâce particulière.” La Rochefoucauld writes against the social framework of his time and Pascal within the framework of Jansenist eschatology.23
Richard Hodgson makes a similar argument in relation to Pascal and La Rochefoucauld’s respective understanding of truth: “Unlike Pascal, who sees truth as unified and indivisible, La Rochefoucauld tends to view truth, both in essence and in the context of human interaction, as heterogeneous and multisided.”24 This is apparent when we consider the following quotes from the Pensées, which establish a clear differentiation between truth of the fallen man and a divine, perfect truth: Truth is so obscured in these times and lies are so well established that unless we love the truth we shall never know it.25 Faith embraces many apparently contradictory truths. Or, simply: Know then, proud man, what a paradox you are to yourself. Be humble, impotent reason! Be silent, feeble nature! Learn that man infinitely transcends man, hear from your master your true condition, which is unknown to you. Listen to God . . . for who cannot see that
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unless we realize the duality of human nature we remain invincibly ignorant of the truth about ourselves.26
The following quote by La Rochefoucauld, on the other hand, paints a very different picture of what truth might mean in the concupiscent world: The true, in whatever subject it finds itself, cannot be effaced by any comparison with another, and whatever difference that could be between two subjects, what is true in one doesn’t efface at all what is true in the other: they can have more or less the same scope and be more or less selfevident, but they are always equal in their truth, there isn’t more truth in the most grand than in the most slight .27
La Rochefoucauld is not taking a skeptical stance about the possibility of truth claims holding in the world. Rather, he is embracing the determination of truth values in the context of social commerce by individuals; truths hold equal weight because they are compared exclusively to other worldly truths and not to a transcendent, divine truth. La Rochefoucauld’s interest is in describing and staging the worldviews of characters within a social setting so as to allow their differences to play off one another. The projects of the seventeenth-century salon are part of a distinct heritage in which dialogue and conversation merge with a kind of ethical imperative of self-discovery and worldly understanding. Thinkers like La Rochefoucauld were intrigued by the ways in which affectation and selfdeceit operate within a broader psychological context dominated by amour propre and the weakness of the will within the tumultuous and embattled internal theatre of shifting passions and forceful rationality. The painful process of unmasking required to discover l’être vrai, or genuine being, is a treacherous yet fascinating one. In their construction and reevaluation of the self, La Rochefoucauld and other seventeenth-century moralists were influenced not only by the motif of masking in Baroque literature but also by the nobility’s particular political and social positioning after the violent Wars of the Fronde.28 The challenge to noble authority under the Regency of Louis XIV solidified what was seen as a bifurcation of values and interests. More than this, the particular culture of Madame de Sablé’s salon was very strongly infused with Jansenist and Augustinian thought, both heavily invested in man’s limited capacities, given his fallen state, to understand himself and God. The Augustinian doctrine of original sin described the division of amor sui and amor Dei, self-love and love of God, as a direct result of the Fall and man’s subsequent necessity to turn in upon himself, and it became a way
of describing the radical obfuscation of the Divine from the standpoint of the human. In the Liancourt Manuscript, a text which is thought to be the Ur-text of the Maximes, La Rochefoucauld describes this distinction: “God allowed, to punish man of original sin, that he become a god of his selflove in order to be tormented in all of the actions of his life.”29 This differentiation was used within the realm of theological discourse, but it was easily extended by the thinkers of the salon into the political climate in which they found themselves. This is especially the case with Pascal, arguably one of the most significant Augustinian thinkers of his day. Henry Clark articulates the important connection between Pascal’s theology and his view of his social environment, an environment that he felt was exemplary of man’s absorption in amor sui: “[the] system of meanings [devised to make men feel important], fixed with such complacency by words, costumes, titles and other simulacra of lost excellence, constitutes a single mechanism of mutually shared selfdeceptions.”30 As Thweatt puts it, the concupiscent world is merely “a parody of remembered glory . . . what is left is the monstrous play of passions that passes as human will.”31 La Rochefoucauld expands the workings of amour propre into an enlarged frame of human psychology. Developing a highly descriptive psychological language, he argued that the self-deceptions produced by amour propre become intertwined with man’s affectual and social life: Self-love is love of oneself and of all things in terms of oneself; it makes men worshippers of themselves and would make them tyrants over others if fortune gave them the means. It never rests outside the self and doesn’t settle on outside matters unless, like bees on flowers, to draw from them what suits it. Nothing is so impetuous as its desires, nothing so concealed as its designs, nothing so devious as its methods.32
It is clear that the role of the will in controlling human actions is reduced to a minimum here and that, in fact, even when it does operate, it must do so with so many conflicting interests and often without any awareness of what would ultimately serve our self-interest best: “Man often thinks he is in control when he is being controlled, and while his mind is striving in one direction his heart is imperceptibly drawing him in another.”33 Moreover, in the realm of social commerce dominated by the art de plaire, “we are so used to disguising ourselves from others that we end by disguising ourselves from ourselves.”34 Yet despite the pessimism that this might suggest, La Rochefoucauld offers many solutions to this self-obfuscation, particularly in the unmasking necessary for l’être vrai, an unmasking, according to Richard
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Hodgson, which “goes far beyond the idea of sincerity to include a fundamental harmony between the individual’s true nature and his or her behavior toward others.”35 The more interesting solution for our purposes, though, is the ways in which the act of reading and participating in the construction of maxims, character portraits, and linguistic imaging more generally demands the activation of the reader or participant into realizing his or her être vrai. The moral maxim and the character portrait become uniquely equipped instigators in the performance of prescriptive retribution, bringing together the workings of ethics with linguistic practice. It was not only the later eighteenth-century philosophes that saw La Rochefoucauld’s “irony of perception” as the “weapon of iconoclasm.”36 W. G. Moore argues that the seventeenth-century reader did as well. This reader, familiar with the genres of contracted writing (abbreviatio) as opposed to the expanded writing (amplificatio) of epics and romance, would have seen the maxim as something directly opposed to a truism. “Revelation” would be a better word. A grave and pregnant statement, which has power to shock and to startle, does not immediately appear as the truth. Its elusive and teasing suggestion is rather that of a new angle on the truth. In the case of La Rochefoucauld’s Maximes this statement is specifically directed to truths we are prevented from seeing because of our involvement in them. Rather than truth, they present an aspect of truth, a way towards the truth, in particular a way to truths that are unwelcome, unpalatable, truths we are not likely to see unaided.37
Here is a famous example of this kind of “revelatory” capacity of the maxim: “Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue.”38 This maxim contains the quality of an epigram that is contrary to the reader’s assumptions. Yet, unlike a strict truism, it addresses more than a factual state of affairs; it tries to suggest new relations between moral qualities and their performance.39 It is precisely in this interconnectedness, this mixing of vice and virtue, that La Rochefoucauld is interested, rather than in the strict prescription of “bad,” or false virtue. Still, he also targets the affectation produced by this mixture as an object of critique. In fact, his epigrammatic style activates a realization much more forcefully than would a simple prescriptive truism because it forces the reader or audience to realize a surprisingly new method of organizing moral categories in the social world; it forces him or her to move from the acceptance of a prescriptive truth to elaborate a new taxonomy in order to think through the relationship between truth and appearance. It is this stylistic achievement of La Rochefoucauld’s that Henry Clark calls the “rhetoric of irony” and which consists in “the transposition of
ideas from one register to another, his play on words and his paradoxical definitions, his social, physiological, and metaphysical exemptors, his sardonic encomia, his expository demonstrations, his dialectic syntheses and conflations.”40 He goes on to argue that unless La Rochefoucauld’s reader takes shelter in a refusal to follow the ironic play of the Maximes or insulates himself by a condemnation of that play as pure pessimism, he finds it more and more difficult to avoid seeing in himself what his own experiences reinforce with regard to others. From this point of view, it is precisely the more general satire of society that most undermines the reader’s self-equilibrium. For to be perceptive enough to enjoy La Rochefoucauld’s ironic view of the social commerce is to be, at the same time much too perceptive for comfort where his portrait of the self is concerned. Thus the reader is trapped by his own thought and led by the perspective of irony to the painful process of self-criticism and self-evaluation. “Il est plus aisé de connaître l’homme en general que de connaître l’homme en particulier” (Maxim 436), wrote La Rochefoucauld; and the self-illumination of his paradoxical play gives to this statement a double dimension that is irony at its best.41
In this way, his writing enters into dialogue with those it intends to engage, interpolating them. It is a social act, attempting not only to address the audience but also to internalize the truths made possible in the conversational art based on dialogue. Pierre Lerat notices in his epigrams the common use of the distinguo, the action of expounding a distinction in an argument, as itself a simulation of dialogue with the reader,42 and Jean Lafond finds that it is in the discontinuity of the brief form––the ambiguity produced by extreme condensation, the fragmented nature of the collection of short epigrams––that the possibility of reader activation lies: Enclosure and completion are only relative to each of the unities of speech, taken on their own and individually, but together what they constitute forbids us of fixing them in this autonomy that is initially conferred to them . . . the space of discontinuous discourse . . . [is] a space of solidities and voids where the discrete character of unities of sense authorizes an alternative approach to sense to the space uniformly full of continuous discourse . . . the fragments indicate a center that they cannot but delimit . . . the sense is at the same time present and absent, made and to be made.43
It is crucial, however, to keep in mind that the axioms and character portraits were not merely written texts meant to provoke the reader but actively spoken, refined, and renegotiated by members of the salon to
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concentrate as vividly as possible on the penetrative potency of the axiom or revelation of vice or virtue in a given person’s character. It is these linguistic acts that rely on an indexical understanding of selfformation through language. Within a metaphysical register, the construction of subjectivity in the salon maps exactly that of Benveniste’s model: the subject is formed through its utterance as a speaking subject addressing an other, the “you” of dialogue and the “you” that engages in the refinement and perfection of the penetrating axiom or character portrait that is being constructed precisely to reveal the real nature of a given individual or of humans in society in general. Yet La Rochefoucauld’s epistemology is different than that of Benveniste: an ethical imperative is folded into his use of a linguistic-metaphysical indexicality avant la lettre. It is perhaps helpful to first understand Benveniste’s radically antiCartesian and Neo-Kantian metaphysics in order to understand the nature of the ethical claim in La Rochefoucauldian indexicality. His arguments about indexicality and subjectivity, he believes, necessitate a rejection of the strict Cartesian partition between the self as an internally regulated being and the external world: And so the old antinomies of “I” and “the other,” of the individual and society, fall. It is a duality which it is illegitimate and erroneous to reduce to a single primordial term, whether this unique term be the “I,” which must be established in the individual’s consciousness in order to become accessible to that of the fellow human being, or whether it be, on the contrary, society, which as a totality would preexist the individual and from which the individual could only be disengaged gradually, in proportion to his acquisition of self-consciousness.44
This is very similar to Kant’s formulation in his “Refutation of Idealism” that “the mere, but empirically determined, consciousness of my own existence proves the existence of objects in space around me.”45 Yet, while Benveniste’s proof of the necessary existence of the external world based on self-consciousness lies in linguistic utterances, Kant relies on the forms of intuition and the categories of human understanding: your awareness of yourself as determined in time is not only possible because time is a form of intuition that makes experience possible generally, but also because permanence, a category of human understanding that also makes experience possible, is presupposed by your awareness of yourself as determined in temporary, fleeting moments. In other words, you couldn’t be aware of yourself at any given moment in time without presupposing a backdrop of permanence upon which to mark various points of selfconsciousness through time. This permanence, Kant argues, cannot be
something founded in an individual consciousness but must necessarily be something outside of one’s experience: “perception of this permanent is possible only through a thing outside me and not through the mere representation of a thing outside me.”46 The difference between these two conceptions is that Benveniste explores the implications of Kantian metaphysics and epistemology exclusively in the context of linguistic communities and linguistic acts; the whole temporal (or narrative) character of self-knowledge as knowledge of the external world or of others drops out of Benveniste’s formulation of subjectivity. This is where it is crucial to see the moralistes as both a philosophical precedent for arguments about indexicality and for arguments about selfknowledge that is always already knowledge of others within a diachronic framework. In incorporating Augustinian thought into the life of the court, aristocratic exile, and self-formation in the salon, La Rochefoucauld is innovative because he managed to combine the momentary, deeply inner process of indexical linguistic self-recognition with a more Kantian understanding of a temporal self-reflexivity through the existence of the external world. The second element of this innovative paradigm is elaborated in La Rochefoucauld as a kind of inscription of the external world making possible knowledge of the self. This inscription is specifically that of the heteronomic order of language, an order—and this is central for La Rochefoucauld––that is also always already an inner, moral law. This is somewhat similar to Benveniste who requires an awareness of a “you” that is addressed in order to have awareness of an “I,” but the “you” in La Rochefoucauld is the “you” absorbed in the realm of social commerce, either using language to flatter and deceive or to penetrate and reveal one’s fallen nature. It is language that first makes the self possible in the indexical argument, but language is a normative system the rules and regulating patterns of which are determined through the laws of others, or other people’s use and abuse of it. So the very thing that makes subjectivity possible is necessarily something that is already formed and regulated in a heteronomic system. This is akin to Wittgenstein’s later theories of language-games and the acquisition of language as a process of learning and orienting yourself in the rules and patterns of language as you would in a game, yet La Rochefoucauld is interested, unlike Wittgenstein, in exposing the ways in which the “forms of life”––“those shared activities which give us our languages,”47 the way meaning-as-use functions as a linguistic activity for us––obstruct rather than create meaning, blocking the unity of meaning and use. The way out is the penetrative potential of language. Linguistic forms like the axiom and the character portrait make possible our access to l’être
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vrai, and it is in this sense that linguistic self-definition is for La Rochefoucauld the only way that the moral law of genuine self-knowledge can be inscribed into the subject. This inscription of the moral law is both an external process, a process necessitated by others, but is also inherently internal as it turns on the argument about language working indexically, pinpointing the “I” in its “here-ness.” The coinciding of the indexical and the heteronomic in self-knowledge is essential for La Rochefoucauld, as his analysis of the self and his moral system is very much an attempt to resist the seductions of flattery and the power of court politics to deceive and obfuscate what would or could be a moral subject. In this way, his method becomes an internal guard from the linguistic manipulations of flattery in falsely heightening one’s self-regard or amour propre; the establishment of an internal heteronomic order through penetrative language guarantees that you are vouchsafed in public experience by language itself. Correct linguistic self-recognition activated through the dynamic critical potential of the axiom or the character portrait then trumps or at least guarantees the possibility of trumping incorrect or false knowledge about the self that language within social commerce can produce. This safeguard does not eradicate the temptations of egotism, amour propre, and intérêt, and it is the ways in which the oscillation between l’être vrai and getting lured into self-deception necessarily becomes a linguistic struggle in time, within a narrative that La Rochefoucauld’s model (and other similar models of contemporaries like Madame de Lafayette) becomes a key paradigm for the formation of character in the novelistic tradition. La Rochefoucauld’s analysis of egotism was used most vociferously as an attack on court culture and stemmed from the crisis produced by the convergence of the aristocratic ethic of magnanimity and heroic chivalry and the Christian ethic of selfabnegation; this convergence enabled him to construct the core elements of an egotistical dialectic. The core elements of La Rochefoucauld’s egotistical dialectic are autonomy on the one hand (and this is the autonomy of the aristocratic ethic which establishes the feudal lord as a law unto himself), and heteronomy on the other. Unlike the later Kantian “emancipation of the bourgeois individual” from aristocratic tutelage through the categorical imperative, it does not build its conception of freedom or moral authority on the fundamental autonomy of the individual in the spheres of pure and practical reason.48 The La Rochefoucauldian dialectic becomes, rather, a key contribution to later Enlightenment thought in that it assisted in setting and anchoring the parameters of the autonomy-heteronomy debate as
existing necessarily within the social sphere. Yet it is absolutely counter to the rationalist claims of individual freedom, in that reason, or any other theoretical construct that professes universality and necessity, is not enough to lift the moral subject out of the quagmire of the very social and very personal internal disorganization of the self driven and conflicted by self-love. This resistance to rationalist solutions as a simple and easy way of ridding the bourgeois individual from all residues of aristocratic authority made the seventeenth-century French model of autonomy and heteronomy compelling as a critique of egotism. I conclude by emphasizing the parallel importance of courtly and aristocratic spectacle in understanding the mechanisms of representation and of power in the ancien régime. The forms of self-representation and self-investigation that took place in the salons became a way of adopting an alternative relationship to power and the image, different from the culture of seeing and seeming in the court. These visual and verbal performances were exercises in stretching the language of affect and sensibility into new descriptive possibilities, producing both new avenues of self-knowledge and radically new conceptions of subjectivity. In the work of the salonnières and La Rochefoucauld in particular, salon games of novelistic reenactments portraiture and maxim construction became a way of thinking about language in salon life as an alternative center of governance in which the rules and regulations of social commerce and verbal play could become internalized and collapse into an inner law of self-constitution and investigation. The spectacle of courtly ritual and visual display that dominated life at the court is replaced in the salon by a spectacle of language, placing language itself on display to expose its representational possibilities. This intricate world of mimetic experimentation allows for new and flexible ways of thinking about the relationship between self and society on the representational plane itself. Accounting for these practices is thus a crucial component of understanding the power of images and images of power in early modern Europe.
CHAPTER SIX THE FUTURE OF THE PAST LOOKS BLEAK: SPENSER’S RECYCLED IMAGE AND BAUDRILLARD’S SIMULACRUM THOMAS LECARNER “A writer . . . should so blend whatever he has garnered from a varied course of reading into one delicious compound that, even though it betrays its origin, yet it nevertheless is clearly a different thing from that whence it came.” —Seneca
My objective in this essay is to examine the ways in which the theories of French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, as discussed in his book Simulacra and Simulation, manifest themselves in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. I use the word “manifest” purposively here, as I believe that the theory of the simulacrum is always already present, both in Spenser’s poem and the historical context in which it was written. Thus it is not a theory that can be “applied” or laid on per se but one that reveals itself. The idea of the simulacrum is a postmodern one to be sure, but the phenomenon itself is hardly new. It is widely accepted that any historical narrative is a fiction—not necessarily an untruth, but a narrative construct shaped through a selective process of the author’s choosing. When we go one step further and use allegory to fictionalize history, we begin to create the very thing that concerns Baudrillard: copies (poetry) of copies (fictionalized history) that have no origin in the “real” world. The tension between history and fiction has a long and complex history. As Susan Staub reminds us, a central dilemma for the Renaissance poet was the “tenuous relationship between life and art, fact and fiction, history and literature.”1 Poets were in a position of having to carefully mingle history and fiction (if there is a difference) in order to avoid allegations of deceit. But Spenser was a poet in the purest sense of the word, and, following in the footsteps of Philip Sidney, he sought to be “lifted up by the vigor of his own invention, [and] grow another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or quite anew.”2 Spenser surely wanted to make
“things better” in both the present and the past, and, in that attempt, he delivered the golden world of poetry as opposed to the brazen world of history. My goal here is to demonstrate how Spenser, through his use of allegory and his use and manipulation of history, has created in Baudrillard’s terms a “play of illusions and phantasms” that “is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real.”3 I believe that Spenser’s use of history in The Faerie Queene works as an ideal construct both textually and metatextually for the creation and development of the simulacrum. In this essay I will look primarily at the Briton Moniments chronicle in Book II.x, selections from the Proems, and the allegorical trial of Mary, Queen of Scots in Book V. Specifically, I will show how the four phases of the image, as outlined in Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation, are manifest in the poem. Tracing these four stages of the image will ultimately reveal The Faerie Queene’s status as a simulacrum, that is to say, a copy of a copy without an original—a sign for which there is no referent. The literary and historical traditions upon which The Faerie Queene is constructed are essentially a series of layers, each one moving Spenser’s text further from the “original,” or the “real,” to the point that the “real” itself has become a mere simulation of other simulations. Following Baudrillard’s formula, then, the “death of the real” triggers nostalgia for something that no longer exists. This nostalgia surfaces throughout the poem. I do not purport to draw ideological similarities between the early modern and the postmodern periods, nor do I want to suggest that Spenser was a nihilist. What I believe this analysis offers, however, is the view that Baudrillard’s concerns and predictions about the simulacrum resolve themselves in precisely the same way, albeit for different reasons, in the 1590s as they did in the 1990s. Baudrillard begins Simulacra and Simulation with a quotation from Ecclesiastes: “The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none.” In typical Baudrillard fashion, however, he sets the tone for the entire book with a “quote” that is a simulacrum itself. No such quotation exists in the book of Ecclesiastes—it is a “quote” that cannot be traced to its source; it has no origin in the real. In the first chapter, “The Precession of Simulacra,” Baudrillard makes reference to a short tale by Jorge Luis Borges entitled, “On the Exactitude of Science,” which is about a map, drawn so carefully and extensively that it subsumes the territory it is meant to represent; as the map frays, so too does the empire. The distinction between the two breaks down, and the map begins to “precede” the territory. Baudrillard then contrasts this fable with the postmodern condition and argues that abstractions are no longer
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“the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.” The distinction between the simulation and the real thing or experience it is designed to simulate has broken down to the point where we can no longer distinguish one from the other. This present inability to trace back to the original is what Baudrillard refers to as “the desert of the real itself.” For Baudrillard, postmodern society has become overly dependent on maps and “imperialistic” models to the point that we have lost all contact with the real world that preceded the map. Reality itself is then reduced to the imitation of a model, which now determines and (like Borges’ map) precedes the real world. There is some prophesy in Baudrillard’s discussion of maps as simulacra given our postmodern movement beyond maps (which are copies) to GPS devices, which give us digital pictures of maps (copies of copies) and which preclude our ability even to read maps. Baudrillard suggests we are removed from the binary that distinguishes a copy from the original; there are now only copies of copies. He writes that “[i]t is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real.”4 Baudrillard is not merely suggesting that postmodern culture is an artifice—such a label still requires some sense of reality against which we might recognize the artifice itself. His point is, rather, that we have lost the ability to make sense of the distinction between nature and artifice. To clarify his point, he argues that there are four “successive phases of the image”: It is the reflection of a profound reality; It masks and denatures a profound reality; It masks the absence of a profound reality; It has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum.5
In the first phase, the image is a true counterfeit, or imitation of an existing reality, and the distinction between the two is clear. In the second phase, the image perverts the real it seeks to simulate, but both the copy and original are still relatively in tact. The third phase is more profound, and the simulation is so “realistic” that the distinction between the copy and the original breaks down (as in Borges’ story), and in the absence of that certainty we begin to deny or doubt the existence of the original itself. The simulation seeks to convince us that there is a real but simultaneously hides, or “masks,” the fact that there is none. Finally, in the fourth phase the image conceals any notion of the true origin. It is a copy of a copy, untraceable to any tangible real, which in turn engenders nostalgia for a
bygone era of the “real,” never real to begin with. For Baudrillard, this is a central point; the recognition of the death of the real triggers a terrifying hysteria that results in a powerful nostalgia that seeks to recover what is forever lost.
Phase I Having outlined Baudrillard’s theory, I will now demonstrate the ways in which it operates in The Faerie Queene. The first phase of the image is a reflection of reality. Looking at poetry as a reflection of reality is, of course, nothing new. Sidney, in his Apology for Poetry, defends poetry as the art of imitation, or mimesis. He writes, “Poesy, therefore is an art of imitation, for so Aristotle termeth it in this word mimesis, that is to say, a representing, counterfeiting, or figuring forth—to speak metaphorically, a speaking picture—with this end, to teach and delight.”6 Despite his claim to Raleigh that the poem touched on matters “furthest from . . . suspition of present time,”7 the events and characters in Book V do, in fact, align with actual, contemporary historical events and people—a thinly veiled allegory of Elizabethan England in flux that effectively renders the book a “reflection of a profound [historical] reality.”8 More so than any other book in The Faerie Queene, Book V is modeled after actual events taking place contemporaneously with Spenser’s writing of the poem. From poll-taxes to the threats of invasion by the Spanish Armada, Spenser depicts a wide array of sociopolitical events of sixteenth-century England. For my purposes here, however, the allegorical trial of Mary, Queen of Scots proves the most interesting. In his exceptionally thorough historical analysis of Book V, Donald Stump points to the common notion that Mary, Queen of Scots “is represented allegorically twice: first as Radigund in Cantos iv—vii and then by Duessa in Cantos ix—x.”9 What is interesting about this is the notion of reproduction. Not only does Spenser create, “a reflection of a profound reality” by way of historical allegory, he does so twice, first with Radigund and Duessa in the role of Mary Stuart and again with Britomart and Mercilla as Elizabeth. Each “real” historical figure has two reflections. Through these two complex individuals, Spenser scatters the reflection and adds to the intricacy of the mirror (or text) itself. Spenser is attempting to accurately reflect the profoundly complicated nature of the real world that he chooses to represent through allegory. As Stump points out, “In Canto vii the character representing Queen Elizabeth is seeking revenge and strikes furiously”:
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
The wrathful Britonesse Stayd not, till she came to her selfe againe, But in revenge both of her loves distresse, And her late vile reproach, though vaunted vaine, And also of her wound, which sore did paine, 10 She with one stroke both head and helmet cleft. (V.vii. 34)
Stump contrasts this moment of revenge with one of mercy and pity in Canto ix, when Mercilla reluctantly executes Duessa, not out of wrath, but in “her divine role as a just and merciful ruler”: But she, whose Princely breast was touched nere With piteous ruth of her so wretched plight, Though plaine she saw by all, that she did heare, That she of death was guiltie found by right, Yet would not let just vengeance on her light; But rather let in stead thereof to fall Few perling drops from her faire lampes of light. (V.ix.50)
This discrepancy, Stump notes, has “never been satisfactorily explained.”11 I posit that in attempting to reflect a “profound reality,” Spenser astutely recognizes the inherent complexities of that reality and thus multiplies, or refracts, it in order to give dimension and accuracy. By constructing multiple “Elizabeths” he is more accurately reproducing her mimetic image in his fictitious world. I believe that Spenser constructed two “Marys” for exactly the same reason. Spenser was a perfectionist and refused to accept the inherent shortcomings of fictional representations of the real. Instead, he sought whenever possible to create multi-dimensional characters, even if that meant physically multiplying them. This is not to suggest that all of Spenser’s characters have this multidimensionality (in fact some lack it entirely), which might reflect what Spenser acturally thought of them as human beings. The focus of Stump’s essay concerns the issue of the duplicate representations of Mary Stuart and the reasons for her “double” death via Radigund and Duessa. Stump goes into the minute details of historical events in an attempt to explain the parallels between Spenser’s allegory and actual events in Mary’s life. While his explanation proves interesting and at several points convincing, I think Stump overcomplicates the role of allegory in Spenser’s poem and seeks a one-to-one correspondence which proves impossible to substantiate. He himself admits that “it is conceivable that most of the incidents [in Book V] are not historical.”12 After his
painstaking analysis of the parallels between Mary’s life and Spenser’s allegory, Stump oddly concludes that Radigund’s death is “merely symbolic” and “can have nothing to do with the actual execution of Mary Stuart.”13 Thus, Spenser has “symbolically” and “literarily” killed her. These multiple reflections of Mary are necessary, however, to more accurately depict the complexity of her life and multiplicity as a human being. She was duplicitous in her life, and Spenser recreates her in precisely the same way. If romance is said to present life, as we would have it be, then, in some ways Spenser can be seen as the first realist— representing life as it really is. While this might stretch the boundaries of The Faerie Queene a bit tightly, I think in some sense Spenser wanted a realistic quality to his work. Through historical allegory the poet creates as accurately as possible a “reflection of a profound reality,” a reproduction of people and events that ultimately requires the kind of multiplicity seen in Book V.
Phase II To see the second phase of the image at work, wherein the image “masks and perverts a basic reality,” we must turn to Spenser’s manipulation of the history of Britain in Book II. As Baudrillard tells us, in this phase the real and the copy are both intact and decipherable. However, here the copy in some way perverts or distorts the real. Historical discourse is riddled with complexities surrounding the issue of the accurate representation of fact. Most scholars acknowledge, of course, the fictional quality of any historical narrative. When one mixes history with poetry, however, the resulting blend is perfect for the creation of a simulacrum. The inclination to blend history and poetry was a common one in Renaissance England. Sidney reminds us that “neither the philosopher nor historiographer could at first have entered into the gates of popular judgments if they had not taken a great passport of poetry.”14 Here I am reminded of Spenser’s confession to Raleigh that this poem is a “dark conceit.” The word “conceit” means, among many things, “trick” or “fanciful action,”15 and in many ways this is what Spenser has done in his chronicle of the British kings from Brutus to Cadwallader, divided into two distinct parts: Book II.x, the Briton Moniments, and Book III.iii, Merlin’s prophecy. The study of history as a science had just begun to flourish in Spenser’s time. As John Curran Jr. notes, “The sixteenth century saw tremendous advances in historiographical materials and methods, advances collectively known as the ‘historical revolution.’”16 Spenser was keenly aware of this historical debate taking place during his
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
lifetime. The central historical texts then vying for acceptance were Historia Regum Britannia by Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1136), Holinshed’s Chronicles (1577), and Camden’s Britannia (1586). Spenser was torn between the grand historical tradition of Geoffrey that provided the English with a glorified history to rival that of the Romans, and the more accurate and certainly less flattering chronicles of Camden and Holinshed, based in large measure on Roman historians. The appeal of Geoffrey’s version is certainly clear. By using Geoffrey, King Arthur’s lineage could be traced directly to Elizabeth, thereby giving her a mythic and more illustrious historical background. In addition, she inherits a more solid foundation for her authority to rule, often in question during her reign. While no history existed at the time which refuted the existence of Brutus and Arthur, Camden’s discovery of Roman Britain made Geoffrey’s claims suspect and vulnerable to attack.17 Spenser was forced to make a decision about which “version” of history to use in order to depict England and Elizabeth most favorably, knowing both decisions had consequences. If he chose Geoffrey, his reliance on a text with questionable historical accuracy would necessarily implicate his epic as well. This option was unacceptable for one who claims to be a “poet historicall,” as Spenser does in his Letter to Raleigh. Choosing Camden’s chronicle and the discovery of Roman Britain, however, meant acknowledging “beyond question that the Britons were a nation of savages, who had no recorded history of their own, and who were no match at all for the Romans.”18 Given Spenser’s attitudes toward the “savages” of Ireland as expressed in The View, Spenser didn’t care for this option either. As such, he took bits from both to suit his needs, which, of course, adds another layer of artificiality and deterioration from the real. In her still unrivaled analysis on the subject of Spenser’s chronicles, Mary Ann Harper writes: As Queene Elizabeth is supposed by Spenser to be descended from Prince Arthur and that “royall maid of yore,” Britomart, the ancestors of Arthur and the descendents of Britomart are both in the Queen’s ancestral line, and to chronicle their history was a tribute to the Queen.19
One of Spenser’s central objectives, apart from fashioning “a gentleman or noble person,” was to flatter his queen to the point that she endowed him with her favor, not to mention her purse. As such, Spenser had to balance the credibility of his historiography, as “poet historicall,” with the need to ingratiate himself toward Elizabeth.
Even more important in Spenser’s manipulation of history than honoring the lineage of Elizabeth, however, was honoring Western civilization itself. In a fascinating, in-depth study of the historical myth of Aeneas and its lasting effect on European civilization, Richard Waswo offers an analysis of why the myth of Aeneas died such a hard death. He begins by arguing for the influence of literature on history and civilization itself: I shall here propose that the founding legend of Western civilization—the descent from Troy—in its literary retellings from Virgil to the sixteenth century shaped the actual behavior of Europeans and Americans in their subsequent contact with other, newly “discovered” cultures.20
Waswo goes on to explain how a Trojan history allowed Renaissance Europe to see its origins as contemporary to, and not “dependent on the imperial Rome it so ambivalently admired.”21 He argues that the legend is one of a journey that presents civilization as coming from elsewhere, namely exiles (or “culture-bringers”) from the east to the west, and that the very nature and definition of civilization is the city. The city, Waswo posits, with its ever-present walls and towers, required a particular methodology with respect to agriculture: Etymologically, civilization and civility both depend on belonging to a city (civis, civilis—citizen, polite; civitas, civilitas—citizenship, courtesy). Cities are literally what qualify us as civilized, and they require a particular organization of food production . . . a surplus of cereal grains, which permits the congregation of people in cities and their division into specialized occupations.22
This is the key point in Waswo’s essay for the purposes of my argument. If the presence of a city is what defined a group as “civilized” (and Geoffrey’s history bases itself on the Aeneas myth, which perpetuates such a notion), then “that honorific designation” of “civilized” is inapplicable to other modes mentioned by Waswo, particularly that of the “nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralism.”23 From this we can conclude that through his selective use of history and myth Spenser was in fact civilizing his own western world by having it come from a more civilized place—that is to say, some “other” place. Waswo argues that literature’s effect is beyond that of mimesis; it is “rather a determination of our consciousness, a control of perception,”24 which is precisely what Spenser sought to do—to control or “pervert” his readers’ perception of reality in order to paint a more flattering picture of Elizabeth and England itself.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
The reality was that Britain was a land inherited from “savages.” But by manipulating history Spenser has used the legend of Troy to distance native England from its barbaric past and to suggest that the civilized Trojans were their “real” ancestors. In Book II Canto x, Spenser tells us this precisely: “Thy name O soueraine Queene, they realme and race / From this renowmed Prince deriued arre” (II.x.4). Thus, Elizabeth and her ancestors are derived from the Prince, and not from the land itself. Geoffrey, using the Aeneas myth, emphasizes the “culture-bringers,” rather than the savages they displaced. Spenser selectively chooses to focus on the latter, namely the giants: The land, which warlike Britons now possesse, And therein haue their mightie empire raysd, In antique times was saluage wildernesse, Vnpeopled, vmanurd, vnprou’d, vnpraysd, Ne was it island then, ne was it paysd Amid the Ocean waues, ne was it sought Of marchants farre, for profits therin praysd, But was all desolate, and of some thought By sea to haue bene from the Celticke mainland brought. (II.v.5)
And further: They held this land, and with their filthinesse Polluted this same gentle soyle long time: That their owne mother loathd their beastlinesse, And gan abhorre her broods vnkindly crime, All were they borne of her owne natiue slime, Vntill that Brutus anciently deriu’d From royall stocke of old Assaracs line, Driuen by fatall error, here arriu’d, And them of their vniust possession depriu’d. (II.v. 9)
He sets up Britain as a “saluage wildernesse” that has no connection whatsoever to “the land, which warlike Britons now possess” and thereby distances the former inhabitants from the later—and in particular, from the queen. Moreover, his use of “they” in stanza nine implies a clear separation from “us,” as they are Other, and thus not a part of English ancestry. The former inhabitants were “hideous Giants, and halfe beastly men, / That never tasted grace, nor goodnesse felt” (II.x.6). This, in fact, is in sharp contrast to Spenser’s description of Elizabeth in the Proem to Book I, wherein she is described as the very
“Mirrour of grace and Maiestie diuine” (I.Proem.4). Through Spenser’s use of historical myth and fact, he has twisted or “perverted” a “profound reality.” Spenser recognizes the truth of Sidney’s assertion that, contra the historian, “the poet, with that same hand of delight, doth draw the mind more effectually than any other art doth.”25 He thus uses the skill of a poet to refract the reflection of reality to serve his own ends.
Phase III In the third phase, I want to examine The Faerie Queene as an historical document on the metanarrative level. If we look briefly outside the text, from an historical perspective, we see how Spenser’s use and manipulation of history “masks the absence of a basic reality.” Baudrillard refers to this as the level that “plays at being an appearance: it is the order of sorcery.”26 This too has been suggested in classical literary criticism, namely by Plutarch. In Moralia, Plutarch discusses how a young man ought to listen to poetry: But he who does not forget, but always keeps in mind the tricks of poetry in telling lies, will say to it at every turn, ‘O clever device, whose hide is more varied than the lynx’s, why when joking do you deceive with a serious brow, pretending to tell the truth?27
For Spenser, poetry is a “clever device” that attempts to sweeten a history of Britain that he well knows does not exist. To better understand this notion, we need to look at Spenser’s chronicles as a project in ethnology. Baudrillard presents a pessimistic view of modern science and argues that modern scientific study is the destruction of the subject under scrutiny. He uses museums as an example, which, he suggests, seek to “preserve” a real past (with all the puns on “pre-serve” intended), which is thereby destroyed in the very act of preservation. Baudrillard sees this type of scientific inquiry as similar in some respects to the metaphysical theory of Schrodinger’s Cat, which states, quite roughly, that when observing subatomic particles, the act of observation has a necessary effect on the outcome of the experiment. He argues that the mummy of Ramses II is only “real” if left in tact, never found, never observed, left entirely unmolested: Mummies don’t rot from worms: they die from being transplanted from a slow order of the symbolic, master over putrefaction and death, to an order of history, science, and museums, our order, which no longer masters
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anything, which only knows how to condemn what preceded it to decay and death and subsequently to try to revive it with science.28
In order for the past to remain “real” it must remain in the past; in a sense, it must stay lost. By objectifying it, boxing it up, and repackaging it for modern consumption, we render the past a fiction, endlessly copy it, and adorn our walls, halls, homes, and bodies with the simulacra thereof. This is precisely what Spenser does with the history of Britain. He attempts to categorize, historicize, and segment the past by chronologizing and relegating it to the confined and stifling pages of a book, as British archeologists did with the Pharaohs, removing them from their tombs and “preserving” them in museums. This radical act of violence renders the past a simulacrum of the third order. Baudrillard writes, “Our entire linear and accumulative culture collapses if we cannot stockpile the past in plain view.”29 We can see this notion in Spenser’s chronicle: without building or manufacturing a past to be used as a foundation for the present, Spenser’s Faerie Land collapses. It becomes, much like the House of Pride, which has no foundation, A stately palace built of squared bricke, Which cunningly was without mortar laid, Whose wals were high, but nothing strong, nor thick. (I.iv.4)
The chronicles of the history of British monarchs are necessary to mask the fact that there is no real history of British monarchs at which to point. There is no referent; the poem masks “the absence of a profound reality.”30 Or, to use Spenser’s own aptly Baudrillardian sentiments, That all this famous antique history, Of some th’aboundance of an idle braine Will iudged be, and painted forgery, Rather then matter of iust memory, Sith none, that breatheth liuing aire, does know, Where is that happy land of Faery, Which I so much do vaunt, yet no where show, 31 But vouch antiquities, which no body can know. (II.Proem.1)
Here Spenser might presage critics of his liberal use of history. He recognizes that his version of history is a product of an “idle braine” and will be deemed a “painted forgery,” but he capitulates that history is
something that, without Euemnestes’ memory, nobody can know because the “real” has become too distant, too distorted. History itself must be reconstructed because there is no one to remember it; the records have become too abstract, and we can no longer distinguish them from the real they seek to represent.
Phase IV The final phase of the image is the phase of simulation. Interacting in the realm of the hyperreal is akin to living in a Las Vegas casino. Las Vegas gives the impression of walking through the four corners of the globe, in which everyone is playing a part, but where everything is synthetic, everything a copy. That is essentially what Spenser has created in his “historicall fiction,” albeit far more intelligent and eloquently constructed than anything Vegas has yet produced. The result of the third phase, which informs us of the absence of the real, progresses naturally to this fourth phase wherein the truth has been concealed and copied over so many times that it can no longer be deciphered. As Sidney again reminds us, The historian scarcely giveth leisure to the moralist to say so much, but that he, loaden with old mouse-eaten records, authorizing himself (for the most part) upon other histories, whose greatest authorities are built upon the notable foundation of hearsay, having much ado to accord differing writers, and to pick truth out of partiality.32
Sidney predicted both the difficulty Spenser would have in constructing his “historicall fiction” and the endless reliance upon “hearsay” and “other histories” which perpetuated a false sense of belonging on the part of the English people. From the horrifying perspective that history cannot be traced, a lineage cannot be followed, we recognize the real has vanished and must face the reality that there is none. History has become fiction and fiction has become history, people have become myths and myths have become people, which we began to see in the preceding phase. The Faerie Queene, for all its brilliance, originality, beauty, is in essence a reproduction. It is The Aeneid, Metamorphoses, The Canterbury Tales, Orlando Furioso, The Decameron, the Bible, and yet it is none of these. It is a copy of a copy, traceable to an ever-shrouded real that cannot be recovered. It is a product of literary and historical invention and imagination, a map that precedes its territory. As Richard Waswo reminds us, “the languages we speak determine how we know the world, so the stories those languages tell determine how we act in it.”33 If we accept that
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literature influences and impacts reality, then Spenser’s sixteenth-century “reality” was influenced by and sought to emulate a copy that preceeded and determined that reality. Baudrillard writes, “When the real is no longer what it used to be, nostalgia assumes its full meaning. There is a proliferation of myths of origin and signs of reality, of second-hand truth, objectivity, and authenticity.”34 The “proliferation of myths” was rampant during Spenser’s lifetime. The battle among the historians of Britain and Rome concerning the “real” history of the British people engendered a variety of historical narratives based in some part on historical fact, and in other part on legend and myth. What remained was uncertainty—in other words, the death of the real. When we are faced with the death of the real, the only turn to make is a desperate one, to nostalgia—a longing for the real that no longer exists, or, in this case, that never existed. A close examination of The Faerie Queene reveals the nostalgia that Spenser has engendered in himself and his reader through his own realization that the history of Britain is untraceable. It is a copy of something that never existed, and it has become its own simulacrum. Nostalgia is ubiquitous in much of Spenser’s writing. As E.K. notes in The Shepherd’s Calendar, Spenser follow[ed] the example of the best and most auncient poetes, which devised this kind of writing, being both so base for the matter and homely for the manner, at the first to trye theyr habilities, and, as young birdes that be newly crept out of the nest, by little first to prove theyr tender wings, before they make a greater flight.35
E.K. informs us of the need for youthful poets to try their hands at the “base” and “homely,” in other words, the pastoral (with emphasis on “past”), before “they make a greater flight.” Nostalgia is manifest throughout The Faerie Queene as well. From the epic form itself, Spenser immediately “thrusteth” us into the “middest,” which is to say into the realm of history. The historical and literary references to the likes of Virgil, Tasso, Ovid, Boccaccio, Homer, Ariosto, Chaucer, and the Bible all imply or suggest nostalgia. There are specific instances where the poet speaks directly to this notion of nostalgia for the real. In the Proem to Book I, the poet pleads to his “holy virgin chiefe of nyne,” and asks that she Lay forth out of thine euerlasting scryne The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still, Of Faerie knights and fayrest Tanaquill, Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill,
Chapter Six That I must rue his vndeserued wrong: O help though my weake wit, and sharpen my dull tong. (I.Proem.2)
From the very beginning of the poem, we see an appeal to the “antique rolles” of the past wherein Spenser is expressing nostalgia for a long-lost world of faeries and princes that never really was. The ideas of memory and nostalgia present themselves again in Book II.ix in the figure of Euemnestes. In striking contrast to the frail foundation of the House of Pride, his chamber, wherein memory resides, seemed ruinous and old, And therefore was remoued far behind, Yet were the wals, that did the same vphold, Right firme and strong. (II.ix.55)
This is a house, though worn with time, that is solid and in no danger of collapse. Spenser must create such an edifice for memory in Canto IX, to prepare for the rigors of Canto X which require him to recall, “the famous auncestryes / Of my most dreaded Soueraigne” (II.x.1). Another example of overt nostalgia appears earlier in Book IV: Which who so list looke backe to former ages, And call to count the things that then were donne, Shall find, that all the workes of those wise sages, And braue exploits which great Heroes wonne, In loue were either ended or begunne: Witnesse the father of Philosophie, Which to his Critias, shaded oft from sunne, Of loue full manie lessons did apply, The which these Stoicke censours cannot well deny. (IV.Proem.3)
In making his argument against the criticisms of Lord Burghley, who apparently did not hold the topic of courtly love as one worthy of consideration, Spenser retorts with a reminder of the “wise sages” and “great Heroes” of the ancient past, all of whose exploits began and ended with love. From Baudrillard’s perspective, this sentimental romanticizing of the golden age is a desperate attempt to cling to a fanciful past, filled with heroes and sages that never existed. Rather than romanticizing history, Baudrillard would likely remind us of the unjust sacrificial death of the “father of Philosophie,” (Socrates) at the hands of the citizens of Greece, or the bloody history of Europe, especially the many violent
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usurpations of the English throne, or to use Spenser’s own words, the “Second Brute” who With his victour sword first opened, The bowels of wide Fraunce, a forlorne Dame, And taught her first how to be conquered; Since which, with sondrie spoiles she hath bene ransacked.
(II.x.23) While Spenser does not mask or shun violence in his poem, his view of the past is certainly a romantic and fanciful one. Interestingly, it is the Proem to Book V, the book that most closely parallels historical fact, where we see the most powerful example of nostalgia for the real. By putting this homage to the past in the beginning of a book about the present, Spenser keenly demonstrates his discontent with the modern world and thus his nostalgia for a past he is convinced really existed: So oft as I with state of present time, The image of the antique world compare, When as mans age was in his freshest prime, And the first blossome of faire vertue bare, Such oddes I finde twixt those, and these which are, As that, through long continuance of his course, Me seemes the world is runne quite out of square, From the first point of his appointed sourse, And being once amisse growes daily wourse and wourse. (V.Proem.1)
Spenser immediately begins the book with a comparison between his world and that of the past, and offers a harsh judgment of his own reality. He sets up the contrast as one between a time when “mans age was in his freshest prime” and a “world . . . runne quite out of square” that “growes daily wourse and wourse.” Spenser’s world has evidently fallen into ruin. In the next stanza he laments the loss of the golden age and concedes that his is a “stonie one” (V.Proem.2). He pines for the men “form’d of flesh and bone” (V.Proem.2.4), as opposed to those “now transformed into hardest stone,” whose likes he recreates in the characters of False Florimell and Talus, characters without feeling, without “flesh and bone.” Spenser fancies the heroes of the past as somehow more “real” than his contemporaries, “for th’antique world excess and pryde did hate” (I.xii.14.8). The fourth stanza of the Proem proves most telling for my purposes:
Chapter Six For that which all men then did vertue call, Is now cald vice; and that which vice was hight, Is now hight vertue, and so vs’d of all: Right now is wrong, and wrong that was is right, As all things else in time are chaunged quight. Ne wonder; for the heauens reuolution Is wandred farre from where it first was pight, And so doe make contrarie constitution Of all this lower world, toward his dissolution. (V.Proem.4)
What Spenser has done here is created a subversive reality wherein the moral and ethical standards are the inverse of those found in sixteenthcentury England. Everything is a mirrored reflection of the past, but all has been refracted and inverted so as to somehow “perfect” the past, using the standards of his day as a comparison. The universe itself has become unhinged. Whatever ills he conceives in the present day were non-existent in the golden age. From the most basic assertion, “Right is now wrong, and wrong that was is right,” Spenser indicates his uncompromising glorification of the past and his blind nostalgia for a world that never existed. He puts the past on a pedestal, to which it can never live up, not even in the fictional chronicles of Geoffrey. It is at this moment that Spenser has become, to paraphrase Baudrillard, hysterically nostalgic for the real that is lost forever. The world of The Faerie Queene is a composite mixture of fact and fiction, of history and art. It is this very fact that makes it an ideal means of expression for the simulacrum. Spenser, paying homage to Aristotle and Sidney, sought at the same time to mimic, dilate, and magnify the world through his poetry. In doing so, he found himself bound and simultaneously freed by the nature of fiction. In his allegorical reconstruction of historical events, he was free to mix fact with fiction for his own purpose. He could select from the “hearsay” of both historians and poets. Conversely, in allegorizing real people he was forced at times to multiply them in order to more accurately depict their multiplicities. In his homage to the golden age, both literarily and historically, Spenser seems to have been caught up in his own nostalgia for a past that never really was, a past that his poem actually creates.
Part III Departures from the Orthodox: Re-imaging Convention and Cultural Practices
CHAPTER SEVEN TAKING MARY’S PULSE: CARTESIANISM AND MODERNITY IN REMBRANDT’S THE DEATH OF THE VIRGIN ELISSA AUERBACH Rembrandt’s etching and drypoint, The Death of the Virgin, signed and dated 1639, captures the early seventeenth-century religious and scientific attitudes toward Mary and Marian devotion, dying rituals, and the perception of the soul in the Dutch Republic (fig. 7-1).1 In an unprecedented manner, Rembrandt depicts the dramatic moment of Mary’s death known as the Transitus Matris Dei (transition of the mother of God), usually referred to as her Dormition, Koimesis, or falling asleep.2 The print features Mary lying in repose on an elaborately carved canopied bed flanked on both sides by at least twenty attendants. Thick curtains enclosing the death chamber at the right disappear into brilliant celestial clouds overhead that bear floating angels gazing upon Mary’s lifeless body. A solemn doctor in the center of the composition, the only figure to have direct bodily contact with Mary, authoritatively holds her wrist to monitor her pulse while the throng of male and female witnesses mourn, pray, and in other ways preoccupy themselves around Mary’s bed. Through Rembrandt’s manipulation of the effects afforded by the sharp point of his burin, he converts the dying body of Mary from a corporeal being into a faint, immaterialized entity. Mary’s unearthly form dispels any of the corporeal affinities with the witnesses surrounding her, which implies the imminent division of her body and soul at the moment of her heavenly resurrection. The Death of the Virgin’s easily recognizable biblical subject epitomizes the premodern world and its preoccupation with theological doctrine, superstition, and religious faith. On the other hand, the print’s iconographic meaning demonstrates an engagement with secularization, individualism, rationalization, empiricism, and open debate––central tenets of modernity that evolved in the early seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. The image manifests specific pioneering ideas associated with
Fig. 7-1 Rembrandt van Rijn, The Death of the Virgin, 1639. Etching and drypoint, 40.8 x 31.4 cm. Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Rosenwald Collection, Image © 2007 Board of Trustees.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
modernity, namely that of the French philosopher René Descartes, that surfaced in the Republic in the mid-1630s as part of the scientific revolution. Rembrandt stages a relatively secular scene by placing a stern, respectable doctor––unprecedented in Dormition imagery––at the focal point of the composition. He also transforms the sacred space of Mary’s death chamber into a setting completely devoid of any Roman Catholic or Protestant confessional motifs that one would expect in an image of the Dormition produced in the Calvinist-dominated Northern Netherlands. The doctor and the secular space depicted in the print suggest innovative, contemporary attitudes toward science, meaning an empirical and mechanical method of systematically examining the world in separate fields including biology, medicine, mathematics, and rational philosophy. Moreover, while the Dormition served as a popular subject for medieval and Renaissance artists, the death of Mary had fallen out of fashion in the seventeenth century in the wake of the Reformation.3 By 1639 the subject was atypical in European art. Rembrandt’s decision to depict the Dormition, a highly unusual choice of subject considering its traditional religious connotations, further underscores the print’s unconventional iconography. Three distinct elements of Rembrandt’s composition stand apart from every other extant scene of the Dormition produced by 1639: the ethereal portrayal of Mary, the effect of which underscores the primacy of her soul over her physical form; the complete omission of standard liturgical objects or motifs associated with either Catholic or Protestant deathbed scenes; and the doctor––a signifier of reason and empirical science–– presiding in the center of the image. Combined together in a work based on the quintessentially Roman Catholic narrative of Mary’s death, these three remarkable traits create a thoroughly modern approach to the subject. Rembrandt’s unique iconographic modifications to Mary’s death, therefore, ultimately convey the inherent tension in modernity between tradition and progress that developed in the early seventeenth century, as well as Europe’s gradual cultural shift from religiosity to secularism. That is, Rembrandt’s conception of Mary’s death intertwines traditional notions of Catholicism with the seventeenth-century intellectual climate that grew out of the scientific revolution.4
The Reception of Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin Rembrandt’s unparalleled convergence of the sacred and secular realms in The Death of the Virgin could conceivably have erupted into a theological controversy about the presentation of Mary. Evidence suggests, however, that audiences reacted positively to the image. The Death of the Virgin measures more than 16 by 12 inches––one of the eight largest extant prints the artist produced.5 This work’s commanding physical presence and intricacy of detail alone would have made it an expensive and prized purchase for Rembrandt’s discerning print collectors. The print’s monumental size and the multiple impressions that Rembrandt made of its copperplate on at least four separate occasions indicate not only the image’s significance to the artist but also the immense popularity it must have had among his patrons.6 From this evidence we can deduce that Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin would have drawn interest from a fertile market of art enthusiasts as well as intellectuals, scientists, philosophers, and liberal-minded religious audiences that would have appealed to the image’s relative secularization of a traditional religious image.7 Most scholars maintain without question that Rembrandt intended his print for Catholic patrons regardless of its unusual subject and the artist’s highly unorthodox iconographic modifications.8 Given the fact that the Dormition and Assumption were firmly entrenched in Roman Catholic art and devotion, and that Protestants staunchly opposed Mary’s resurrection due to its derivation from the apocrypha, such an interpretation of Rembrandt’s audience seems likely. Despite the general consensus among scholars, however, The Death of the Virgin does not, in fact, represent a traditional theological interpretation of Mary’s death.9 Rembrandt’s print clearly sets aside a singular Roman Catholic interpretation of Mary’s death by modifying and/or omitting standard iconographic motifs of the Dormition, which would not have appealed specifically to orthodox Catholic viewers. In turn, the print’s apocryphal subject and iconographic elements reminiscent of Catholic theological doctrine would not have appealed to orthodox Protestants either. Rembrandt’s adventurous experimentation with the death of Mary’s traditional iconographic representation, made affordable by the private nature of his print medium, counters all of the theme’s literary and pictorial precedents, as well as its theological significance. An examination of the image within its seventeenth-century cultural context can reveal its fullest meaning.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
The Theological Meaning of the Dormition and Its Literary and Pictorial Tradition Evidence of modernity’s mark in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin lies in the way in which the image presents a non-theological account of Mary’s death. Rembrandt’s removal of Roman Catholic signs and symbols included in all of the theme’s extant literary and pictorial precedents, and the conspicuous placement of the secular doctor whose role as a medical practitioner is out of place in a biblical narrative, call into question the print’s confessional proclivity. According to Roman Catholic theological doctrine, Mary and Christ are the only two figures to experience a corporeal assumption in both body and soul, which became a serious point of contention between Catholics and Protestants after the sixteenth century.10 Protestants firmly denied Mary’s Assumption as ahistorical. Luther asserted that “the feast of the Assumption is totally papist, full of idolatry and without foundation in the Scriptures. But we, even though Mary has gone to heaven, should not bother about how she went there.”11 For Roman Catholics, however, Mary’s corporeal assumption serves as crucial evidence to three underlying tenets of Catholicism: the validation of Mary’s perfection, the nature of Christ and his incarnation, and the transcendence of God. The division of Mary’s body and soul at her death and their subsequent reunification in heaven functions for Catholics as a basic and necessary principle of Christianity. The heated theological debates between Protestants and Catholics about Mary’s death and glorification in heaven suggest the timeliness of Rembrandt’s print, yet the debates do not explain his unusual iconographic modifications to the subject’s literary and pictorial tradition. The original theological understanding of Mary’s death as symbolic of her corporeal and spiritual assumption in heaven was an established theme in art from the Byzantine period onwards. The chronicle of Mary’s death, the Transitus Mariae (transition of Mary), derives from more than sixtyfour apocryphal texts that date from the second century.12 Jacobus de Voraigne’s hagiographic handbook, Legenda aurea (Golden Legend), 1255-1266, served as one of the most popular compilations of the apocrypha for artists since the Middle Ages and stands, thus, as a likely literary source for Rembrandt’s print.13 The concern over Mary’s soul after her death takes precedence in the Legenda aurea over all of the events of her last days; the entire narrative is framed with the understanding that first her soul and then her body would be assumed miraculously into heaven.
The Legenda aurea begins the account of the Dormition with an angel who informs Mary of her coming death by handing her a palm branch and concludes with the process of her assumption, recounting, “Then Mary’s soul went forth from her body and flew to the arms of her Son and was spared all bodily pain, just as it had been innocent of all corruption.”14 Christ said to Mary at the moment of her resurrection: “As you never knew the stain of sin through carnal intercourse, so you shall never suffer dissolution of the flesh in the tomb.”15 The narrative culminates with Mary’s complete assumption “in soul and body,” stating, “Thereupon Mary’s soul entered her body, and she came forth glorious from the monument and was assumed into the heavenly bridal chamber, a great multitude of angels keeping her company.”16 Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin contains many of the essential elements of the Dormition described in the Legenda aurea, including angels, female mourners, and male figures that may represent the prophets, martyrs, confessors, and the apostles mentioned in the legend.17 The print also depicts a striking long-haired male figure wearing a light-colored apostolic togate robe with outstretched arms in the christological pose to the right of Mary’s bed. The figure should be identified as Christ––the single most integral participant in Mary’s Assumption––because he appears nearly identical in some combination of his distinguished pose, long, flowing hair, and garments to almost every other rendering of Christ produced by Rembrandt before and after he etched Dormition, such as in Christ Healing the Sick (“The Hundred Guilder Print”), ca. 1639-49.18 The juxtaposition of Christ with a female figure, Mary, lying in repose on her bed enables the viewer to readily interpret Rembrandt’s image as a Dormition scene familiar in the Roman Catholic pictorial tradition, which makes the image’s strange and unexpected iconographic modifications more conspicuous. Unlike Rembrandt’s print, seventeenth-century depictions of the Dormition, though few in number, maintain the dependence upon a formulaic depiction of the theme. In the popular and richly illustrated Jesuit devotional manual, Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis (Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary), published in 1652 in Antwerp, for example, the book’s printmakers, Theodor Galle and Carel de Mallery, represent Mary in repose on her canopied deathbed surrounded by the twelve apostles (fig. 7-2).19 The apostles in the Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Dormition hold devotional objects necessary for the administration of the last sacraments, including a prominent liturgical cross, open prayer books, an aspergillum for sprinkling holy water, and a long burning taper. Rembrandt omits most of these motifs from his print, which underscores
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
his unprecedented iconographic treatment of the theme. The artist incorporated only one recurring motif in his print: an open prayer book read by a seated male figure, who wears a turban and exotic cape with his reading glasses held off to the left side.20 Oversized books are a common trope in religious imagery, including that by Rembrandt; thus the motif does not make a strong case for a relationship between the print and the pictorial tradition of the Dormition.21
Fig. 7-2 Theodor Galle and Carel de Mallery, The Death of the Virgin, illustration from Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, Nuper reformatum, & Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editum: ad instar Breviarii Romani sub Urbano VIII. Recogniti, Antwerp, 1652. Engraving. Dayton, Ohio, University of Dayton, Rare Book Collection of The Marian Library.
The subsequent pages of Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis illustrate the final stages of Mary’s Assumption, some of which Rembrandt alludes to in his print. In the image immediately following Mary’s death, the scene of her burial procession depicts Mary with rays of light that emanate from her body, which signify the continued unification of her body and soul (fig. 73). In comparison with Rembrandt’s print, Mary’s body in Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis during and after her death retains its distinct corporeality, unlike Rembrandt’s ephemeral body of Mary that loses its corporeality while still in the death chamber. An image of Mary’s Assumption follows the burial scene in the sequences of pages in the Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis wherein angels and winged putti heads carry Mary upward on a large cloud, which shares similarities with the celestial apparition in Rembrandt’s print that hovers over Mary’s bed (fig. 7-4). By alluding to the separate events of Mary’s death, burial, and assumption in one composition, Rembrandt captures the orthodox Roman Catholic emphasis on Mary’s corporeal and spiritual assumption, which in turn validates her perfection and underscores the Church’s primary role for Mary as the Queen of Heaven.22 At the same time, Rembrandt’s omission and modification of figures and objects from the apocrypha and the Fig. 7-3 Theodor Galle and Carel de Mallery, The Burial of the Virgin, illustration from Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, Nuper reformatum, & Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editum: ad instar Breviarii Romani sub Urbano VIII. Recogniti, Antwerp, 1652. Engraving. Dayton, Ohio, University of Dayton, Rare Book Col-lection of The Marian Library.
Fig. 7-4 Theodor Galle and Carel de Mallery, The Assumption of the Virgin, illustration from Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, Nuper reformatum, & Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editum: ad instar Breviarii Romani sub Urbano VIII. Recogniti, Antwerp, 1652. Engraving. Dayton, Ohio, University of Dayton, Rare Book Collection of The Marian Library.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
theme’s pictorial precedents undermine the Roman Catholic view of Mary’s death. While Mary’s elevated status in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin subscribes to Catholic doctrine regarding her holiness, Rembrandt deCatholicizes the prescribed pictorial approach to Mary’s Dormition in two fundamental ways. First, and most obvious, the eleven male figures in the scene, including the doctor, do not convincingly represent the united twelve, or even thirteen, apostles. The male figures scattered throughout the composition share no affinity to one another in their facial appearance, dress, or behavior to suggest that they are apostles. Neither the long-haired male wearing a hat in the far left of the composition, barely visible behind the priestly figure, nor another in the far right who crouches in the shadow of the curtain play a significant role in the composition as do the apostles in the written legends and pictorial tradition of the Dormition. Second, Rembrandt manipulates or omits the Dormition’s standard iconographic motifs from his print. The tall knobby staff held by the tonsured servant in the left foreground does not resemble a Christian cross as observed in Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, or even a typical crosier, surplice, stole, and the two-point miter of a bishop such as those featured in an etching of Saint Willibrord, the first bishop of Utrecht, and the ruins of the Chapel of Our Lady in Time of Need near Heiloo (fig. 7-5). Willibrord, portrayed in the print with a sharply pointed miter and a curved pastoral staff, reportedly performed a miracle at the site in the late seventh century where the chapel was later built. The Catholic ruins were eventually destroyed in 1637––two years before Rembrandt etched his print of Mary’s death––underscoring the artist’s unusual treatment of the
Fig. 7-5 The Chapel of Our Lady in Time of Need near Heiloo with Saint Willebrord, illustration from Richard Verstegen, Antiquitates Belgicae of Nederlandsche Oudtheden, Amsterdam, 1700. Etching. Leiden, Print Room, Leiden University Library, PK-P-123.106.
liturgical garments in his composition given the recent attention called to Heiloo’s Marian shrine.23 Rembrandt’s peculiar design of the priestly figure’s surplice and the odd curvature and decoration of his quasi-miter, like the strange shape of the tall knobby staff, inaccurately represent typical seventeenth-century Roman Catholic liturgical objects. Rembrandt exaggerates the appearance of these objects as if to absolve the figures of their sanctity. The artist’s omission or distortion of Catholic signs and symbols in his print therefore suggests that the print would not have appealed to, and could perhaps have even offended, orthodox Roman Catholic audiences. Rembrandt’s print fundamentally disregards the Dormition narrative from the Legenda aurea and its conventional pictorial representation, which forces the viewer to consider other influences for the artist’s unusual iconographic modifications.
Artistic Precedents to The Death of the Virgin Rembrandt’s Dormition print, by virtue of the secular doctor and contemporary Dutch figures in Mary’s death chamber that secularize the scene, recalls the Roman Catholic dying rituals outlined and illustrated in the ars moriendi (art of dying) manuals for guidance in obtaining a proper Christian death. The ars moriendi had been one of the most popular literary genres and subjects for printmakers in the fifteenth century, which the Jesuits revived by publishing 150 books on the subject between 1540 and 1700.24 The popularity of the manuals coincided with shifting practices in death and dying among Catholics and Protestants in the postReformation period. The renewed interest in the ars moriendi by the time of Rembrandt’s print could have served as an impetus for him to refashion the subject of Mary’s death for his audience, which by 1639 artists only rarely depicted. The central theme of the ars moriendi manuals focuses on the governance of the soul during life and after death, as is the case with the Roman Catholic theological meaning of Mary’s death and with images of the apocryphal legend, like Rembrandt’s print. Rembrandt’s emphasis on Mary’s soul as opposed to a faithful transcription of the events of her death chronicled in the narrative point to the artist’s concern with contemporary attitudes toward the soul, as found in the ars moriendi, rather than with an archaizing depiction of the Dormition. To achieve the proper death and salvation for the soul, the ars moriendi emphasize the critical nature of the last sacraments of baptism, confession with contrition, communion, and extreme unction.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
One of the most popular of the ars moriendi in the seventeenth century, De arte bene moriendi (The Art of Dying Well) by the Italian Jesuit Cardinal, Roberto Bellarmine, was reprinted in the remarkable number of fifty-six editions that were translated into ten different languages including Dutch.25 Bellarmine’s book would easily have been available to Rembrandt in its 1626 edition published by Willem Jansz. Blaeu, the well-known Catholic publisher and bookseller in Amsterdam where the artist also lived at the time he etched The Death of the Virgin.26 Bellarmine’s book underscored his central message on death in an illustration in the book’s Dutch edition: salvation for the soul can only be achieved by receiving extreme unction, the last sacrament, “as death draws near” (fig. 7-6).27 The woodcut depicts a priest administering the final sacraments to a male figure lying in a canopied bed in the company of mourners, burning tapers, two crucifixes, and other liturgical objects.
Fig. 7-6 Theodor Matham, As Death Draws Near, illustration from Roberti Francesco Romolo Bellarmino, De arte bene moriendi libri dvo, Amsterdam, 1626. Engraving. Boston, Boston College, John J. Burns Library.
Bellarmine discusses extreme unction in several chapters of the book, emphasizing that a priest must administer the sacrament before one’s death while faithful friends mourn with prayers and tears at the deathbed.28 Rembrandt’s etching, like Bellarmine’s woodcut, places standing and kneeling figures participating in a dying ritual around the canopied bed in a darkened interior space, albeit one without the recognizable Catholic liturgical objects for extreme unction we find in the Jesuit manual. Rembrandt’s print also depicts the outwardly expressive piety and grief for the dying that Catholics believed aided in salvation at the time of death, as illustrated in Bellarmine’s book. Rembrandt filled his composition with weeping women who hold handkerchiefs to their faces, a large prayer book, and male figures dressed in the guise of clerics––all of which would have been required in compliance with proscribed Catholic dying rituals.29 Rembrandt’s print, however, lacks the key ingredient necessary for it to function as a traditional Catholic-sanctioned scene of Mary’s death: the liturgical objects, authentic clerics, and cloth related to the last sacrament of extreme unction. The administration of extreme unction requires a priest dressed in a surplice and stole to sprinkle or daub with his thumb holy water or oil on the dying person’s five body parts that are gateways to the senses, such as the eyes, ears, and mouth, before wiping the oil from the body with a wool cloth.30 During extreme unction, the dying person typically grips a burning taper and the death chamber is decorated with a crucifix––objects recognized as “channels of divinity,” as in the 1652 Jesuit manual, Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis (fig. 7-2).31 The ambiguity with which viewers are left in Rembrandt’s image, therefore, further removes the print from the context of the Dormition’s pictorial representation as well as contemporary Catholic dying rituals in the ars moriendi.32 While Rembrandt’s print cannot be considered Catholic in its iconography, it does not fit into lockstep with a Protestant theological paradigm either. Protestant viewers of Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin, especially Calvinists, would have abhorred certain figures and their behavior associated with Catholic dying rituals, such as the priestly figure, tonsured servant, and the mourning women. Rembrandt’s Protestant audience could have appreciated, for example, his distortion of the crucifix into a knobby staff, but the recognizable apocryphal subject of Mary’s death and the Catholicized death rituals taking place in the scene had no place in Protestant liturgy, devotion, or theological doctrine.33 Dutch Calvinist rituals abided by strict rules of emotional restraint while dying or mourning and they removed any ostentatious display of material objects of devotion to the saints at the deathbed. Furthermore, Calvinists forbade
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
mourners from openly grieving with the dying person and the practice of burning candles at the deathbed.34 Rembrandt’s print also depicts male figures in the guise of Roman Catholic clerics wearing ornate vestments that conceivably would be present in a death chamber to administer extreme unction, which Calvinists prohibited in dying rituals.35 The interpretative meaning of Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin, therefore, cannot be categorized as Catholic or Protestant, nor can it function purely as a devotional print or a didactic image of seventeenth-century dying rituals. Most scholars unfairly disregard Rembrandt’s modifications to the liturgical meaning of the print as mere anomalies that reflect the artist’s eccentricities and instead attribute his choice of subject to artistic influences, which only sheds partial light on the meaning of the print. Scholars have consistently relied, unconvincingly, on three artistic precedents to explain Rembrandt’s choice and conception of Mary’s death. First, several speculate that Rembrandt’s inspiration derived from the anticipation of his mother’s death in 1640 and the death of his wife, Saskia, who was bedridden due to pregnancy and illness from 1635 until she died in 1642. Rembrandt produced numerous prints and sketches of Saskia at this time that he quite likely used as models for the figure of Mary in the Dormition, such as the pen and ink drawing Saskia Lying in Bed, ca. 1638 (fig. 7-7). Studies of Saskia and other images related to death from this period may have prompted Rembrandt to contemplate the theme of death and facilitated the pose of Mary’s body, but they could not have informed the print’s larger iconographic program.
Fig. 7-7 Rembrandt van Rijn, Saskia Lying in Bed, ca. 1638. Pen and ink, brush with brown wash on paper. Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, Image © 2007 Board of Trustees.
Other scholars have more persuasively traced Rembrandt’s print to two sixteenth-century pictorial precedents of which existing evidence proves Rembrandt had certain knowledge: Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut, The Death of the Virgin, 1510, from his series, The Life of the Virgin (fig. 7-8), and Dirck Crabeth’s stained-glass window of Mary’s Dormition in Amsterdam’s Oude Kerk, dated ca. 1561-65 (fig. 7-9).36 Rembrandt purchased numerous sets of Dürer’s series at the Gommer Sprange auction in February 1638, the year before he etched The Death of the Virgin, and he presumably knew Crabeth’s windows because he lived only a short walk from the Oude Kerk.37 The precedents by Dürer and Crabeth might have inspired Rembrandt with certain compositional techniques and iconographic motifs such as the kneeling staff bearer and the priestly figure to Mary’s left. Rembrandt’s conception of the scene, however, has little in common with the works by Dürer and Crabeth in that their images both contain the essential, overtly Catholic iconographic motifs of Mary’s death including the sacrament of extreme unction. Rembrandt’s conspicuous modifications to the scene’s iconography, devoid of any signs of Roman Catholic or Protestant confessionalism, indicate that he did not base his print on literary or pictorial precedent, nor did he conceptualize
Fig. 7-8 Albrecht Dürer, The Death of the Virgin, 1510, from The Life of the Virgin series, 1502-11. Woodcut. Washing-ton, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Rosenwald Collection, Im-age © 2007 Board of Trustees.
Fig. 7-9 Dirck Pietersz. Crabeth, The Death of the Virgin Mary, preparatory drawing for a stained-glass window in the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, ca. 15611565. Brown ink and brown, grey and red wash on paper. Amsterdam, Rijkspren-tenkabinet.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
base his print on literary or pictorial precedent, nor did he conceptualize the print’s subject or its meaning with religious audiences in mind. In light of the artist’s deviations and the inclusion of a secular doctor, Rembrandt’s print instead merits consideration in the context of contemporary intellectual and scientific discourses.
The Role of the Doctor in The Death of the Virgin In Rembrandt’s print, Mary undergoes the process of metamorphosis into an immaterial, light-filled being. The attendance of a secular doctor clothed in seventeenth-century Dutch garb in the composition underscores for the viewer the dramatic dichotomy between the corporeal and incorporeal realms within which Rembrandt situates Mary. The artist boldly positions the familiar doctor-type, a member of the community of medical practitioners and scientists, in the biblical context of Mary’s death chamber. The other witnesses, in sharp contrast, wear markedly strange garments embellished with ornate, brocaded fabrics and tassels. Rembrandt’s association of a Dutch doctor grasping Mary’s wrist amidst the exotically dressed bystanders thus relatively conflates the biblical and the contemporary––the religious and the secular––that define the tensions in early modernity as the prestige of doctors and medicine superseded religious dogma and superstition at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Following the widespread publicity in this decade of the controversial heliocentric theories generated by Copernicus and Galileo, Dutch intellectuals, academics, laypeople, and artists like Rembrandt responded with enthusiasm to the scientific revolution with treatises, new technologies, revised curriculum at universities, and works of art that participated in the updated mode of empirical scientific inquiry. While scholars have rightly addressed the Republic’s Protestant hegemony in general and its relevance to Rembrandt’s print, recent scholarship argues that the seventeenth-century Netherlands supported a vibrant intellectual climate characterized by, and dominated by, the theories of the French philosopher René Descartes. Moreover, Descartes produced his most important theories at a time that coincided with Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin. Building on the significant work of Max Weber and Heinz Schilling, current scholarship by Jonathan Israel, Willem Frijhoff, Marijke Spies, and Martin Prak argues that the birth of the Enlightenment and modernity began not in France or England in the early eighteenth century, but around the year 1650 in the Republic as Descartes’ theories gained a foothold in the Dutch intellectual arena.38 These scholars have all detected in the
Republic’s political and intellectual discourse of free and open debate a nascent Enlightenment culture.39 Politicians, philosophers, theologians, and artists in the Republic aggressively challenged traditional systems of ecclesiastical authority and faith. For Frijhoff and Spies, social debate––an integral part of Dutch identity––provided the vehicle for the remarkable transition to modernity made possible by the freedom of religion in the early seventeenth century. Frijhoff and Spies wrote, “If we want to grasp Dutch culture in the European context at its workaday level, one notion immediately presents itself, namely that of a never-flagging discussion culture shared by all segments and groups of society.”40 Rembrandt’s print, which blatantly criticizes confessional allegiances in its deliberate omission of Catholic or Protestant motifs, functions as a byproduct of the Dutch secular discussion culture and the scientific revolution.41 Throughout the 1630s Rembrandt demonstrated a strong interest in the close, scientific examination of nature in many of his prints, drawings, and paintings, perhaps inspired by the spate of treatises available to him from his local Amsterdam booksellers. Already by 1632 Rembrandt knew the popular anatomy book by Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body), first published in 1543. The artist used Vesalius’ frontispiece as a model for his portrait of Dr. Tulp in The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, presumably at Tulp’s request (fig. 7-10).42
Fig. 7-10 Rembrandt van Rijn, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632. Oil on canvas. The Hague, Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Empiricism and Cartesianism in The Death of the Virgin While the subject of Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin is distinctively religious, the artist approaches its iconography from a scientifically and philosophically enlightened point of view. The print’s prominent sign of science––the doctor––together with the artist’s depiction of the supremacy of Mary’s inner self that he foregrounds over the corporeality of her body evoke the seventeenth-century premise that the mind and its capability of rational inquiry could achieve practical, scientific knowledge. The doctor taking Mary’s pulse in the image evokes seventeenth-century scientific methods of observation and logical reasoning that characterizes Francis Bacon’s Historia vitae et mortis (History of Life and Death), published in a 1637 edition in Leiden two years prior to Rembrandt’s print.43 In his book, Bacon systematically analyzed animate beings in nature––man equally among them––to determine the ways in which they each live and die. As an empiricist, Bacon grounded his new scientific approach in experimentation, induction, close observation, and collection of information as a means to find truths in nature. In his methodical study of death, Bacon remarked: Convulsions of the Head, and Face, with deepe deadly sighing, being a kind of Convulsion, and the extreame quicke beating of the Pulse, the Heart trembling with the pangs of Death; and sometimes againe beating weakely, and slowly, as the heate beginnes to faile and faint, are two 44 chiefe Signes of Death. . . .
Bacon’s excerpt articulates his emphasis on the precise study of individual aspects of death, which all take into consideration the effect of death on the body and ignore any presence of God, angels, or the like. In Rembrandt’s print, the doctor holds Mary’s wrist to monitor her heartbeat and determine the condition of her health––an example of Baconian science in action. Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin foregrounds not only Bacon’s physical, empirical approach to death through the doctor’s prominence in the center of the composition but also stresses René Descartes’ new metaphysical argument for the supremacy of the intellect, or soul, in his ephemeral treatment of Mary’s body.45 While living in the Netherlands, Descartes published his groundbreaking treatise, Discours de la method (Discourse on Method), anonymously in 1637 in Leiden just two years before the date of Rembrandt’s print. In the same year of the artist’s
etching, Descartes wrote his highly influential treatise, Meditationes (Meditations).46 Together with the Discours, Meditationes explores Descartes’ theory of the mutual exclusivity of the mind and body, known as Cartesian duality, which contributed significantly to creating a general awareness of practical mathematic and scientific applications to the human body, natural philosophy, and biology.47 Descartes’ theory of mind-body duality explores the mind’s unique distinction from the body and the necessity of mathematics, understood through the mind, to provide a firm foundation for the sciences.48 More specifically, Rembrandt’s print evokes Descartes’ systematic view of the mind and body at the helm of science by virtue of the doctor, as opposed to religion in light of the artist’s omission of confessional motifs. Descartes’ philosophic method began transforming Dutch intellectual and academic circles before Rembrandt etched his print and continued through the mid-seventeenth century. According to Jonathan Israel, Descartes created “an upheaval which heralded the onset of the Enlightenment proper in the closing years of the century.”49 Israel, Willem Frijhoff, Marijke Spies, and Martin Prak all note that Descartes’ philosophy of the mutual exclusivity of the mind and body, known as Cartesian dualism, was consequential to the construction and molding of modernity in the Republic. For all of these scholars, Cartesianism and other products of the scientific revolution gave rise by the mid-seventeenth century to the period of modernity in the Northern Netherlands, to which Rembrandt already introduced to audiences in 1639 in his print of Mary’s death. Rembrandt’s ethereal treatment of Mary’s body suggests the Cartesian, not theological, superiority of Mary’s soul over her body due to the presence of a doctor and the omission of liturgical and devotional motifs in the scene. Descartes’ treatise outlines his theory of dualism in which the mind, or soul, is separate from and superior to the body, and that the mind/soul is both immaterial and immortal.50 Descartes argued that the mind/soul can think, reason, and doubt; thus, it functions independently of the body. According to Descartes, the mind functions as the epistemological source for clear and distinct ideas, that is, innate truths established by deductive reasoning, thinking, and doubting. Descartes proved the existence of his own mind with his famous aphorism, Je pense, donc je suis (I think, therefore I am), referred to in its Latin translation as cogito ergo sum. The self is a “thinking entity,” the res cogitans, which exists apart from the physicality of the body. The body, on the other hand, extends into space that can be separated into parts, which will eventually die.51 Descartes instructs his readers in the Discours to ultimately
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transcend the body, as Rembrandt evokes in his faint depiction of Mary’s body, to allow the thinking, doubting mind to gain knowledge unfettered by the body’s senses. While Rembrandt’s oeuvre includes numerous images of ethereal religious figures such as The Raising of Lazarus, ca. 1632, as Julia Lloyd Williams rightly pointed out, only in The Death of the Virgin does Rembrandt juxtapose an unearthly figure with a secular figure, which implies a scientifically enlightened, not religious, awareness of the body and soul.52 The respectable, learned doctor in Rembrandt’s print signifies the emphasis in the seventeenth-century Republic on the comprehension of the body through mathematical, scientific terms that grew out of Descartes’ theories. The numerous illustrations in the Discours, designed by the philosopher and engraved by the Leiden artist Frans van Schooten, whose father, Joris van Schooten, was one of Rembrandt’s instructors, visually interpret the philosopher’s quantitative deconstruction of the human body.53 In an engraving that appears in “La dioptrique,” one of three essays in the Discours, Descartes examines the theory of the retinal image by making a compelling juxtaposition beFig. 7-11 Frans van Schooten, Man Obtween a naturalized rendering serving a Diagram of the Retinal Image, of a male head in the lower half illustration from René Descartes, “La of the image and a medioptrique,” Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & cherchanically diagrammed crosscher la verité dans les sciences. Plus la section of an eye upon which dioptriqve. Les meteores. Et la geothe male head gazes (fig. 7-11). metrie. Qui sont des essais de cete The illustration supports DesMethode, Leiden, 1637. Amsterdam, cartes’ conceptualization of the Amsterdam University Library UvA, human body as an object Special Collections Department (UBM: O 79-22).
comprised of geometrically shaped parts that can be subdivided, labeled and mathematically measured––an abstract notion he revealed through the form of visual imagery as a useful tool of communication––a sentiment Rembrandt clearly shared. The possibility that Rembrandt’s inspiration in The Death of the Virgin derived in part from Descartes’ Discours is strengthened by Martin Royalton-Kisch’s convincing proposal that the artist based his etching, The Three Trees, 1643, on the Discours. Royalton-Kisch demonstrated that atmospheric qualities in the etching and its overall composition of a landscape share remarkable visual similarities with Frans van Schooten’s illustration of cloud formations for Descartes’ second essay in the Discours, “Les meteores.”54 The cluster of trees that predominate Rembrandt’s print amidst darkened clouds adopts a comparable shape to Descartes’ dramatic monolithic rock formation and the clouds that surround it. The likelihood that the Discours influenced both The Death of the Virgin and The Three Trees is further underscored by the general consensus among scholars that Rembrandt initially began The Death of the Virgin on a smaller plate that he reused for The Three Trees, which indicates that he may have conceived their compositions and meanings at the same time.55 Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin evokes early seventeenth-century scientific and Cartesian philosophic developments in two significant ways. First, Rembrandt draws immediate attention to the faint outline of Mary’s entire figure, which signifies the momentous separation of her body and soul at her death. By merely rendering the contours of Mary’s body with thin strokes of the burin on his copperplate in The Death of the Virgin, Rembrandt stresses her interiority, or soul, as opposed to her earthly physical form. Mary’s glowing, almost immaterial figure in the image starkly contrasts with the substantial, weighty figures of her attendants who the artist distinguished from Mary by their heavy modeling and dense crosshatching. In no other pictorial precedent to Rembrandt’s print does Mary’s body fade into an incorporeal entity, nor has her figural form ever been represented markedly different from those of her surrounding mourners. Rembrandt’s deviation from precedent in regard to Mary’s transitus from the corporeal to the incorporeal suggests that Rembrandt accorded in his composition, and, in turn, in its meaning, revolutionary seventeenth-century concepts of the body and soul to which Descartes contributed significantly in his Discours. Second, Rembrandt’s doctor in The Death of the Virgin manifests Cartesianism by capturing and reflecting the recent, elevated role of science, scientists and medical practitioners that developed from the
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Discours.56 Descartes’ theories about the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, and the distinct, mathematical nature of the corporeal world that he outlined in the Discours in effect permanently replaced moral and theological issues with deductive, scientific reasoning that transformed the field of medicine in the Netherlands and across Europe. Sparked by a growing interest in empirical and academic medical studies that developed in the 1630s, renowned surgeons led public anatomy lessons for the first time at leading Dutch universities in Amsterdam and Leiden, which helped to legitimize the medical profession in the Republic.57 Rembrandt attended the highly celebrated lessons as part of his commission for the large group portrait, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp of 1632 that commemorated the founding of Amsterdam’s anatomy theatre, the Anthenaeum Illustre (fig. 7-10). As he claimed in his correspondence, Descartes also sat in on Dr. Tulp’s public lessons and those by other surgeons in order to gain a better understanding of the human body to which he could then scientifically apply his theories in the Discours.58 Rembrandt and Descartes may certainly have crossed paths at one of Dr. Tulp’s lessons, although no extant evidence can substantiate this claim.59 Regardless, they both participated in and stimulated an acceptance of scientific discovery by their involvement in Amsterdam’s public anatomy lessons in the years leading up to Rembrandt’s print. Rembrandt’s impetus for blatantly modifying the archaizing subject of his print, The Death of the Virgin, with elements that evoke the allure of medicine and Cartesian theories may also have been inspired by the official opening in 1639 of the new surgeons’ guild quarters situated in the St. Anthony Weighing House in Amsterdam. As part of the guild’s opening celebrations, Rembrandt’s painting, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, which had been displayed in the original, temporary location of the surgeons’ guild at the former St. Margaret’s Church, moved to the first, permanent headquarters for the guild in 1639, the same year that Rembrandt etched The Death of the Virgin.60 Moreover, two points of striking visual similarities between Rembrandt’s group portrait of Dr. Tulp performing a dissection on a cadaver’s arm and the composition of The Death of the Virgin indicate a strong, perhaps causal, relationship between the two pictures. First, in the Tulp painting, the doctor stands behind the midsection of the cadaver while making a connection to its arm in the same manner as does the doctor in Rembrandt’s Dormition print. Second, the cadaver lies at an oblique angle to the picture plane in the Tulp painting with his head directed to the left side of the canvas at the same angle that Rembrandt placed Mary’s body in the Dormition print. The visual similarities between the two images present the likelihood that
Rembrandt looked to his own painting of Tulp––a respectable doctor performing an act of modern scientific study, whom Descartes also held in high regard––for the form and content of his 1639 print of Mary’s death.
Rembrandt’s Proximity to Descartes and Cartesianism While no tangible evidence yet exists that Rembrandt knew Descartes personally, we can argue with virtual certainty that he was familiar with Cartesianism by 1639 when he etched The Death of the Virgin.61 Descartes’ theories on duality, although not formally published in the Discours until 1637, circulated widely among Dutch intellectuals including, first and foremost, Descartes’ close friend, confidante, and proofreader of the Discours, Constantijn Huygens, secretary to the Republic’s stadholder, Frederik Hendrik. Huygens, in turn, also knew and corresponded with Rembrandt.62 During the pivotal years for Rembrandt and Descartes between 1637 and 1639, Huygens maintained a close personal and intellectual relationship with Descartes while he also negotiated with Rembrandt over a major commission of five paintings of the Passion for the stadholder, which the artist completed in 1639, the same year he etched The Death of the Virgin.63 If Huygens did not introduce Rembrandt to Cartesianism in the years leading up to The Death of the Virgin in 1639, the artist certainly could have been aware of Descartes through the fervor surrounding his metaphysical theories that began in Dutch academic circles. In 1639, the year of Rembrandt’s print, a series of volatile public debates broke out at the University of Utrecht on the topic of Cartesian duality, suggesting the awareness of Cartesianism had by those beyond the academic world, including Rembrandt and his patrons.64 The rift formed between the orthodox Calvinists who upheld the Aristotelian, scholastic world-view and Cartesians who argued for a mathematical perspective in the sciences, medicine, and theology. Descartes’ critics assailed Cartesian theories as a direct condemnation of Aristotelianism that served as the chief methodological criterion of science and philosophy at all European universities until the introduction of Cartesianism in the 1630s.65 Rembrandt evokes the precise conflict between the Aristotelians and Cartesians in The Death of the Virgin by virtue of his insertion of a doctor in a religious scene that lacks the liturgical and devotion objects associated with either the Catholic or Protestant confessions.66 Current scholars regard Cartesian theories and the debates surrounding them as the cause for the Republic’s development into the first relatively modern society. Rembrandt evokes modernity in his Dormition print by
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juxtaposing the realms of science and religion. By mid-century, the Republic’s insistence on critical thinking, debate, and discussion characterize the very tenets of modernity––qualities that all stem from its introduction to Cartesiansim, mind/body duality, and Descartes’ cogito that began to spread throughout the country at the time Rembrandt etched the Dormition. Jonathan Israel demonstrated that the tremendous effect of Descartes’ theories on the Republic altered not only its academic and theological circles but also politics at the city and national levels.67 Bunge posited that Cartesianism’s footprint on the Republic when Rembrandt etched the Dormition climaxed by mid-century as “the modern philosophy” taught at Dutch universities.68 Frijhoff and Spies underscored the significance of Cartesianism in the early seventeenth century, on which they wrote: A philosophical revolution had indeed taken place within the Dutch universities, and the importance of this breakthrough should not be underestimated. For not only did Cartesianism become the dominant university philosophy in the following decades; outside the walls of the academy it also provided a frame of reference for both the rise of modern science and the development of a theological-political debate on the nature and destiny of the Republic of the United Dutch Provinces.69
The transformative effect of Cartesianism on the whole of the Republic, which gained considerable momentum in 1639, the year of Rembrandt’s print, effectively dissolved the boundaries between Protestants and Catholics. Rembrandt produced The Death of the Virgin at the beginning of a tumultuous period for intellectuals in the Dutch Republic as the long-held Scholastic Aristotelian and Christian foundation of Western civilization gave way to Cartesianism.70 The combination of sacred and secular issues in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin addresses both the complex religious climate of the Dutch Republic and also the growing sense of interiority resulting from both the Reformation and a Cartesian awareness of the self. Mary’s figural representation articulates the new scientific and Cartesian epistemology that the primacy of the mind/soul reins over the physicality of the body. Mary’s loss of corporeality thus embodies the singularity of her interiority, or soul, over her body. In turn, the doctor presiding over the dramatic spectacle signifies reason, scientific curiosity, and the spirit of rationalism, both in Rembrandt’s composition and in the context of the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. The seeming contradiction that remains in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin between the artist’s choice of a pre-Reformation, that is, Roman
Catholic, theme and his unprecedented iconographic treatment of the subject reflects the very conflicts inherent in modernity between society’s demand for progress and its slow resignation of the premodern, timeworn past. Rembrandt’s print therefore reveals the slow transformation into modernity in the early seventeenth century. As a result, The Death of the Virgin engages in and manifests particular theological, liturgical, scientific, and philosophic issues that draw the viewer’s attention toward secularism and away from the traditionally absolute perspective on Marian devotion and dying rituals that existed within the confines of Roman Catholicism or Calvinism in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic.
CHAPTER EIGHT SECULAR RELIC: THE SPECTACLE OF THE BODY IN DECAY ON THE EARLY MODERN ENGLISH STAGE N. M. IMBRACSIO The macabre motif of decay perpetuates early modern revenge tragedies. In early works, such as The Spanish Tragedy (ca. 1590) and Hamlet (ca. 1601), the decaying body serves not only as a motivation for the revenger, a memento mori, but a reminder of the revenge objective. However, in seventeenth-century drama the body in decay asserts a more active presence on the stage and becomes a “secular relic” endowed with extraordinary material potency: Vindice’s stage-management of bodies in The Revenger’s Tragedy (1607); the wax figures of dismembered limbs in The Duchess of Malfi (1614); the finger that DeFlore carries with him in The Changeling (1622); Annabella’s heart impaled on the end of Giovanni’s dagger in the final act of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (1629-33). These spectacular images of decay—the corpses, severed body parts, and skeletal remains—that are such notable features in these plays and the seventeenth century in general have, in the past, been derided as sheer sensationalism or, more recently, explored as a site for psychic fragmentation and sexual objectification of the body.1 However, the relics of the dead that accumulate in Jacobean tragedies can be seen to engage in a Counter-Reformation aesthetic that appropriates the spectacle of the body onto the secular theatrical stage. To a certain extent, the increasingly grotesque nature of the body in decay in these plays exposes cultural anxieties about history, religion, and the nature of the body and simultaneously establishes the theatre as a discursive site for negotiating such cultural concerns. As Margaret Owens asserts, “corporeal fragmentation provides a highly malleable visual vocabulary not only for expressing fears about personal security, but also for exploring ruptures and upheavals in the social sphere.”2 The relationship between the living and the dead suffered a reorientation during the Reformation. As scholars have demonstrated,
customary perceptions of death, the afterlife, and funeral rites and rituals underwent a radical revision during the early modern period. The consolatory devices of Catholicism—for example, the doctrine of Purgatory, prayers for the dead, and veneration of relics—had helped to make death a meaningful communal experience. When these rituals were dismantled by the dramatic cultural, social, and religious transformations of the Reformation, death was removed from the public arena and remade into a private experience. This “morality crisis” served to heighten existing anxieties over the integrity of the body and the self after death. The dramas of early modern England rehearse the religious crisis that disrupted, divided, and revolutionized English society. As Stephen Greenblatt has accurately demonstrated, the theatre replaces ritual forms of religion lost in post-Reformation English society so that the iconic spectacles eradicated from Catholic altars are resurrected on the unsanctioned stages of the theatre. Greenblatt states that these revived elements do not merely provide a disenchanted version of the cult of the dead but rather an activation of those “fears, terrors, and concerns to certain experiences that have been organized and exploited by religious institutions and rituals.”3 According to Greenblatt, the ghosts of the Middle Ages do not altogether disappear in the Reformation of the sixteenth century; they turn up on the seventeenth century stage. Indeed, and moreover, the bodies from which those ghosts emerge become available for theatrical manipulation. The continual appropriation of physical decay on the Jacobean stage is part of a reactionary compulsion of a culture that has been denied the religiously mediated spectacle of the body. The theatrical spectacles of the distressed or mortal body found in these plays recuperate the agency of the dead bodies that was once a part of the Catholic tradition, most importantly— although not exclusively—in the realm of relics. With the suppression of the cult of relics, the Reformation proscribed the hope that piety might somehow exempt the body from physical decay. Before continuing, an understanding of “spectacle” must be offered for consideration in order to fully enter a discussion on its theatrical function. “Spectacle,” for purposes of this essay, is more than mere display or pageantry. Rather, the spectacle is that part of the drama which calls attention to the intersection of illusion and reality. As Guy Debord has analyzed, the spectacle is not created to reveal something new but to reveal what is concealed, and this revelation is ultimately self-reflexive: The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images. . . . In the spectacle . . . the goal is nothing, development is everything. The spectacle aims at nothing other than 4 itself.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
The spectacle is a function of variable and contending cultural forces. By considering Debord’s concept of the spectacle as self-reflecting social construct in an early modern context, we are able to view the shifting treatment of the spectacle of decay as more than sheer theatrical sensationalism and begin to view it as a function of theatricality, used to emphasize the gap between reality and representation. Similarly, the spectacle of decay on stage serves a mimetic function, calling attention to the relationship between the living and the dead. The treatment of decay as spectacle is most commonly found in revenge tragedies—always a fertile site for exploring the subversive power of performed social rituals and symbols—which are rich with decaying corpses to be thematically exhumed.5 Jonathan Dollimore would link the decay in revenge tragedies to the decay of traditional social orders of the later Renaissance.6 Dollimore and other critics have explained that the formalization of revenge on the stage functions as a substitution of the law, thereby revealing the law to be itself nothing other than performance. Debord also sees the political spectacle as inherently theatrical, as he writes that “the oldest social specialization, the specialization of power, is at the root of the spectacle . . . It is the existing order’s uninterrupted discourse about itself.”7 The violence of the revengers in Renaissance drama is not simply the indulgence of gory aesthetic tastes but a selfconscious reflection of and on the ritualized and legally sanctioned violence of the culture, exposing that violence as being itself a theatre of power. I argue that, in a similar manner, by theatricalizing decay into a spectacular public performance, Jacobean drama does more than engage in macabre entertainment but reveals the performative nature of religious institutions and ideologies. Revenge tragedies explore the power that the dead exert over the living. Revengers mediate on corpses and skulls, see ghosts, and cling to bloody tokens of the deceased. This contemplation reveals the struggle in reform culture between a traditional (and Catholic) mode of commemorating the dead that emphasizes presence and the reformed mode that emphasizes absence. Using Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy and Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy, I will demonstrate that the spectacle of decay transforms between time periods representing, reflecting, and redressing the ideological ruptures engendered by the English Reformation. Both protagonists in these plays fetishize the dead8—Hieronimo preserves the corpse of his son and keeps the bloodsoaked handkerchief close to his heart, Vindice carries with him the skull of his mistress killed nine years earlier—yet each is circumscribed by a very different ideological world-view. By tracing the theatrical function of decay in The Spanish Tragedy to The Revenger’s Tragedy, we can witness
an emblematic spectacle functioning in a cosmically ordered world to a spectacular relic metaphysically unfixed yet assuming agency and efficacy. Thereby, the growing presence and increasingly spectacular nature of physical decay in later Jacobean dramas calls into question the public performance of the corruptible body and affirms the theatre as a social institution capable of interpreting and appropriating spectacles of the body. In The Spanish Tragedy, Horatio’s murder—and the corpse it produces—remains the centerpiece of the tragedy. Kyd exploits the value of the mutilated body as a spectacle by continually holding Horatio’s body up to view either visually or verbally. Throughout the play Hieronimo repeatedly refers to his son’s death, constantly reminding the audience of the image of Hortatio hanging in the tree, his bloody wounds blending with the red fruits on the branches. Later, in Act 4, Hieronimo draws the curtain back to reveal his son’s corpse, by this point decayed and rotting, thus providing a mimetic moment for the audience in which the remembered image of sacrificial death is juxtaposed with the spectacle of decomposition. Hieronimo directs his audience: “See here my show, look on my spectacle” (4.4.89).9 He also displays a handkerchief “dyed” in the “dearest blood” of his son, calling it a “propitious” object that he has preserved, like a holy relic, near his heart. However, the handkerchief and Hortatio’s body—although both function as a powerful spectacle—are merely tokens. The decay physically depicted on stage and figuratively imagined in the play are restricted in regards to location and function so that they are symbols, lacking agency. Agency is attributed to the cosmic forces at work in The Spanish Tragedy. The play’s supernatural frame and commentary impart the sense that human life is scripted. As the drama opens, the Ghost of Don Andrea appears onstage accompanied by Revenge and presents a descriptive commentary of his soul’s journey through the underworld where, “through dreadful shades of ever-glooming night” (1.1. 56), he bears witness to bloody Furies shakes their whips of steel, And poor Ixion turns on his endless wheel; Where usurers are chocked with melting gold, And wantons are embraced with ugly snakes, And murders groan with never-killing wounds, And perjured weights scaled in boiling lead, And all foul sins with torments overwhelmed. (1.1.65-71)
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
This catalogue of the horrors of the underworld conventionally reappears at the end of the play. The Ghost of Don Andrea, expressing his approval of “these spectacle to please my soul” (4.5.12), chronicles the extraordinary recompense that awaits the play’s recently dead. Revenge has the last word and replies: Then haste we down to meet thy friends and foes, To place they friends at ease, the rest in woes; For here though death hath end their misery, I’ll there begin their endless tragedy (4.5. 45-48)
These speeches seem to have no immediate function, as they are dramatically static and removed from the action of the play. However, the Dantesque prologue and epilogue establish the world of the play within a cosmic framework of justice and retribution where human actions will be measured and evaluated in the context of that ethical system. In this manner, the treatment of decay extends to the moral structure in which it takes place. Decay in the early Elizabethan tragedies, such as The Spanish Tragedy, is fixed and symbolic, as is the universe. However, in the later plays, the convention of the Senecan Ghost disappears and is replaced with ruined echoes;10 decay becomes superfluous, chaotic, and unstable, just as the notion of divine intervention and justice and the universe seems morally obscure. For Katherine Rowe, Jacobean drama “unseams the body in unseemly ways”11 by staging dismemberments, rapes, poisoned kisses, visions of decay, and tortures that surpass earlier Seneca-inspired dramas in their frequency and vivid display. Yet in Jacobean dramas the ubiquitous application of such objects of decay suggests a new meaning. These spectacles of decay have heightened agency; rather than serving as traditional emblems of revenge, they become enablers of vengeance that exist in a metaphysical void. This emerging secular treatment of decay reveals cultural concerns over the nature of the body after death. A prime example of this transformed treatment can be seen in The Revenger’s Tragedy (1607), written nearly twenty years after Kyd had introduced Senecan tragedy to the English stage. By the time of Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603, not only had the stock characters and formulaic plots of Kydian tragedy become overused, but they also lacked cultural significance. Stephen Greenblatt, in his discussion on the significance of the cult of purgatory in Hamlet, acknowledges the “Fifty Year Effect,” a time “in which the revolutionary generation that made the decisive break with the past is dying out and the survivors hear only the hypocrisy in the
sermons and look back with longing at the world they have lost.”12 However, Greenblatt is referring to Hamlet, written around 1601; the Jacobean plays written in the middle of the late seventeenth century are beyond such “longing.” Still, post-Reformation debates on the nature of the human spirit and body after death did unsettle, as Greenblatt states, the “institutional moorings of a crucial body of imaginative materials and therefore made them available for theatrical appropriation.”13 Jacobean culture struggled with the suspicion that death was a complete and permanent annihilation of the self.14 This anxiety of annihilation intensified and found its expression in literature. An early scene in The Revenger’s Tragedy establishes decay as an active spectacle appropriated for a specific theatrical function. Antonio, whose wife has been raped, “discover[s] the body of her dead to certain Lords and Hippolito” (1.4. SD), spectacularly displaying her body to male gazes.15 Evoking the Lucrece legend, this early scene stages an emblematic reading of the decaying body that influences much of the play that conforms to Debord’s definition of spectacle: the spectacular display of Antonio’s wife’s body calls into question the status of the body after death and provides a mimetic moment that exhibits the theatre as cultural authority over the evolving relationship between the living and the dead. The image of a woman’s heroic body shown in death provides a moment of suspended action and an occasion for reflection, functioning as spectacular icon, both visually on stage and also within the narrative of the drama. The initially unseen textual clue, the Senecan-sounding sententia, “Melius virtute mori, quam per dedecus vivere” (1.4.17), fixes the scene into an emblem, complete with image, motto, and commentary, and establishes the focus for the action in the play. Unlike the other representations of rot in the play, Antonio’s wife’s corrosion is not fully seen—she being recently dead—and therefore is capable of containment. The lords say that she is worthy of a “tomb of pearl” (1.4.70), which will house her eventually rotting corpse within an alabaster shell, serving as an authentic—yet secular—relic. It is within this fabricated enclosure that the decay of his wife’s body is still available for political appropriation by Antonio,16 as it is his wife’s suicide that Antonio claims as justification to overthrow the corrupt court of the Duke. In this manner, this scene provides an iconic microcosm of the larger play in which revenge is mediated and achieved through decay and establishes the power of the spectacle to inspire vengeful action. Although Vindice is not present in this scene, and he has his own reasons for murdering the Duke, he later refers to this incident as the rationale for his part in the conspiracy. Vindice, among his functions as
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revenger, is a “bone-setter” (1.3.43) and choreographer of the Dance of Death that is apparent throughout the play’s action,17 so that he becomes inseparable from the icons of death and decay. His persistent discourse on the grotesque aspects of bodily decay develops the conventional tirades of the stage malcontent into functional associations. Beyond his verbal references to decay, Vindice’s notorious stage property of his beloved’s putrefied skull that he carries with him becomes the play’s richest image.18 Most critics see it as a representative of the stark hollowness within all the play’s characters, Vindice included. Yet, the skull also signifies the traditional contempus mundi, symbolizing human frailty and temporality. However, the skull held in Vindice’s hand exceeds the symbol of death and contains much more than hollow bones. Towards the end of his opening soliloquy, Vindice introduces the familiar concept of rot-as-impartial judge. Indicating the skull he says: Advance thee, O thou terror to fat folks, To have their costly three-piled flesh worn off As bare as this; (1.1. 45-47)
More than mimesis, Vindice’s use of the trope of decay as equalizer, accompanied with a gesture of thrusting of the skull towards the audience, establishes decay as an agent in this plot. The skull is a relic, an active symbol of the positive attributes of decay, and it serves as the purifying agent and avenger. The skull of Gloriana functions as the equivalent of a ghost, “a grisly reminder from the past” (4). Yet, unlike Hamlet’s Yorkick, the skull’s presence on stage does not offer insights into the afterlife or inspire action. In The Revenger’s Tragedy the call to revenge comes, not from the skull of Gloriana, but from Vindice: Vengeance, thou murder’s quit-rent, and whereby Thou show’st thyself tenant to Tragedy, O, keep thy day, hour, minute, I beseech, For those thou hast determined!—Hum, who e’er knew Murder unpaid? Faith, give Revenge her due, Sh’ has kept touch hitherto. (1.1. 39-44)
Vindice imposes agency upon Gloriana’s skull, and because of this obsession, “death’s vizard” (1.1.50) is not repulsive to him, but irresistible. Vindice’s attachment to his beloved does not diminish; it actually expands due to her death and decomposition:
Chapter Eight And now methinks I could e’en chide myself For doting on her beauty (3.5. 69-70)
The play’s most evident use of avenging decay occurs during the Duke’s murder in Act 3. Vindice enters the scene again with the skull, this time costumed and masked, making his “bony lady” into a “country lady” (3.4.121 and 134), with obvious sexual puns. As Vindice rubs the skull’s lips with poison so she can “kiss [the Duke’s] lips to death” (3.5.104), Gloriana’s role expands from the symbolic victim of unjust violence to the vehicle by which violent revenge is enacted. As Vindice justifies to Hippolito, I have not fashioned this only for show Or useless property, no—it shall bear a part E’en in its own revenge. (3.5. 100-101).
Just as in catholic theology where relics continue to have effects through the miracles they perform, so in Vindice’s macabre parody of that theology the skull continues to have agency as it seduces the Duke, resulting in his murder. Thereby, the skull of Gloriana is moved beyond mere theatrical spectacle and comes to perform the “part” of revenger, mutating from object into subject. For Vindice it is this unmasked, festering skull that presents the reality of human life, and female beauty is mere duplicity: See, ladies, with false forms You deceive men but cannot deceive worms (3.5. 97-8)
The trappings of beauty may deceive, but worms—and the decay they represent—will yield the truth. The Duke’s encounter with his former victim is an unequivocal encounter with the truth of decay. It is in the chthonic darkness of the “unsunnèd lodge, / Wherein ‘tis night at noon” (3.5.18-19) that he kisses the skull, its lips painted with the same corrosive poison he once used, and surrenders to the deadly embrace of his own design. The Duke will play a similar role for Vindice in Act 5, when his corpse (in an assumed state of putrefaction) is positioned to represent Vindice’s alter ego, Piato. Vindice contemplates the significance of killing “himself” to Hippolito:
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
[F]or I must kill myself. Brother, that’s I; that sits for me. Do you mark it? And I must stand ready here to make away myself yonder—I must sit to be killed, and stand to kill myself. (5.1. 4-7)
With this staging, Vindice becomes a playwright: creating and manipulating lives, managing bodies and bones as props, and dispensing his own justice, continually deconstructing the precarious distinction between the “dead” body as object and the animate one. It is with Vindice’s stage-management of the Duke’s and Gloriana’s decomposing remains that the theatre exploits cultural anxieties of the integrity and security of the body and the self after death in a post-Reformation England. Vindice’s prostitution of Gloriana’s skull realizes the desire to “fix categories around a dead body and thereby establish order where confusion reigns.”19 Vindice’s desire reflects his audience’s desire to navigate cultural upheavals. Greenblatt has suggested that traces of transference and appropriation are evidence throughout the early modern period. “The textual traces that have survived from the Renaissance,” he writes, “are products of extended borrowings. They were made by moving certain things—principally ordinary language, but also metaphors, ceremonies, dances, emblems, items of clothing, well-worn stories, and so forth—from one culturally demarcated zone to another.”20 He goes on to insist that “we need to understand not only the construction of these zones but also the process of movement across the shifting boundaries between them.” As Guy Debord writes, “the oldest social specialization, the specialization of power, is at the root of the spectacle . . . It is the existing order’s uninterrupted discourse about itself.”21 Through the appropriation and transformation of the body in decay, the early modern theatre engages in and maintains this power of the spectacle. The spectacles of decay on the Jacobean stage are the reflection of a culture that observes the disintegration of the past and the institutions, traditions, and laws that once established order and attempts to set those fractured bones in place, thereby allowing the theatre to become a dissembler of such social constructs of power, and a disseminator of a new social order through the spectacular image of the body in decay.
CHAPTER NINE MODERNITY AND BYZANTINE ICONS LILIA VERCHININA What is an image? A token? A replica? A reflection? A reality? This question may seem modern. It may also sound theoretical. There have been times, however, when this problem was vital and central. During the eighth century, these questions brought the Eastern Christian world into turmoil. In the end and under the hard pressure of the iconoclastic movement, Byzantium explicitly stated its answer to the question, what is an image? The canonical Eastern Christian icon does not fit into our conventional scheme of art perception. “The first is the eye that sees, the second is the object seen, the third is the distance between them,” as Dürer says about Piero della Francesca.1 One cannot talk about subject-object relationships with Eastern Christian icons because the function of distance is the opposite of that in Western art after the Renaissance. Instead of viewing the picture from an appropriate distance in order to create perspective and the illusion of real distance, the eye becomes immersed in the icon’s space. This is because the icon has an unusual topology called “inverse perspective.” In inverse perspective lines diverge rather than converge on the scene’s horizon, and objects appear bigger rather than smaller in the background. For example, icons representing the Epiphany do not show Jordan as vanishing on the horizon, but rather the city is seen as a whole. Icons furthermore strive to capture the whole of an object, whether it be a mountain, a throne, or books. The object’s left side is seen from the left and likewise its right side is seen from the right. In a geometric sense, inverse perspective creates a negative distance from the eye to the icon. This negative distance makes it physically impossible to perceive the icon as an object or to imagine oneself as a subject. One might say that the icon overflows its own borders. One can observe that images—most often a nimbus—extends out to the icon’s outer frame and rises a little above the main surface. In Eastern Christian icons, nothing constrains the space. For example, rooms are represented as open spaces. Only light drapery thrown around buildings indicates the presence of a room or other interior space. Things like mountains,
buildings, or angels’ wings remain in the background, while the scenes themselves are placed directly in front of a viewer approaching the icon. This mechanism prevents the scene from receding into the depths and forces the eye into the central space of the icon, thereby focusing it on Christ’s hypostasis. The Greek concept of hypostasis may be roughly translated as “person.” The closest synonym of hypostasis in Greek is “face.” While in English, “face” may be synonymous with “appearance” and rely on the dichotomy of outside and inside, “face” in Greek is associated with the idea of personhood. Not surprisingly, in icons the most expressive elements are faces. The term “face” is often even used to mean “icon.” Faces look directly at the icon’s viewer; profiles are avoided. Even when a face is turned toward the center of the composition by “inverse perspective,” it is seen almost completely. The result is that the hypostasis (or person) of a figure, such as a saint, is clearly visible. In icons, saints are peaceful, their postures and gestures restrained, their movements economical. There is nothing arbitrary about their appearance because iconography canons ruled out any kind of arbitrariness. Canons regulated the bodily proportions of the icon as well as the pattern of the face: the form of the beard, nose, and eyebrows, the color and length of the hair. Canons did not, however, undermine the saints’ individual characters. In fact, these characters are emphasized; usually, one can easily distinguish the different saints by their sketch samples, referred to as typiki. Iconographers maintained a canon of recognizable features intrinsic to the person, or hypostasis, of each saint. An iconoclastic movement in Byzantium eventually questioned the religious legitimacy of icons. Around 730 AD, Emperor Leo III, forbidding the worship of religious images, ordered the removal of the image of Christ from its previous position above the palace gates of Constantinople. At the Iconoclast Council of 754 AD, summoned by Leo’s son Constantine V, iconolaters defended images by explaining their intrinsic connection to their referents, or proto-images. Although iconoclasm had existed for twenty years in the empire, an ecumenical council had never formally approved of its use. Constantine was the first to call for such a council; the Emperor cared so much about the council, in fact, that even a setback in Italy did not deter him from seeking canonical approval for his iconoclastic politics. The main argument put forth by iconolaters at the Iconoclast Council was that while images were identical with their proto-images through the representation of hypostasis, they were different in ousia, or essence. The defenders of icons elaborated a unique dialectics of the image: on the one
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hand, icon worship was not idolatry because the essence of the image was different from its proto-image, and, on the other hand, the icon was not merely a signifier of but, rather, was identical to its proto-image. The apologists of icons explained that icons were not an idols because an icon’s ousia, or essence, was different from God’s essence. The Seventh Ecumenical Council emphasized that “an icon lacks not only a soul but also the very substance of the body, I [Epiphanius the Deacon] mean flesh, muscles, nerves, bones, and elements, that is, blood, phlegm, fluid, and gall, the blending of which it is impossible for one to see in an icon. If these were seen in the icon, we would call this a ‘man,’ and not an ‘icon of a man.’”2 Furthermore, icons did not replace proto-images, as the same council declared: “The honor which is paid to the image passes on to that which the image represents, and he who reveres the image reveres in it the subject represented.”3 Does this make the icon into a shadow’s shadow? As Plato says about art in The Republic, a painting is a shadow of a natural object, which is in turn a shadow of the idea of this natural object.4 By this analogy, an icon only reminds the viewer of the proto-image but does not approach it in essence. Iconoclasts accepted this line of reasoning. They insisted that no prayer of sanctification could bring the image up to the sanctity of its referent, or proto-image, “nor is there any prayer of consecration for [the icon] to transpose it from the state of being common to the state of being sacred. Instead, it remains common and worthless, as the painter made it.”5 According to iconoclasts, icons had no particular value except for the one the artist attributed to them. For the iconolaters, the apologists of icons, the image was identical with its proto-image, in name and in person. The proto-image gave value to an image and not to the iconographer. For this reason, even the prayer of sanctification was not needed since “many of the sacred things which we have at our disposal do not need a prayer of sanctification, since their name itself says that they are all-sacred and full of grace. Consequently, we honor and embrace them as venerable things.”6 In his consciousness, asserted the iconolaters, a viewer never broke the link between image and proto-image during contemplation of the icon. Theodore Studite (759–826 AD), a prominent defender of icons, often repeated that “he who reveres an image surely reveres the person whom the image shows; not the substance of the image, but him who is delineated in it. Nor does the singleness of his veneration separate the model from the image, since by virtue of imitation, the image and the model are one.”7 A century prior to iconoclasm, the Sixth Ecumenical Council had prohibited the symbolic representation of Christ. The canonical Eastern
icon, therefore, represented Christ’s hypostasis, that is, his person rather than a lamb.8 This ban on the symbolic representation prevented the separation of the image from its proto-image. This identification of image with its proto-image in hypostasis had several important consequences. Proto-image became neither an inexpressible and imperceptible abstraction, nor a delusion. Proto-image was not the Kantian noumenon (a thing in itself), for it could be genuinely comprehended, as it bore a visible similarity to its image. Image was neither an appearance nor a shadow, nor was it a signifier urging for an unreachable signified. The Eastern Christian dialectics of identity and difference (of person versus essence) has always been a difficult concept in the modern understanding of iconoclasm. The contemporary concept of simulacra, for example, radically separates the image from its proto-image. Jean Baudrillard briefly references Byzantine iconoclasm in his work on simulacra: “the visible machinery of icons substituted for the pure and the intelligible Idea of God . . . One can say that the icon worshipers were the most modern minds, the most adventurous, because, in the guise of having God become apparent in the mirror of images, they were already enacting his death and his disappearance in the epiphany of his representations.”8 In order to come to terms with Baudrillard’s concept of the image that disappears in its proto-image, one needs first to dismantle the link between image and proto-image. But it never occurred to the iconolaters to do this; according to the icon-apologists, icons were always identical with their proto-images, in name and in person. This identity of image with its protoimage excluded the possibility of a replacement of proto-image by image, or a kind of simulacra. Iconoclasts construed the “pure and intelligible Idea of God” as the impossibility of visual representation. The Byzantine iconoclasts claimed it was “something that cannot be done, that is, with profane hands giving form to things that are believed with the heart and confessed with the mouth.”9 To the icon worshipper, it is rather the “pure and intelligible Idea of God” that gives way to subjective experience and ultimately reduces God to simulacra. Iconographers meanwhile followed universal canons prescribing a proto-image’s characteristic features. According to the Decree of the Great Ecumenical Council, this is what testifies to historical realism, “so the incarnation of the Word of God is shown forth as real and 10 not merely fantastic.” I have already mentioned that a canonical Eastern icon usually shows a face of God, Theothokos, or a saint. In a completely different time and culture, Derrida has also noted the uniqueness of the portrait among other types of images. He states that “the portrait is not just any painting . . . like
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the photographic portrait, its relation to the referent appears (and it is this appearance that counts even if one must not trust it) irreducible.”11 Our contemporary perception of portraits, especially photographic portraits, when compared to other images may give us a hint as to how Byzantine iconolaters understood the image. Photography is identical to a portrait and its referent on a technical and chemical level. Roland Barthes says, for example, that it is not the artist but the chemist who invented photography.12 Light rays emanating from a person freeze on the photographic plate and forever secures a link to that body. The frozen light of the referent creates its irreducible presence in the image. Barthes calls the photograph “an emanation of the referent.”13 Apart from Derrida and Barthes, other contemporary thinkers have also acknowledged the special power of portraits. They elide, however, the connection between the image and its referent, which accounts for the “irreducible presence” of the referent in the icon as well as in the portrait. For example, Susan Sontag, in line with Baudrillard, acknowledges that portraits play a model role for image in the contemporary world. She also remarks on a unique power of portraits: “But some trace of the magic remains: for example, in our reluctance to tear up or throw away the photograph of a loved one, especially of someone dead or far away.”14 I take this gesture to mean, however, that the beloved one, his hypostasis, is present in his photograph; tearing up the photograph of one’s beloved amounts to an attempt at destroying his hypostasis, his person. Sontag, on the other hand, interprets this gesture differently. For her, the influence of images has grown to such an extent that they overshadow and eventually dictate reality: “The true modern primitivism is not to regard the image as a real thing; photographic images are hardly that real. Instead, reality has come to seem more and more like what are shown by cameras.”15 Sontag’s explanation is similar to the argument of iconoclasts in the eighth century: the treatment of a portrait as idolatry (“some trace of the magic”) and the consideration of the image as solitary and separated from its original naturally lead to an exaggerated value of the image. To my mind, a portrait is deemed valuable because it is identified with a beloved person; as long as a portrait represents a person, it has a value. The value of the image has limits, however, because the essence of the portrait is not the essence of its referent. The reluctance to tear up a portrait is neither idolatry nor the overshadowing of reality by an image but rather the identification of a person in a photograph with a real person. Barthes calls the link between the body of the photographed and the observer’s gaze “a sort of umbilical cord.”16 I argue instead that an umbilical cord links the photographed to his or her image, as the proto-image and icon were linked
in Byzantine icons, and not to the viewer’s gaze. The photograph, “an emanation of the referent,” is identical with the photographed person and not dependent upon my feelings or gaze. From this perspective, a photograph is not an object. This perspective excludes the possibility of subject-object relationships: the viewer ceases to be the Subject and the photograph ceases to be an Object. My explanation is particularly convincing in the case of early daguerreotypes. Walter Benjamin stresses the captivating power of the early photographic portraits. Because the primitive photographic plates had low sensitivity, the models had to stay immobile for a long time, “growing” into the picture. As Benjamin notes, “everything in these early picture was set up to last.”17 Not surprisingly, at the end of this long process the image bore similarity to the original. As Benjamin describes, these photographs were the last refuge of “the cult value of pictures,” the cult of remembrance of the beloved, the absent, and the dead. The interest in daguerreotypes was doubtless widespread. However, daguerreotypes inspired different moods. For instance, photography was very unwelcome among certain modern thinkers and artists. The German Publication Leipziger Stadtanzeiger claimed in 1839 that “to hold fast fleeting mirror images is not only something impossible—as has been shown after a thorough German examination—but the mere wish to do so is sacrilege. Man has been created in the image of God and God’s image cannot be produced by a human machine. At most, the imaginative artist, guided by divine inspiration and in a spirit of profound consecration, may, at the command of his genius, dare to reproduce the God-like human features without the help of any machine.”18 In line with the Byzantine iconoclasts, Stadtanzeiger did not reject just any image. What he did reject was the inevitable sameness in person between the image (be it a painting or a photograph) and its referent. Charles Baudelaire had similar concerns about daguerreotypes. In the midst of the excitement that photography would supply exact replicas of reality, Baudelaire was very confident about a different purpose for the image: to represent the artist’s dreams. He believed that art, “the domain of the impalpable and the imaginary,” is in conflict with the exactitude of photography.19 The modern artist did not depend on the model; he drew from memory. Hence, at the time of its invention, photography was often considered unnatural and inconsistent with human nature and particularly in conflict with memory. The film theorist Siegfried Kracauer explained this conflict as the falsification or embellishment of various degrees accomplished by human memory, which selects what is personally significant.20 Photography, on the other hand, is a cold and exact memory,
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a replication of exact likeness. What troubled Baudelaire and others about photography was its implicit threat to the subjectivity of both the artist and the viewer. The irreducible presence of a person in his photograph, that is, the presence of the hypostasis, is both independent of the artist and the observer. This obvious independence seemed to undermine the role of subjectivity in art. The apocalyptic mood that arose around the invention of photography, however, has been greatly exaggerated. Every single innovation in the photographic technique expanded the playground for the subject. Cameras now take instant images, which the human eye would never otherwise be able to see. Photoshop further supports arbitrary interpretations of images. Therefore, contrary to the expectations that the subject would collapse under technological pressure—which is what Baudelaire expected and Baudrillard claims—the developments in photographic technique contributed to the reconciliation of photography with subjectivity. Photography supports subjectivity through details that are immanent to the observer. Barthes calls this punctum: “For punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole—and also a cast of the dice. A photograph’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).”21 Punctum may lie in secondary details, such as a bandage on a girl’s finger, or a child’s bad teeth. Barthes concludes that “I dismiss all knowledge, all culture, I refuse to inherit anything from another eye than my own.”22 According to Barthes, photographs find their way into an observer through something deeply subjective and immanent. The history of punctum in Western culture traces back to preRenaissance art. Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altar is one of the first examples of images that are immanent to the artist and the observer. Everything in the Crucifixion, one of the Isenheim Altar pieces, awakens subjectivity—Madonna losing her consciousness, her deadly pale skin, and her unfeeling open mouth. Painting began to accommodate the feelings of the observer. Moreover, it necessarily paid the price for the reality it represented because it could not be immanent to both subjective sentiments and to its proto-image, which transcends subjective feelings. As soon as a painting becomes immanent to subjective sentiments, it is a piece of art and no longer an “image,” an icon of the referent. Art strives to become immanent to the observer; it has to be turned into a mere allegory, a signifier of the reality. In a similar way, though much later, punctum reconciled photography with subjectivity. According to Baudrillard, “Art has become iconoclastic. Modern iconoclasm no longer consists in breaking images, but in a profusion of images where there is nothing to see.”23 However, as long as there is the
subject who watches an image, the subject will always find something to see. What defines iconoclasm—modern as well as Byzantine—is the presence of the Subject, the presence, in Dürer’s words, of “the eye that sees.” Eastern Christian icons remain out of reach for the Subject and for the iconoclastic consciousness because icons are identical in person with their referents, or proto-images, in a manner independent of their observer and their maker. For these same reasons, daguerreotypes bothered modern artists; the shockingly realistic images of the first photographs seemed identical with the photographed and independent of the subjectivity of both the photographer and the viewer.
NOTES Introduction 1
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York: Zone Books, 1995), 17.
Chapter One Triumph and Law: Giorgio Vasari’s Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve and the Iconology of the “State of Exception” 1
I am very grateful to the organizers of the conference on “Power and Image in Early Modern Europe” at the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò. Godehard Janzing spurred me on, and I thank him for his encouragement and valuable suggestions. I previously presented these ideas at the conference “Holy wars and the war of images: 1572-2001,” German Historical Museum, Berlin, 2006. 2 Pierre Legendre, Désir politique de Dieu: Études sur les montages de l’etat et du droit (Paris: Fayard, 1989); Louis Marin, Des pouvoirs de l’image (Paris: Seuil, 1993); Peter Goodrich, Languages of law: from logics of memory to nomadic masks (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990); Goodrich, Oedipus Lex: Psychoanalysis, History, Law (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), esp. chapter III., 41-67; and Costas Douzinas and Linda Nead, eds., Law and the Image: The Authority of Art and the Aesthetics of Law (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). For a non art-historical reading of the nexus, but dealing with artworks, see Ana Laura Nettel, “The power of image and the image of power: the case of law,” in “Boundaries of visual images,” ed. Georges Roque, special issue, Word & image 21 (2005): 136-149. 3 See Horst Bredekamp, “Bernini als translegale Sonne,” in Summa. Dieter Simon zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. Rainer Maria Kiesow, Regina Ogorek, and Spiros Simitis (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2005), 47-57; and Bredekamp, Thomas Hobbes. Der Leviathan. Das Urbild des modernen Staates und seine Gegenbilder. 16512001 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2003). 4 The essay is part of my Ph.D. project, “Tyrant and Martyr. Iconologies of the State of Exception in Early Modern Rome,” written at the Humboldt University of Berlin. 5 Even in this ecumenical age, the Sala Regia did not “become something of an embarrassment for the Vatican,” as Robert M. Kingdom assumes, but it is still the most representative place for solemn ceremonies. Kingdom, Myths about the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacres 1572-1576 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988), 46. For a general history and chronology of the Sala Regia, see Loren Partridge and Randolph Starn, “Triumphalism and the Sala Regia in the Vatican,”
in “All the world’s a stage . . .”: art and pageantry in the Renaissance and baroque, ed. by Barbara Wisch and Susan Scott Munshower (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University, 1990), 22-81; and Paola Barocchi, Vasari pittore (Milan: Laterza, 1964), 71-73. 6 Three themes are represented in fifteen frescoes: the Church as a legitimate landholder with the cooperation of temporal rulers, papal supremacy in spiritual and temporal spheres, and victories of the church over the heretics. 7 Alexandra Herz, “Vasari’s ‘Massacre’ Series in the Sala Regia: the Political, Juristic, and Religious Background,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 49 (1986): 41-54. Herz states that the program of the Sala Regia reiterated the doctrine of papal absolutism and examines how the series fits into the context of the other pictorial decoration. 8 The most extensive publications on Vasari’s frescoes in the Sala Regia are still the articles by Herwarth Röttgen, Philipp Fehl, and Alexandra Herz. Herwarth Röttgen, “Zeitgeschichtliche Bildprogramme der Katholischen Restauration unter Gregor XIII, 1572-1585,” Muenchner Jahrbuch der Bildenden Kunst 26 (1975): 89-122; Philipp P. Fehl, “Vasari’s ‘Extirpation of the Huguenots’: The Challenge of Pity and Fear,” Gazette des beaux-arts, 6, Sér. 84 (1974): 257-284; and Herz, “Vasari’s ‘Massacre’ Series in the Sala Regia,” 41-54. See also Jan de Jong, “The painted decoration of the Sala Regia in the Vatican: intention and reception,” in Functions and decorations: art and ritual at the Vatican Palace in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, ed. Tristan Weddigen, Sible de Blaauw, and Bram Kempers (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 153-168; Angela Boeck, Die “Sala Regia” im Vatikan als Beispiel der Selbstdarstellung des Papsttums in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts (Hildesheim: Olms, 1997); Partridge and Starn, “Triumphalism and the Sala Regia in the Vatican,” here: 1. “Triumphal celebrations and the rituals of statecraft”, 22-81; and Eunice Howe, “Architecture in Vasari’s ‘Massacre of the Huguenots’,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 39 (1976): 258-261. 9 The Latin inscriptions are as follows: I) GASPAR COLIGNIUS AMIRALLIUS ACCEPTO VULNERE DOMUM REFERTUR. GREG. XIII. PONTIF. MAX. MDLXXII; II) COLIGNII ET SOCIORUM CAEDES; III) REX COLIGNY NECEM PROBAT. See Fehl, “Vasari’s ‘Extirpation of the Huguenots,’” 264-66. 10 The literature on the massacres is extensive. See especially. Denis Crouzet, La nuit de la Saint-Barthélemy. Un rêve perdu de la Renaissance (Paris: Fayard, coll. «Chroniques», 1994); Janine Garrisson, Tocsain pour un massacre: la saison de Saint-Barthélemy (Paris: Macmillan 1968); N.M. Sutherland, The Massacre of St Bartholomew and the European conflict, 1559-1572 (London: Macmillan 1973), or the collection of articles Actes du colloque l’Amiral de Coligny et son temps (Paris: SHPF, 1974). 11 Although there is no doubt that the Royal House was the initiator of the massacre, there are different interpretations about the roles of the single members. 12 See the documentation in Werner Hofmann, Luther und die Folgen für die Kunst (Munich: Prestel, 1983), 284-89. One of the earliest paintings of the massacre is by Dubois; see Zuwanderungsland Deutschland: Die Hugenotten, ed. Sabine Beneke and Hans Ottomeyer (Wolfratshausen: Edition Minerva, 2005), chapter 2, 205-6.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe 13
Ludwig Freiherr von Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste im Zeitalter der katholischen Reformation und Restauration: Gregor III. (1572 - 1585) (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1923); Pierre Hurtubise, “Comment Rome apprit la nouvelle du massacre de la Saint Barthélémy,” Archivum Historiae Pontificiae 10 (1972): 188-209; and Kingdom, “Reactions to the St. Bartholomew Massacres in Geneva and Rome,” in The Massacres of St. Bartholomew Reappraisals and Documents, ed. Alfred Soman, 25-49 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974). 14 A Savoian messenger reported on September 5th, 1572, from Rome that the event was praised insofar as it was to the advantage of the king, the kingdom, and the religion but that the act would have been praised even more if the king had accomplished it with clean hands and in the form of legal proceedings. See von Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste im Zeitalter der katholischen Reformation und Restauration, 371. 15 On the Huguenot pamphlets, see Robert Lindsay and John Neu, French Political Pamphlets, 1547-1648 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969). Especially for those written from 1572 to 1585, see Arthur Tilley, “Some Pamphlets of the French Wars of Religion,” English Historical Review 14 (1899): 451-70. 16 See Marguérite Soulié, “La Saint-Barthélemy et la reflexion sur le pouvoir,” in Culture et politique en France à l’époque de l’Humanisme et de la Renaissance, ed. Franco Simone (Turin: Accademia delle scienze, 1974), 413-425, and Crouzet, La nuit de la Saint-Barthélemy, 85f. 17 von Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste im Zeitalter der katholischen Reformation und Restauration, 359; and Crouzet, La nuit de la Saint-Barthélemy, 416. 18 See Scott M. Manetsch, Theodore Beza and the Quest for Peace in France, 1572-1598 (Bedfordshire:Brill, 2000), 57ff. 19 The French ambassador to the Swiss cantons de Bellièvre defended this official version before the Swiss Diet at Baden (Dec 1572). See Scott M. Manetsch, Theodore Beza and the Quest for Peace in France, 57. 20 Charles IX claimed full responsibility for the assassination of Admiral Coligny. He had ordered the elimination of Protestant nobles in Paris, not because of their religious commitments, but as pre-emptive strike to crush a Huguenot conspiracy against the royal family. 21 On the history and function of the “lit de justice,” see Sarah Hanley, Le lit de justice des rois de France (Aubier: Flammarion, 1983), and Elizabeth Brown and Richard Famiglietti, The Lit de Justice: Semantics, Ceremonial, and the Parlement of Paris, 1300-1600 (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1994). For a definition, see Arlette Juanna, “Lit de justice,” Histoire et dictionnaire des guerres de religion, ed. Arlette Juanna, Jacqueline Boucher, and Dominique Biloghi (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1993), 1044-45. 22 “Si Charles IX est venu devant le parlement, cependant, ce n’est pas pour se justifier, c’est pour faire rentrer la justice d’exception qu’il prétend avoir faire excercer dans Paris dans la sphère de la normalité. ” Crouzet, La nuit de la SaintBarthélemy. 417f. 23 There is extensive literature on this topic. The most comprehensive is still Paolo Prodi, Il sovrano pontefice. Un corpo e due anime: La monarchia papale nella prima età moderna (Bologna: Mulino, 1982).
See Gaetano Catalano, “Controversie giurisdizionali fra Chiesa e Stato nell’età di Gregorio XIII e Filippo II,” Atti dell’Accademia di Scienze, Lettere e Arti di Palermo 2, no. 15 (1954-55): 5-306. 25 In the first months of the pontificate, Paleotti and Carlo Borromeo apparently worked together on the problem of the episcopal powers. Paolo Prodi, Il sovrano pontefice, 280ff. 26 Herz reads Vasari’s massacre frescoes as influenced by the attitude of Stanislaus Hosius toward heresy. See Herz, “Vasari’s ‘Massacre’ series in the Sala Regia,” 42. 27 On the architectural scenery in the frescoes, see Howe, “Architecture in Vasari’s Massacre of the Huguenots,” 258f. 28 Coligny was shot on the Rue Béthisy. Vasari knew the detailed accounts of the event. See Fehl, “Vasari’s ‘Extirpation of the Huguenots,’” 263-64. 29 See Herwarth Röttgen, “Zeitgeschichtliche Bildprogramme der Katholischen Restauration unter Gregor XIII,” 102. 30 2 Maccabees 3:1-28. 31 Peter Burke, Culture and Society in Renaissance Italy 1420-1540 (London: Batsford, 1972), 165. 32 Charles Joseph Marty-Laveaux, ed., Oeuvre poetiques de Jean Dorat (Paris: Lemerre, 1875), 31: “Cil qui estoit iadis chef des voleurs d’Eglises | Gaspar, a mis sans chef, fin à ses entreprises. | Cil qui profane & sainct de ses mains ravissoit, | En luy manchot de mains figure on n’appercoit. | Cil qui la part honteuse ostoit à la gent sacre, | Est sans partie honteuse un honteuse simulacra.” Translation by David Quint; see Quint, Epic and Empire:. Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 198. 33 Michel Foucault, “Society must be defended,” in Lectures at the Collège de France 1975-76, ed. Mauro Bertani, Francois Ewald, and Alessandro Fontant (New York: Picador, 2003). 34 On defenestration, see Godehard Janzing, “Fenstersturz als Fanal. Zur Bildlogik von Gewaltexzessen,” in Bürgerkrieg. Erfahrung und Repräsentation, ed. Isabella von Treskow, Albrecht Buschmann, and Anja Bandau (Berlin: Trafo Verlag, 2005), 73-102. 35 Röttgen, “Zeitgeschichtliche Bildprogramme der Katholischen Restauration unter Gregor XIII,” 103. 36 Simon is performing magic, and to prove himself a god he flies up into the air. The apostle Peter prays to God to stop his flying, and he falls, breaking his legs, whereupon the crowd, previously non-hostile, stones him to death. Apocrypha, Acts of Peter 32. 37 In a letter to Francesco de’ Medici, Vasari describes the events: “'N un altra si farà una notte e quando e signori di Ghisa accompagnati da’ capitani e gente rompono la porta ammazzando molti, e che Besme ammazza lo Ammiraglio, e lo gettano dalle finestre, e che gli è straginato, e che intorno a casa e per Parigi si fa la strage e occisione degli Ugonotti.” See Fehl, “Vasari’s ‘Extirpation of the Huguenots,’” 278. 38 See Valentin Groebner, Ungestalten. Die visuelle Kultur der Gewalt im Mittelalter (Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag, 2003).
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The most extensive description of the violence in the times of the religious wars in France is given by Crouzet, Les guerriers de Dieu. La violence au temps des troubles de religion. 1525 –1610 (Seyssel: Éditions Champ-Vallons, 1990). 40 Crouzet, La nuit de la Saint-Barthélemy, 279f. 41 Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer. Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. D. Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 28-29. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid., 85. 44 Ibid., 37. 45 Fehl, “Vasari’s ‘Extirpation of the Huguenots,’” 279f. 46 Salviati sends on a messenger on August 27th. See Pierre Hurtubise, “Comment Rome apprit la nouvelle du massacre de la Saint Barthélémy,” Archivum Historiae Pontificiae 10 (1972): 194. 47 Arlette Juanna, “Lit de justice, “ 1045. 48 For an extensive description of the ceremonial act, see especially. Fehl, “Vasari’s ‘Extirpation of the Huguenots,’” 279. On the symbolical meaning of costumes in images, see Philipp Zitzlsperger, “Kostümkunde als Methode der Kunstgeschichte,” Kritische Berichte 1 (2006): 36-51. 49 Fehl, “Vasari’s ‘Extirpation of the Huguenots,’” 280. 50 See Mack P. Holt, “The King in Parlement: the Problem of the Lit de Justice in Sixteenth-Century France,” The Historical Journal 21 (1988): 507-523. 51 On the general concept of the “state of exception,” see the analysis of Agamben. Agamben can in part be credited with the revival of this concept in two key books: Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life and State of Exception, trans. Kevin Attell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), here p. 5. 52 Paolo Prodi, Una storia della giustizia. Dal pluralismo dei fori al moderno dualismo tra coscienza e diritto (Bologna: Mulino, 2000). 53 Ibid. 54 Wolfgang Reinhard, Power Elites and State Building (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996); and Reinhard, Geschichte der Staatsgewalt. Eine vergleichende Verfassungsgeschichte Europas von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart (Munich: Beck, 1999), 269ff. 55 Agamben, Homer Sacer, 59.
Chapter Two Anxious Masculinity, Affectation, and the Creation of Personal Image: Echoes of Quintilian in Castiglione’s Il libro del Cortegiano 1
Wayne A. Rebhorn, Courtly Performances: Masking and Festivity in Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1978), 28. 2 “la natura in ogni cosa ha insito quello occulto seme, che porge una certa forza e proprietà del suo principio a tutto quello che da esso deriva ed a sé lo fa simile,” I.xiv. English from Baldesar Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, trans. Charles
Singleton, ed. Daniel Javitch (New York: Norton, 2002), and Italian from Baldassarre Castiglione, Il libro del Cortegiano, ed. Ettore Bonora (Milano: Mursia, 1972). All future references will be to these editions, cited by book and chapter number. 3 “una certa grazia e, come si dice, un sangue, che lo faccia al primo aspetto a chiunque lo vede grato ed amabile,” I.xiv. 4 “posson quei che non son da natura così perfettamente dotati, con studio e fatica limare e correggere in gran parte i diffetti naturali,” I.xiv. 5 “con qual arte, con qual disciplina e con qual modo,” I.xxiv. 6 “benché e’ sia quasi in proverbio che la grazia non s’impari,” I.xxv. Canossa gives the example of Philip of Macedon, who employed Aristotle as teacher to his son Alexander, which, as J.R. Woodhouse points out, is “almost a literal translation of Quintilian’s advice in the Institutio, I,1,” J.R. Woodhouse, Baldesar Castiglione: A Reassessment of The Courtier (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1978), 76. 7 Ibid., I.xxvi. 8 “date dalla natura e da Dio,” IV.xi. 9 “le virtù morali in noi non siano totalmente da natura,” IV.xii. 10 “le facezie e i motti sono più presto dono e grazia di natura che d’arte,” II.xlii. 11 Ibid., II.xlv. 12 “nihil credimus esse perfectum nisi ubi natura cura iuvetur,” 11.3.11. Quintilian, The Orator’s Education, ed. and trans. Donald A. Russell, Loeb Classical Library, 5 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001). Parentheses are mine. All future references will be to this edition. 13 “adfectata et parum naturalia,” 11.3.10. 14 “In hoc igitur non contumaciter consentio, primas partis esse naturae,” 11.3.11. 15 “vox. . . bona enim firmaque,” 11.3.13. 16 “Sed cura non eadem oratoribus quae phonascis convenit, tamen multa sunt utrisque communia: firmitas corporis, ne ad spadonum et mulierum et aegrorum exilitatem vox nostra tenuetur, quod ambulatio, unctio, veneris abstinentia, facilis ciborum digestio, id est frugalitas, praestat,” 11.3.19. 17 “sed cum sint alii veri adfectus, alii ficti et imitati, veri naturaliter erumpunt, ut dolentium irascentium indignantium, sed carent arte ideoque sunt disciplina et ratione formandi. Contra qui effinguntur imitatione, artem habent; sed hi carent natura, ideoque in iis primum est bene adfici et concipere imagines rerum et tamquam veris moveri,” 11.3.61-62. 18 Brackets are in the original. “usar in ogni cosa una certa sprezzatura, che nasconda l’arte e dimostri ciò che si fa e dice venir fatto senza fatica e quasi senza pensarvi. Da questo credo io che derivi assai la grazia; perché delle cose rare e ben fatte ognun sa la difficultà, onde in esse la facilità genera grandissima maraviglia; e per lo contrario lo sforzare e, come si dice, tirar per i capegli dà somma disgrazia e fa estimar poco ogni cosa, per grande ch’ella si sia,” I.xxvi. 19 “si po dir quella esser vera arte che non pare esser arte; né più in altro si ha da poner studio, che nel nasconderla,” I.xxvi. 20 Ibid., I.xxvi 21 Ibid., I.xxvii.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe 22
Rebhorn, Courtly Performances, 38. “Reclinari etiam ad suos et manibus sustineri, nisi plane iusta fatigatio est, delicatum: sicut palam moneri excidentis aut legere,” 11.3.132. 24 “namque in his omnibus et vis illa dicendi solvitur et frigescit adfectus et iudex parum sibi praestari reverentiae credit,” 11.3.133. 25 “Nam si qua in his ars est dicentium, ea prima est ne ars esse videatur,” 1.11.3. 26 Parentheses and italics are mine. “procedente vero actu, iam paene ab initio narrationis, sinus ab umero recte velut sponte delabitur, et cum ad argumenta ac locos ventum est reicere a sinistro togam, deicere etiam, si haereat, sinum conveniet. Laeva a faucibus ac summo pectore abducere licet: ardent enim iam omnia. Et ut vox vehementior ac magis varia est, sic amictus quoque habet actum quondam velut proeliantem,” 11.3.144-146. 27 “paene omnia decent, sudor ipse et fatigatio et neglegentior amictus et soluta ac velut labens undique toga,” 11.3.147; “Mihi vero illae quoque turbatae prae se ferre aliquid adfectus et ipsa oblivione curae huius commendari videntur” 11.3.148. 28 Ibid., 11.3.149 29 Cicero, On the Ideal Orator, ed. and trans James. M. May and Jakob Wisse (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 1.113-114. All future citations in English will be from this edition. Latin from Cicero, De oratore, ed. and trans. E.W. Sutton and H. Rackham, Loeb Classical Library, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1942). 30 “Verum ego hanc vim intellego esse in praeceptis omnibus, non ut ea secuti oratores, eloquentiae laudem sint adepti, sed, quae sua sponte homines eloquentes facerent, ea quosdam observasse atque collegisse; sic esse non eloquentiam ex artificio, sed artificium ex eloquentia natum,” 1.146. 31 See 1.113-115 and 1.134-159, as well as James M. May and Jakob Wisse, introduction to On the Ideal Orator, by Cicero (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 23-25, 27. 32 “Attamen ars ipsa ludicra armorum et gladiatori et militi prodest aliquid; sed animus acer, et praesens, et auctus idem atque versutus, invictos viros efficit [non difficilius arte coniucta],” 2.84. As E.W. Sutton and H. Rackham, the editors and translators of the 1942 Loeb edition, note, “Ellendt, Sorof, and others reject the words in brackets as a copyist’s addition.” Others have suggested “non desidia arte coniuncta.” The most recent English translators, James May and Jacob Wisse, cited in this paper, take the line as “non [d.] arte coniuncta,” and interpret “without the addition of any art.” See Cicero, On the Ideal Orator, ed. and trans James M. May and Jakob Wisse, Appendix C, p.312. See also Cicero, De Oratore, ed. Augustus S. Wilkins (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892), 269, note 3, and Anton D. Leeman and Harm Pinkster, M. Tullius Cicero, De oratore libri III : Kommentar, 4 vols (Heidelberg : C. Winter, 1981), 2: 295. 33 Wayne A. Rebhorn, “Baldesar Castiglione, Thomas Wilson, and the Courtly Body of Renaissance Rhetoric,” Rhetorica 11 (summer 1993): 243. 34 Ibid., 243-249. 35 Ibid., 252. 23
“laterum inflexione hac forti ac virili non ab scena et histrionibus sed ab armis aut etiam a palaestra,” 3.220. Crassus makes an almost identical remark a little earlier at 3.200. 37 Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 11.3.184, quoted in Rebhorn, “Baldesar Castiglione, Thomas Wilson, and the Courtly Body of Renaissance Rhetoric,” 252. 38 Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 12.1.1, quoted in Rebhorn, “Baldesar Castiglione, Thomas Wilson, and the Courtly Body of Renaissance Rhetoric,” 252. 39 Erik Gunderson, “Discovering the Body in Roman Oratory,” in Parchments of Gender: Deciphering the Bodies of Antiquity, ed. Maria Wyke (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 171. 40 Ibid., 182. 41 Parentheses in the original. “come il danzar, festeggiar, cantar e giocare, fossero leggerezze e vanità, ed in un omo di grado più tosto degne di biasimo che di laude; perché queste attillature, imprese, motti ed altre tai cose che appartengono ad intertenimenti di donne e d’amori, ancora che forse a molti altri paia il contrario, spesso non fanno altro che effeminar gli animi, corrumper la gioventù e ridurla a vita lascivissima; onde nascono poi questi effetti che ’l nome italiano è ridutto in obrobio, né si ritrovano se non pochi che osino non dirò morire, ma pur entrare in uno pericolo,” IV.iv. 42 Ibid., IV.v. 43 “Voglio adunque che ’l cortegiano . . . si volti con tutti i pensieri e forze dell’animo suo ad amare e quasi adorare il principe a chi serve sopra ogni altra cosa; e le voglie sue e costumi e modi tutti indrizzi a compiacerlo,” II.xviii. 44 This has been best explained by critics such as Daniel Javitch and David Quint. See Javitch, “Il Cortegiano and the Constraints of Despotism,” in Castiglione: The Ideal and the Real in Renaissance Culture, eds. Robert W. Hanning and David Rosand (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 17-28; and Quint, “Courtier, Prince, Lady: The Design of the Book of the Courtier,” in Castiglione Baldesar, The Book of the Courtier, trans. Charles Singleton, ed. Daniel Javitch, (New York: Norton, 2002), 352-365. 45 Quint, “Courtier, Prince, Lady: The Design of the Book of the Courtier,” 364. 46 Ibid., 358. 47 George A. Kennedy, A New History of Classical Rhetoric (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 177-181. 48 For a brief discussion of the political and social role of the orator in Cicero’s time, see May and Wisse, introduction to On the Ideal Orator, by Cicero, 4-6. 49 Mark Breitenberg, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 2. 50 Ibid., 3.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Chapter Three Mother’s Milk and Deborah’s Sword: The Anatomy of Joan of Arc in Henry VI 1
For the purposes of this paper, unless specifically termed the “historical” Joan of Arc, all conjectures and criticism refer to William Shakespeare’s character of Joan, loosely based upon the historical figure. The specific version of Shakespeare’s text used in this paper is Edward Burns’ edition of King Henry VI, Part 1 (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2000). 2 Nancy Gutierrez, “Gender and Value in 1 Henry VI: The Role of Joan de la Pucelle,” Theatre Journal 42 (May 1990): 183. 3 Ibid., 142. 4 Kathryn Schwarz, “Missing the Breast: Desire, Disease, and the Singular Effect of Amazons,” in The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern Europe, ed. David Hillman and Carla Mazzio (New York: Routledge, 1997), 47, 49. 5 Susan Crane, “Clothing and Definition: Joan of Arc,” in Inscribing the Hundred Years’ War in French and English Cultures, ed. Denise N. Baker (Albany: SUNY Press, 2000), 203. 6 Edward Burns, introduction to King Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2000), 26. 7 Burns chooses to use “Puzel” in his edition of 1 Henry VI as the chosen spelling of “Pucelle.” For his commentary on this choice, see his Introduction (“Puzzling at Joan”) and his Appendix (Names, Naming and Wordplay). 8 Thomas Heywood, Nine Bookes of Variovs Historie, Onelie concerning Women: Inscribed by the names of the nine Muses (1624), cited in Simon Shepherd, Amazons and Warrior Women: Varieties of Feminism in Seventeenth-Century Drama (Brighton: Harvester Press, 1981), 14. 9 Schwarz, “Missing the Breast,” 48. 10 See, for example, Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, “Fetishizing Gender: Constructing the Hermaphrodite in Renaissance Europe,” in Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity, ed. Julia Epstein and Kristina Straub (New York: Routledge, 1991), 95. 11 Gabriele Bernhard Jackson, “Topical Ideology: Witches, Amazons, and Shakespeare’s Joan of Arc,” in Women in the Renaissance: Selections from English Literary Renaissance ed. Kirby Farrell, Elizabeth H. Hageman, and Arthur F. Kinney (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988), 103. 12 Schwarz, “Missing the Breast,” 163. 13 Robin Blaetz, Visions of the Maid: Joan of Arc in American Film and Culture (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2001), 186. 14 Deborah Fraioli, “Why Joan of Arc Never Became an Amazon,” in Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc, ed. Bonnie Wheeler (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1998), 190. In her attempt to equate Joan with the Biblical heroines, Fraioli explains the difficulties inherent in assembling a list of Nine Worthy Women to stand alongside the male Nine Worthies of popular exempla. This discussion
provides an interesting tangent to the classification of women as divine vessels or warriors. 15 Blaetz, Visions of the Maid, 186. 16 Joan’s prophecies—both the ones she fulfills and the ones she creates—are outside of the scope of this paper. For further detailed information, see Fraioli, “The Literary Image of Joan of Arc: Prior Influences,” Speculum 56 (1981): 811830. 17 Blaetz, Visions of the Maid, 184. 18 Hwa-Seon Kim, “Witches, Transvestites, and Dangerous Female Bodies: A Feminist Reading of Joan of Arc in 1 Henry VI,” The Korean Society of Feminist Studies in English Literature 6 (Winter 1998). 19 Ibid., 38. 20 Ibid., 37. 21 David Bevington, “The Domineering Female in 1 Henry VI,” Studies 2 (1966): 52. 22 Crane, “Clothing and Definition,” 202-203. 23 For a fuller discussion of transvestite saints, see Simon Gaunt’s article “Straight Minds/‘Queer’ Wishes,” GLQ: Journals of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1 (1995): 439-457. 24 Crane, “Clothing and Definition,” 211. 25 Marina Warner, “Joan of Arc: A Gender Myth,” in Joan of Arc: Reality and Myth, ed. J. Van Herwaarden (Rotterdam: Erasmus University, 1994), 112. 26 Jackson, “Topical Ideology,” 112. 27 A Parisian Journal, 1405-1449, trans. Janet Shirley (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1968). 28 Records of Joan of Arc’s Canonization trial, in Henry Ansgar Kelly, “Joan of Arc’s Last Trial: The Attack of the Devil’s Advocates,” in Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc, ed. Bonnie Wheeler (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc, 1998), 218.
Chapter Four Echo and Narcissus: Labyrinths of the Self in Early Modern Music 1
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things. An Archeology of the Human Sciences, trans. Rupert Swyer (New York: Vintage Books Edition, 1994), 3-16. 2 Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 3. 3 Even after recognizing his mistake (“Why, you’re me! Now I see. My reflection has deceived me! I’m in love with myself! I light the fire that I feel! What am I going to do? Wait for him to make the first move? Make it myself? How can I make the first move now? What I want, I’ve got; what I’ve got, I want. Oh! If only I could leave my body! Here’s a new prayer for a lover: ‘Go away, my love!’”), Narcissus does not manage to utterly grasp it (“Half out of his mind with grief, he looked again at the face in the pool, and his tears, splashing into the water, broke up the reflection: ‘Where are you running away to?’ he cried when he saw the
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
image disappearing. ‘Stay with me, heartless boy. . . .’”). Ovid, The Metamorphoses, trans. and introduction Michael Simpson (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001), 55. 4 Julia Kristeva, “Narcissus: The New Insanity,” in Tales of Love, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), 116. 5 In the third movement of Hector Berlioz’s (1803-1869) Fantastic symphony (1830), for instance, the onstage English horn and offstage oboe toss back and forth a melody, thus simulating shepherds’ calls in the countryside. Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) also exploits similar effects in the final movement of his second symphony (“Resurrection”) (1888-94) by placing the entire band of brass and percussion instruments behind the stage. The most memorable moment in this musical depiction of Judgment Day is when the offstage brass mimics “the great call” of heavenly fanfares while the onstage flutes imitate the bird song. 6 I understand modernity as a period in European history from the late sixteenth to mid-twentieth century whose beginning is defined not only by a gradual disintegration of religious worldview, as it is often claimed, but, more importantly, by the discovery of the individual agency in a rapidly changing world. In stylistic terms, modernity begins with mannerism and the Baroque, while its definitive crises arrive with modernism and the avant-garde. There are numerous factors and various historical points that are commonly used to determine the emergence of modernity in Western culture: the development of cities, the rise of literacy and “print culture,” the emergence of empirical science, the rule of reason, the revolutions and changes in class structure, to name the most common ones. In art, one of the most important denominators of modernity, in my opinion, is the emergence of self-observance. Certainly caused and shaped by social, economic, and technological changes, the discovery of the self and the exploration of the self’s own potentials and limitations seem to be at the core of modern artworks. 7 For further discussion, see William Egginton, How the World Became a Stage: Presence, Theatricality and the Question of Modernity (Albany: State University of New York, 2003), especially 67-85. 8 Dietrich Bartel, Musica Poetica: Musical-Rhetorical Figures in German Baroque Music (Lincoln, NE and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 343. 9 “In early examples, the intermedii were performed either on or in front of the fixed set of the play, but increasingly the set was altered in some way, soon leading to a complete transformation that allowed the stage designer to show off his talents in ways not normally allowed by contemporary drama.” Tim Carter, Music in Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Italy (Portland: Amadeus Press, 1992), 155. 10 “Accordingly, a brief space after the descent of the curtains which conceal from the eyes of the Spectators the Perspective of the concave Heavens of the opening scene, there is seen to appear a second, most ingeniously contrived Heaven . . . At the same time there was seen at one extremity of the perspective, as though walking on the earth, Cupid approaching with wings and quite nude as he is described by poets . . . The first Act being finished, there is seen issuing, from one of the four passageways left between the scenes for the use of the actors, a tiny Cupid . . . etc.” “Music at a Medici Wedding,” in Music in the Western World: A
History in Documents, selected and annotated by Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin (New York: Schirmer Books, 1984), 115. 11 Ellen Rosand demonstrates how the operas created in Florence, Mantua, and Rome have a strong resemblance to the court music tradition of intermedii. She claims that the Venetian public opera is the beginning of the genre as we know it today. See Rosand, Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice: The Creation of a Genre (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991). 12 “Cortese Eco amorosa che sconsolata sei, e consolar mi vuoi ne’ dolor miei . . . Ma mentr’io mi querelo deh, perché mi rispondi sol con gl’ultimi accenti?” 13 Sternfeld elaborates this claim in Frederick W. Sternfeld, “Orpheus, Ovid and Opera,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 113, no. 2 (1988): 172-202. 14 Ibid., 178. 15 “Es wird dir schwer warden, wider den Stachel zu lökken.” 16 “Man empfand die Welt zwar als poetisches labyrinth Gottes, suchte aber nicht mehr nach dem Eingang oder auch nur nach dem Ausgang. Man blieb im Unentwirrbaren stecken.” Gustav René Hocke, Die Welt als Labyrinth. Manier und Manie in der Europäischen Kunst (Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1957), 14. 17 Umberto Eco, The Open Work (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 7.
Chapter Five Aristocratic Spectacle: Visual and Literary Portraiture in the SeventeenthCentury French Salon 1 Peter Brooks, Novels of Worldliness: Crébillon, Marivaux, Laclos, Stendhal (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 46. 2 Nicolas Faret, L’Honnête homme, ou l’art de plaire à la cour (Paris: Presse Universitaires de France, 1925), 9. French original: “Représenter . . . comme dans un petit tableau les qualitez les plus necessaires, soit de l’esprit, soit du corps, que doit posseder celuy que se veut render agreable dans la Cour.” 3 Brooks, Novels of Worldliness, 47. 4 Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, trans. Rupert Swyer (New York: Vintage, 1970), 19. 5 Ibid., 21-3. 6 Ibid., 23. 7 Ibid., 23-4. 8 Erica Harth, “The Ideological Value of the Portrait in Seventeenth-Century France,” L’Esprit Créateur 21, no. 3 (1991): 22. 9 Ibid., 21. 10 Erica Harth, Ideology and Culture in Seventeenth-Century France (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983), 38. 11 René Descartes, Discours de la méthode, ed. Geneviève Rodis-Lewis (Paris: Flammarion, 1992), 27.
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For “heroic ethics,” see Paul Bénichou “The Hero in Corneille,” in Morales du grand siècle (Paris: Gallimard, 1948). 13 Émile Benveniste, “Subjectivity in Language,” in Critical Theory Since 1965, ed. Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle (Tallahassee: University Presses of Florida, 1986), 729. 14 Ibid., 729. 15 Ibid., 730. 16 Morris Bishop, The Life and Adventures of La Rochefoucauld (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1951), 227. 17 Vivien Thweatt, “La Rochefoucauld and the Seventeenth-Century Concept of the Self,” Histoire des idées et critique littéraire 188 (Genève: Droz, 1980), 9. 18 Bishop, The Life and Adventures of La Rochefoucauld, 240. 19 François de la Rochefoucauld, “Portrait de M.R.D. fait par lui-même,” Maximes (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1977), 165. 20 From a letter to Père Esprit from La Rochefoucauld, 6 February 1664, quoted in Henry C. Clark, La Rochefoucauld and the Language of Unmasking in Seventeenth-Century France (Genève: Droz, 1994), 121. 21 Ibid., 122. 22 Bishop, The Life and Adventures of La Rochefoucauld, 254. 23 Thweatt, “La Rochefoucauld and the Seventeenth-Century Concept of the Self,” 88. 24 Richard G. Hodgson, Falsehood Disguised: Unmasking the Truth in La Rochefoucauld (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1995), 34. 25 The number of the quoted maxim is 739 in this edition of the text, and subsequent references to Pascal’s work will be in-text citations of the maxim number given in this edition. Blaise Pascal, Pensées (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1962), 300. 26 Ibid., 131. 27 La Rochefoucauld, “Réflexions diverses,” Maximes, 110. 28 Hodgson, Falsehood Disguised, 28. 29 Quoted in Thweatt, “La Rochefoucauld and the Seventeenth-Century Concept of the Self,” 111. 30 Clark, La Rochefoucauld and the Language of Unmasking, 88. 31 Thweatt, “La Rochefoucauld and the Seventeenth-Century Concept of the Self,” 96. 32 La Rochefoucauld, Maximes, 91. 33 Ibid., 49. 34 Ibid., 55. 35 Hodgson, Falsehood Disguised, 34. 36 Thweatt, “La Rochefoucauld and the Seventeenth-Century Concept of the Self,” 101. 37 W. G. Moore, La Rochefoucauld: His Mind and Art (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), 85. 38 La Rochefoucauld, Maximes, 64. 39 Moore, La Rochefoucauld, 92. 40 Clark, La Rochefoucauld and the Language of Unmasking, 209.
Ibid., 214. Jean Lafond, ed., Les formes brèves de la prose et le discourse discontinu (XVIeXVIIe siècles, De Pétrarque à Descartes) 46 (Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1984), 91. 43 Ibid., 118. 44 Benveniste, “Subjectivity in Language,” 729. 45 Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1965), 245. 46 Ibid., 245. 47 Martin Price, Forms of Life: Character and Moral Imagination in the Novel (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), xiii. 48 Theodor Adorno, Problems of Moral Philosophy, trans. Rodney Livingstone (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001), 119. 42
Chapter Six The Future of the Past Looks Bleak: Spenser’s Recycled Image and Baudrillard’s Simulacrum 1 Susan Staub, “According to My Source: Fictionality in The Adventures of Master F.J.,” Studies in Philology 87, no. 1 (1990), 111. 2 Philip Sidney, The Apology for Poetry, in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, ed. Vincent B. Leitch et al. (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2001), 330. 3 Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, trans. Sheila F. Glaser (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2001), 12. 4 Ibid., 1-2. 5 Ibid., 6. 6 Sidney, The Apology for Poetry, 330. Italics are mine. 7 Edmund Spenser, “Letter to Raleigh,” in The Faerie Queene, ed. A.C. Hamilton (London: Longman Press, 2001), 715. 8 Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, 6. 9 Donald V. Stump, “The Two Deaths of Mary Stuart: Historical Allegory in Spenser’s Book of Justice,” Spenser Studies: A Renaissance Poetry Journal 9, (1991): 81. 10 Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, all citations hereafter cited in text. 11 Stump, “The Two Deaths,” 82. 12 Ibid., 82. 13 Ibid., 98-99. 14 Sidney, Apology, 328. 15 Oxford English Dictionary, “Conceit.” 16 John E. Curran, Jr., “Spenser and the Historical Revolution: Briton Monuments and the Problem of Roman Britain,” Clio 25 (1996): 273. 17 Ibid., 273 18 Ibid., 274.
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Carrie Anne Harper, The Sources of The British Chronicle History in Spenser’s Faerie Queene (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1910), 1-2. 20 Richard Waswo, “The History that Literature Makes” in Theories of Myth: Literary Criticism and Myth, ed. Robert A. Segal (New York: Garland; 1996), 541. 21 Ibid., 545. 22 Ibid., 547-48. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid., 541. 25 Sidney, Apology, 342. 26 Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, 3. 27 Plutarch, Moralia, ed. and trans. Frank C Babbit, Loeb Classic Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927), 82-83. 28 Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, 10-11. 29 Ibid., 10. 30 Ibid., 6. 31 Italics are mine. 32 Sidney, Apology, 334. Italics are mine. 33 Richard Waswo, “The History that Literature Makes,” 541. 34 Ibid., 6-7. 35 Edmund Spenser, The Shepherd’s Calendar, in Yale Edition of the Shorter Poems of Edmund Spenser, ed. William A. Oram, Einar Bjorvand, and Ronald Bond (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 18.
Chapter Seven Taking Mary’s Pulse: Cartesianism and Modernity in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin 1
An earlier version of this chapter entitled “The Cartesian Body: Immateriality in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin,” was published under the author’s maiden name, Elissa Anderson, in Constructions of Death, Mourning, and Memory Conference, October 27-29, 2006, Proceedings, ed. Lilian H. Zirpolo (Woodcliff Lake, NJ: The WAPACC Organization, 2006), 183-86. 2 Transitus, or transito, refers to the physical passage (migratio ad Dominum) of Mary’s soul from one existence to another but does not imply her Assumption. The terms are synonymous with Mary’s Dormition––Mary’s temporary state of sleep before her Assumption. Therefore, the Dormition refers to Mary’s temporary state of corporeality immediately prior to her spiritual and corporeal resurrection. Pamela Askew, Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 20-1. On Mary’s early history in the Eastern and Western Churches, see Stephen James Shoemaker, Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). 3 Josua Bruyn recognized the rarity of the Dormition theme in seventeenth-century art. Bruyn, Rembrandt’s keuze van bijbelse onderwerpen (Utrecht: Kunsthistorisch Instituut der Rijksuniversiteit, 1959), 9.
On the general scientific advancements of the early seventeenth century, see in particular, Wiep van Bunge, From Stevin to Spinoza: An Essay on Philosophy in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 103 (Leiden, Boston, and Köln: Brill, 2001); Jonathan I. Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); and George Molland, “Science and Mathematics from the Renaissance to Descartes,” in The Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century Rationalism, ed. G.H.R. Parkinson (London and New York: Routledge, 1993). 5 The Death of the Virgin is the second smallest of Rembrandt’s eight largest prints, all of which depict New Testament themes. Three states of the print are extant. Each state varies in its degree of hatching, crosshatching, roulette and drypoint to intensify its depth of field. The composition remains unchanged after the first state. Erik Hinterding, “The History of Rembrandt’s Copperplates with a Catalogue of Those That Survive,” Simiolus 22, no. 4 (1993-94): 305; and Christopher White, Rembrandt as an Etcher: A Study of the Artist at Work, 2nd ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999), 16, note 24. See also W. Nowell-Usticke, “The Death of the Virgin,” in Rembrandt’s Etchings, States and Values (Narberth, PA: Livingston Publishing Co., 1967). 6 Three of the four states were produced in 1639, 1646, and 1653. The third state was reprinted at least eight times, but all of the impressions are posthumous. Erik Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher: The Practice of Production and Distribution, ed. Craig Hartley, Peter Fuhring, Ger Luijten, Jan Van der Stock, trans. Michael Hoyle, Studies in Prints and Printmaking 6 (Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel, the Netherlands: Sound & Vision Publishers, 2006), 100-102. 7 Svetlana Alpers argued that Rembrandt deliberately manipulated conventional iconographic motifs in an unusual manner so as to express his artistic individuality and the distinctly Protestant characteristic of his personality. Alpers states, “Rembrandt did not simply hide his sources. He resisted the lure of authority offered by a canonical work in order to show that he was making it his own.” Svetlana Alpers, Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), 77. 8 Nadine Orenstein posits that Catholic collectors in Amsterdam must have commissioned the print from Rembrandt due to its apocryphal subject matter. Nadine M. Orenstein, “Rembrandt’s Death of the Virgin,” in Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship, ed. Walter Liedtke, et al. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995), 206, note 1. On Rembrandt’s intention to sell his print to Catholic patrons, see also Ronald R. Bernier, “The Economy of Salvation: Narrative and Liminality in Rembrandt’s Death of the Virgin,” Religion and the Arts 9, no. 3/4 (2005): 178; Holm Bevers, “Rembrandt as an Etcher,” in Rembrandt: the Master & His Workshop, Drawings & Etchings, ed. Holm Bevers, Peter Schatborn, and Barbara Welzel (New Haven and London: Yale University Press in association with National Gallery Publications, 1991), 203; and Anat Gilboa, Images of the Feminine in Rembrandt’s Work (Delft: Eburon, 2003), 57, 59. The only scholar to argue for an intended Protestant audience for The Death of the Virgin is Brom, who contends that Rembrandt Protestantized the iconography
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of the image by eliminating recognizable objects commonly used in Catholic liturgical ceremonies and modifying the scene in ways that include removing the burning candle used in extreme unction, portraying the scene as a church service with contemporary figures, and “playfully” changing elements like the tall staff so they could not comply with a confessional purpose. Brom claims that Rembrandt’s changes to the scene are “Protestant,” yet he does not explain how any of these points are in accordance with Protestantism. Gerard Brom, “De traditie in Rembrandt’s Dood van Maria,” Oud Holland 43 (1926): 114-116. 9 None of the previous scholarship on Rembrandt’s print proposes an alternative reading to the scene as anything but an image of the Dormition despite the artist’s numerous modifications to the theme. See especially 10 The Counter-Reformation Church emphasized an unearthly quality in Mary with light, angels, lilies, and corn sheaves in scenes particularly of the Assumption as a means to underscore her Immaculate Conception and virginity. On the Reformation and Counter-Reformation response to Mary’s death and Assumption, see Sally Cunneen, In Search of Mary: The Woman and the Symbol (New York: Ballantine Books, 1996), 210. 11 Luther eliminated the feastday of the Assumption from the Lutheran calendar in 1544. Thomas F. O’Meara, Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1966), 118. For a brief summary of Mary’s life in art and the history of Mary in Catholic and Protestant doctrine, see Melissa R. Katz, “Regarding Mary: Women’s Lives Reflected in the Virgin’s Image,” in Divine Mirrors: The Virgin Mary in the Visual Arts, ed. Melissa R. Katz (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). Refer also to Sergiusz Michalski, The Reformation and the Visual Arts: The Protestant Image Question in Western and Eastern Europe (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), 36, 89; and Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), 94-5, 97. 12 The earliest apocryphal texts addressing Mary’s Assumption are attributed to the author Pseudo-Melito from the fourth or fifth century and Pseudo-John from the sixth century. The Syriac tradition of Mary’s death began at the end of the sixth century following St. Epiphanius (367-403), who declared that the events of Mary’s death are unknown. Epiphanius’ statement led to a flood of Marian legends on the Dormition that ranged from descriptions of the apostles resuscitating Mary to angels intervening in her death. John Joseph McCarthy, “The Death of Mary: An Historical and Theological Study” (M.A. thesis, St. Joseph’s Seminary, 1958), 2, 5; and George H. Tavard, “The Genesis of Mariology,” in A Feminist Companion to Mariology, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Maria Mayo Robbins (London and New York: T&T Clark International, 2005), 113. 13 According to Mâle, seventeenth-century artists continued to rely upon the Legenda aurea as their chief source on the lives of the saints. He states that artists depicted apocryphal subjects because the Counter-Reformation Church allowed them to do so but that the “serious-minded no longer gave them credence.” Émile Mâle, Religious Art from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Century (New York: Pantheon Books, Inc., 1949), 190-92. My references to the Legenda aurea come from a recent translation in Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on
the Saints, trans. William Granger Ryan, 2 vols. (Princeton.: Princeton University Press, 1993), 77-97. 14 Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, 80. 15 Ibid., 82. 16 Ibid. 17 Brom identifies the large female figure that braces Mary’s bedpost as Mary Magdalen because like Mary, the Magdalen is also connected to the spirits in the sky. Brom, “De traditie in Rembrandt’s Dood van Maria,” 114. Schapelman points out that Rembrandt’s combination of two separate moments of Mary’s death from the Legenda aurea––the angel’s annunciation of her death and the transportation of the apostles to Mary’s bedside––suggests that Rembrandt looked to the legend for inspiration as opposed to solely relying upon visual sources. Marijn Schapelman, “The Death of the Virgin, 1639,” in Rembrandt the Printmaker, ed. Erik Hinterding, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch (Chicago and London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000), 163; and Williams, Rembrandt’s Women, 165. 18 Rembrandt quickly etched the male figure with outstretched arms so that like Mary, he also appears to emit light. The strong visual correlation between Mary and the male figure strengthens the possibility that he represents Christ, particularly in consideration of the verse of Christ: “I am the light of the world, he said. He who follows me can never walk in darkness; he will possess the light which is life” (John 8:12). Askew, Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin, 132. Another reason for identifying this figure as Christ is his prominent silhouette against the draped background, which may refer to Christ as the Door of Paradise, the Porta Paradisi, from the verse: “I am the door; a man will find salvation if he makes his way in through me” (John 10:9). Christ as the Door of Paradise is often a referent to his mother Mary, who made his incarnation possible, so both Mary and Christ function as intercessors to salvation. Maurice Vloberg, La Vierge notre Médiatrice (Grenoble: B. Arthaud Éditeur, 1938), 101, note 117 in Askew, Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin, 130-131. The drapes themselves may refer to the Incarnation and its prefiguration to Mary’s Assumption based on the verse that the hope of resurrection “reaches that inner sanctuary beyond the veil which Jesus Christ, our escort has entered already” (Heb. 6:10). Askew, Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin, 116. See also Posèq, who notes that the curtain signifies the transition from the temporal to the celestial realm and thus separates the saints from laypeople. Avigdor W. G. Posèq, “Pathosformels, decorum and the ‘Art of Gestures’ in Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin,” Konsthistorisk Tidsskrift 61 (1992): 37. 19 The Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis’ Dormition image is based upon a print designed by Maarten de Vos and engraved by Johannes Sadeler I, The Death of the Virgin, 1576 (Hollstein 719). On the Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, see Dirk Imhof, De Boekillustraties ten tijde van de Moretussen (Antwerpen: Museum Plantin-Moretus, 1996), 98-99. Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, Nuper reformatum, & Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editum: Ad instar Breviarii Romani sub Urbano VIII. recogniti (Antverpiae [Antwerp]: Ex Officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti, 1652). 20 Ariès points out that the reader with spectacles has been a common pictorial motif in Dormition imagery since the end of the Middle Ages. Philippe Ariès, The
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Hour of Our Death, trans. Helen Weaver (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 141. 21 Scholars widely agree that large books in biblical images represent the Bible. On this motif, refer to Christopher White, Rembrandt as an Etcher: A Study of the Artist at Work (University Park, PA and London: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), 44, 46. 22 In his study of Marian doctrine and beliefs, Pelikan notes that Mary’s Dormition implies her Assumption and consequently her role as “Queen of Heaven.” Pelikan, Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996), 208. 23 On the site at Heiloo, see Willem Frijhoff and Marijke Spies, 1650: Hard-Won Unity, trans. Myra Heerspink Scholz, Dutch Culture in a European Perspective 1 (Assen and Basingstoke: Royal Van Gorcum and Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 28; and Evelyne M.F. Verheggen, Beelden voor Passie en Hartstocht: Bid- en devotieprenten in de Noordelijke Nederlanden, 17de en 18de eeuw (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 2006), 252. 24 Robert Bellarmine, Robert Bellarmine: Spiritual Writings, trans. John Patrick Donnelly S.J., and Roland J. Teske, S.J., eds. (New York and Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1989), 36. The Jesuit order in Rome revived the ars moriendi genre in the seventeenth century. As part of this movement, a new foundation, the Confraternity of the Bona Mors at the Gesù in Rome, founded in 1648 by Vincenzo Caraffa, practiced devotions and exercises to ensure their good death. Susan C. Karant-Nunn, The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany (London and New York: Routledge, 1997), 139; Irving Lavin, “Bernini’s Death,” The Art Bulletin 54, no. 2 (1972): 163-164; Mary Catharine O’Connor, The Art of Dying Well: The Development of the Ars Moriendi (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942); and Carlos Sommervogel and Augustin de Backer, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus (Bruxelles and Paris: Oscar Schepens and Alphose Picard, 1890-1932). 25 Sommervogel and Backer, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, passim. 26 Bellarmine published the Amsterdam edition of the book in Latin, which Rembrandt may or may not have been able to read. While he did attend Latin school in Leiden before he began his apprenticeship as an artist, thus allowing for the possibility that he could read at least some Latin, he was certainly capable of examining the book’s two detailed illustrations. Roberti S.R.E. Card. Bellarmini, De arte bene moriendi. Libri dvo. (Coloniae Agrippinae [Amsterdam]: Cornelium ab Egmond [Willem Jansz. Blaeu], 1626). 27 Several chapters of Bellarmine’s De arte bene moriendi outline the rules of dying well at the time “death draws near.” Each chapter focuses upon the sacrament, practice, and necessity of extreme unction. Bellarmine, Robert Bellarmine: Spiritual Writings, especially 303, 342-344, 350-351, 366. See also Lavin, “Bernini’s Death,” 164. 28 Bellarmine introduces the topic of extreme unction in chapter sixteen, the last chapter of the first part of his book. He states that extreme unction should be postponed as long as possible because the administration of the sacrament might frighten the dying person. Since it can also restore one’s health, however, it should
be performed while the dying person remains conscious. Bellarmine, Robert Bellarmine: Spiritual Writings, 303, 366. 29 On handkerchiefs as a sign of sorrow, see S.S. Dickey, “‘Met een wenende ziel . . . doch droge ogen’: Women Holding Handkerchiefs in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Portraits,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 46 (1995): 333-367. 30 Susan C. Karant-Nunn remarks that the priest’s sacred surplice and stole are essential components of his liturgical vestments worn while administering the last sacraments. The garments distinguish the priest from other clerics and attendants in the death chamber, thus imbuing him with unique, supernatural powers. KarantNunn, The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany, 140. 31 Ibid., 143. 32 On dying rituals and their parallel to images of the Dormition, see especially Ariès, The Hour of Our Death, 108-09, 141. 33 Urbach posits that Protestants abolished crosses for individual devotion, therefore Protestant audiences could have appreciated Rembrandt’s odd-shaped staff, which denies an affinity with Catholic liturgical crosses. Zsuzsa Urbach, “Notes on Bruegel’s Archaism: His Relation to Early Netherlandish Painting and Other Sources,” Acta Historiae Artium 24 (1978): 244. One of the best resources on seventeenth-century Protestant (especially Lutheran) dying and death rituals is Craig M. Koslofsky, The Reformation of the Dead: Death and Ritual in Early Modern Germany, 1450-1700 (London and New York: MacMillan Press and St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 38. 34 Calvinists were also not allowed to ring bells in a burial processional. KarantNunn, The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany, 185. 35 Scholars have observed that some impressions of Rembrandt’s etching, The Three Trees, 1643, contain elements from The Death of the Virgin. Hinterding comments that Rembrandt began the Dormition on the smaller copperplate and later reused it for The Three Trees. Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher: The Practice of Production and Distribution, 102. See also Colin Campbell, “Rembrandts etsen Het Sterfbed van Maria en De drie bomen,” Kroniek van het Rembrandthuis 32, no. 2 (1980): 2-33. 36 Brom was the first scholar to relate Rembrandt’s print to Crabeth’s Oude Kerk windows, but he misattributed them to Pieter Aertsen. Scholars now overwhelmingly agree that Crabeth designed the windows. Brom, “De traditie in Rembrandt’s Dood van Maria,” 116; Schapelman, “The Death of the Virgin, 1639,” 162; White, Rembrandt as an Etcher: A Study of the Artist at Work, 45; and Williams, Rembrandt’s Women, 165. For a study of Crabeth’s windows in Gouda and Amsterdam, refer to J.Q. van Regteren Altena, “Tekeningen van Dirck Crabeth,” Oud Holland 55-56 (1938): 107-14. 37 The extant Rembrandt documents indicate that the artist purchased nine sets of the series at the Gommer Sprange auction. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Walter L. Strauss, and Marjon van der Meulen, The Rembrandt Documents (New York: Abaris Books, 1979), 165. White notes that Rembrandt attended the auction in February on two occasions. White, Rembrandt as an Etcher: A Study of the
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Artist at Work, 45. Haak concluded from Rembrandt’s purchase that he must have intended to sell the series as a dealer, which strengthens the possibility that Rembrandt expected his large and highly finished print, The Death of the Virgin, to find an eager buying market. Haak, Rembrandt: His Life, Work and Times, 161. For a thorough study of Dürer’s Life of the Virgin series and its pictorial influences, see Carol L. Troyen, “Dürer’s Life of the Virgin” (Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University, 1979). Rembrandt’s second son was baptized on July 22, 1638, in the Oude Kerk, and in the year he etched his print under discussion he purchased a new, grandiose home near the church. Van Rijn, Strauss, and Meulen, The Rembrandt Documents, 155. 38 The seventeenth-century Dutch Republic’s progressive and modernizing impulses have been attributed by Max Weber and Heinz Schilling to Calvinism and the confessionalization of the Calvinist, Catholic, and Lutheran churches, respectively. Heinz Schilling, Religion, Political Culture and the Emergence of Early Modern Society: Essays in German and Dutch History, ed. Heiko A. Oberman, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Thought L (Leiden, New York and Köln: E.J. Brill, 1992); and Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Talcott Parsons (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958). For Descartes’ impact on the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, see Peter A. Schouls, Descartes and the Enlightenment (Kingston, Ontario: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1989), 66-71; and Leonard P. Wessell, G.E. Lessing’s Theology: A Reinterpretation, a Study in the Problematic Nature of the Englightenment [sic] (Mouton: The Hague, 1977), 47-62. For earlier, traditional views of the Enlightenment and its origins, see Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951); Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, vol. 2 (New York: Knopf, 1966-69); and Norman Hampson, The Enlightenment (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968). 39 Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 16501750; Maarten Prak, The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century, trans. Diane Webb (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); and Frijhoff and Spies, 1650: Hard-Won Unity. 40 The authors credit the Republic’s commitment to social debate to the open, public sphere in which the Dutch could freely discuss issues such as in meetings, on public barges, and in pamphlets, broadsheets, flyers, and prints that could be widely disseminated to large audiences. Frijhoff and Spies, 1650: Hard-Won Unity, 220-21. 41 On the scientific revolution in the Netherlands, see Harold J. Cook, “The Cutting Edge of a Revolution? Medicine and Natural History Near the Shores of the North Sea,” in Renaissance and Revolution: Humanists, Scholars, Craftsmen, and Natural Philosophers in Early Modern Europe, ed. J.V. Field and Frank A.J.L. James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 45-61; Cook, “The New Philosophy in the Low Countries,” in The Scientific Revolution in National Context, ed. Roy Porter and Mikulás Teich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); and Roger French, “Harvey in Holland: Circulation and the Calvinists,” in The Medical Revolution of the Seventeenth Century, ed. French and Andrew Wear (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
Alpers, Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market, 27; and John Rupert Martin, “Rembrandt and Rubens,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 130 (1986): 7. 43 The 1637 edition was one of Bacon’s numerous editions and translations that appeared in the 1630s in Leiden and Amsterdam. Although no extant evidence indicates that Rembrandt owned one of Bacon’s books, he certainly could have been aware of his theories through their wide dissemination and popularity. Franciscus baro de Verulamio, Historia vitae et morits (Lugduni Batavorum [Leiden]: Jan Maire, 1637). On Bacon, see also Frijhoff and Spies, 1650: HardWon Unity, 188; and Molland, “Science and Mathematics from the Renaissance to Descartes,” 109. 44 Quoted in Francis Bacon, Historia vitae et mortis. Francis Bacon, The Historie of Life and Death. With Observations Naturall and Experimentall for the Prolonging of LIFE, trans. Francis Lord Verulam and Viscount S. Alban (London: Printed by I. Okes, for Humphrey Mosley, 1638), 268. 45 For a compelling discussion of the methodological similarities between Bacon and Descartes, see Robert C. Miner, “The Baconian Matrix of Descartes’s Regulae,” in Descartes and Cartesianism, ed. Nathan Smith and Jason Taylor (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2005). 46 René Descartes, Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verité dans les sciences. Plus la dioptriqve. Les meteores. Et la geometrie. Qui sont des essais de cete Methode (Leyde [Leiden]: Jan Maire, 1637). Descartes wrote Meditationes between 1638 and 1640 and published the text in 1641 in Leiden. His treatise is fully entitled Meditationes de prima philosophia in qua Dei existentia, & animæ humanæ à corpore distinctio, demonstratur [Meditations on first philosophy, in which are demonstrated the existence of God and the distinction between the human soul and the body]. Gaukroger explains that one-fifth of Descartes’ entire correspondence, much of which has been carefully preserved and published, dates from the late 1630s around the time of Rembrandt’s print. Stephen Gaukroger, Descartes: An Intellectual Biography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 326, 334, 336, 337. On Cartesianism in the Netherlands, see also Bunge, From Stevin to Spinoza: An Essay on Philosophy in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic; E.J. Dijksterhuis, Descartes et le cartésianisme hollandais (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1951); Thomas A. McGahagan, “Cartesianism in the Netherlands, 1639-1676: The New Science and the Calvinist Counter-Reformation” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1976); Molland, “Science and Mathematics from the Renaissance to Descartes,” 125-26; J.A. van Ruler, The Crisis of Causality: Voetius and Descartes on God, Nature, and Change (Leiden and New York: E.J. Brill, 1995); C. Louise Thijssen-Schoute and Theo Verbeek, Nederlands cartesianisme (Utrecht: HES, 1989); and Theo Verbeek, Descartes and the Dutch: Early Reactions to Cartesian Philosophy, 1637-1650 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 7. 47 The significance of Descartes’ methodology and its impact on modern science and philosophy was first discussed by Kuno Fischer, Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, cited in Stephen Gaukroger, “Descartes: Methodology,” in The
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Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century Rationalism, ed. G.H.R. Parkinson, Routledge History of Philosophy (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), 167. See also John Cottingham, Descartes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 4. 48 Descartes fully discloses the scientific, as opposed to the philosophical, purpose of his treatise in its complete title: Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verité dans les sciences. Plus La dioptriqve. Les meteores. Et La geometrie. Qui sont des essais de cete methode [Discourse on the Method of rightly conducting reason and reaching the truth in the sciences], which he wrote from 1635 until 1636. 49 Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 16501750, 14. 50 Descartes’ Discours was published with three short essays, La dioptrique, Les meteores, and La geometrie, which according to Descartes demonstrated his theories outlined in the introductory essay of the treatise. Cottingham, Descartes, 5, note 7. 51 John Cottingham, “Descartes: Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind,” in The Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century Rationalism, ed. G.H.R. Parkinson, Routledge History of Philosophy (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), 21718; and Cottingham, Descartes, 5. 52 Williams, Rembrandt’s Women, 165. 53 In a letter to Mersenne dated March 1636, Descartes wrote about his original draft of the Discours: “The only problem is that my copy is not written any better than this letter, the handwriting and punctuation are just as poor, and the illustrations are drawn only by myself—in other words, very poorly. The result is that, if you did not interpret them for the engravers, they would not be able to understand them.” Descartes to Mersenne, March 1636 (AT I, 338-40) in René Descartes and Desmond M. Clarke, Discourse on Method and Related Writings (London and New York: Penguin Books, 1999), 57. On Descartes’ use of technical engravings in his treatises to illustrate his mechanistic, deductive understanding of the human body, see Brian S. Bairgrie, “Descartes’s Scientific Illustrations and ‘la grande mécanique de la nature,’” in Picturing Knowledge: Historical and Philosophical Problems Concerning the Use of Art in Science, ed. Brian S. Baigrie (Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press, 1996). 54 The author notes that his comparison between the images by Rembrandt and van Schooten first appeared in his unpublished lectures. Martin Royalton-Kisch in Erik Hinterding, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker (Chicago and London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000), 207-08. 55 Scholars have observed that some impressions of Rembrandt’s etching, The Three Trees, 1643, contain compositional elements from The Death of the Virgin. Hinterding posits that Rembrandt began the Dormition on the smaller copperplate that he later reused for The Three Trees. Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher: the Practice of Production and Distribution, 102. See also Colin Campbell, “Rembrandts etsen Het Sterfbed van Maria en De drie bomen,” Kroniek van het Rembrandthuis 32, no. 2 (1980). 56 Julie V. Hansen, “Galleries of Life and Death: The Anatomy Lesson in Dutch Art, 1603-1773” (Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1996), 75.
Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica (Basel: Johannes Oporinus, 1543). Medical lectures were held at Leiden’s hortus botanicus (botanical garden) beginning in 1594, and were led by a physician and director of the garden, Bernadus Paludanus. Studies have shown that the rise of interest in medicine, anatomy, and dissections paralleled the growing interest in collecting natural specimens such as shells, plants, minerals, and insects. Bunge, From Stevin to Spinoza: An Essay on Philosophy in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic, 63. See also Hansen, “Galleries of Life and Death: The Anatomy Lesson in Dutch Art, 1603-1773,” 55-56. For Rembrandt and the early modern fascination with the human anatomy, see Martin Kemp, The Science of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990); and Martin Kemp and Marina Wallace, Spectacular Bodies: The Art and Science of the Human Body from Leonardo to Now (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2000). 58 Descartes discussed his attendance at anatomy lessons in the Netherlands at great length in his correspondence with friends and fellow intellectuals. Theo Verbeek, Erik-Jan Bos, and Jeroen van den Ven, eds., The Correspondence of René Descartes, 1643 (Utrecht: Utrecht University, 2003), 287. Jonathan Sawday suggested the possibility that Rembrandt might even have met Descartes at one of Tulp’s dissections. Jonathan Sawday, The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), 153. On the Athenaeum Illustre, Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp, and the painting’s relationship to scientific and medical advancements in Amsterdam, see Hansen, “Galleries of Life and Death: The Anatomy Lesson in Dutch Art, 16031773,” 28-29, 70. On Descartes’ dissections of animals, see his letter to Mersenne dated 30 July 1640 in Charles Adam and Paul Tannery, eds., Oeuvres de Descartes, 2nd ed., vol. 3 (Paris: Vrin, 1794-86), 139, 141. 59 Baigrie, “Descartes’s Scientific Illustrations and ‘la grande mécanique de la nature,’” 88. 60 Anatomy lessons in Amsterdam held between 1619 and 1639 were performed in remodeled rooms in St. Margaret’s Church. The new location for the guild included eight rows of galleries used for anatomy demonstrations. Hansen, “Galleries of Life and Death: The Anatomy Lesson in Dutch Art, 1603-1773,” 31, 50. 61 We do not know if Rembrandt owned a copy of Descartes’ Discours, but we do know that he owned 22 books at the time his possessions were inventoried in 1656. We also know that Jan Six owned a copy of Descartes’ treatise. Rembrandt could have been acquainted with Six’s copy of the book during one of his visits to Six’s renowned library that he made as late as 1647 when Rembrandt sketched Six in this room. Amy Golahny, Rembrandt’s Reading: The Artist’s Bookshelf of Ancient Poetry and History (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2003), 31. 62 Descartes’ earliest correspondence regarding theories that would eventually become part of the Discours date from 1630 with his friend Marin Mersenne, a priest in France that corresponded with others in the Netherlands. Huygens wrote letters to Descartes in Dutch, French, and Latin. Seymour Slive, “Art Historians and Art Critics-II, Huygens on Rembrandt,” The Burlington Magazine (1952): 262. Descartes also shared an early proof of the Discours with Huygens for comments
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in 1636 before Descartes sent them to Mersenne on January 6, 1637. Gaukroger, Descartes: An Intellectual Biography, 322. 63 Rembrandt’s Passion cycle for the stadholder included the paintings: Entombment, Resurrection, Ascension, Elevation, and Descent. Gerson posits that Huygens may have recommended Rembrandt to the stadholder for the Passion commission because Huygens oversaw the decoration of the stadholder’s Orange Hall from 1648 until 1650. Horst Gerson, Seven Letters, trans. Yda D. Ovink (The Hague: L.J.C. Boucher, 1961), 8. 64 On Descartes’ response to objections he received about the Discours, see Robert Ariew and Marjorie Glicksman Grene, eds., Descartes and His Contemporaries: Meditations, Objections, and Replies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 11. On Descartes’ conflicts with conservatives at the University of Utrecht, see especially Frijhoff and Spies, 1650: Hard-Won Unity; McGahagan, “Cartesianism in the Netherlands, 1639-1676: The New Science and the Calvinist Counter-Reformation”; Ruler, The Crisis of Causality: Voetius and Descartes on God, Nature, and Change; and Theo Verbeek, “Regius’s Fundamenta Physices,” Journal of the History of Ideas 55, no. 4 (1994): 533. 65 Gaukroger notes that Cartesianism became a central element in Dutch universities by the 1660s. Gaukroger, Descartes: An Intellectual Biography, 352. 66 Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 16501750, 25. See also Frijhoff and Spies, 1650: Hard-Won Unity, 292. 67 Jonathan I. Israel, The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477-1806 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 585. 68 Bunge, From Stevin to Spinoza: An Essay on Philosophy in the SeventeenthCentury Dutch Republic, 54. 69 Frijhoff and Spies, 1650: Hard-Won Unity, 283. 70 Israel, The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477-1806, 583-85. On Descartes’ role as one of the “inaugurators” of modernity, see also Cottingham, “Descartes: Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind,” 201; and Verbeek, Descartes and the Dutch: Early Reactions to Cartesian Philosophy, 1637-1650.
Chapter Eight Secular Relic: The Spectacle of the Body in Decay on the Early Modern English Stage 1
Francis Barker argued that the “glorious cruelties” of the Jacobean theatre “articulate a mode of corporeality” in which the body is not “that effaced residue which it is to become beneath or behind the proper realm of discourse.” Barker, The Culture of Violence: Tragedy and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 20. Karin Codden has similarly argued this point, asserting that the necrophiliac desires that run throughout The Revenger’s Tragedy serve to “parody and interrogate contemporary, increasingly scientific notions of the body.” Coddon, “‘For Show or Useless Property’: Necrophilia and The Revenger’s Tragedy,” ELH 61 (1994). Most recently, Margaret Owens attends to the “cultural
semiotics” of theatrical representations of violent spectacle on the seventeenthcentury popular stage. Drawing upon psychoanalytic models of traumatic repression, Owens argues that the fascination with violent spectacle in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama “bespeaks a desire to reclaim the body, to restore it to some of the centrality it held in earlier religious drama.” Owens, Stages of Dismemberment: The Fragmented Body in Late Medieval and Early Modern Drama (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005), 20. 2 Owens, Stages of Dismemberment, 12. 3 Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 253. 4 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle (Detroit: Black and Red, 1983), Sections 414. 5 Owens turns to Freud in order to explain this pattern, finding that the “irruption of the repressed ritual body in revenge tragedy exemplifies the Freudian dynamic and an ‘uncanny return’ in that it involves the unexpected recurrence of something ‘familiar and old established in the mind . . . which has become alienated from it only through the process of repression’” (30). 6 Jonathan Dollimore, Radical Tragedy: Religion, Ideology and Power in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, 3rd ed. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004). 7 Debord, sections 23-24 8 For Huston Diehl, these protagonists’ attachment to the bodies and relics of their dead loves would not only be, from the perspective of reform theology, a perverse form of love but also an idolatrous one, “focusing as it does on external and corporeal things and substituting the adoration of the physical body for faith in an invisible God.” See Huston Diehl, Staging Reform, Reforming the Stage: Protestantism and Popular Theater in Early Modern England (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 121. 9 Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, Revels Student Edition, ed. David Bevington (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996). All further citations from the play are taken from this edition. 10 See The Duchess of Malfi, Act 5, scene 3. For a discussion on the scene as an example of a return of repressed beliefs in the power of the physical world and the authority of the past, see Scott Dudley, “Conferring with the Dead: Necrophilia and Nostalgia in the Seventeenth Century,” ELH 66, no. 2 (1999). 11 Katherine Rowe, Dead Hands: Fictions of Agency, Renaissance to Modern (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), 86. 12 Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory, 248. 13 Ibid., 249. 14 Robert N. Watson traces this anxiety in the plays of Shakespeare and the poetry of Donne and Herbert. Watson, The Rest as Silence: Death as Annihilation in the English Renaissance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999). 15 For Karen Coddon, this scene also provides a rich site for analyzing the intersection of death and the erotic in tragedy. Coddon, “‘For Show or Useless Property’: Necrophilia and the Revenger’s Tragedy.”
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According to Owens, “In the revenge drama, the body eludes all efforts to direct and contain its proliferating semiosis. Tyrants appropriate and manipulate corpses, only to unleash energies that escape their control. In this dramatic tradition, struggles to gain possession of a body are invariable struggles over its signification.” Owens, Stages of Dismemberment, 103-4. 17 See Samuel Schoenbaum, “The Revenger’s Tragedy: Jacobean Dance of Death,” Modern Language Quarterly 15, no. 3 (1954). 18 Vindice refers to his deceased mistress as “Gloriana,” invoking the popular name given to Queen Elizabeth I. 19 Scott Dudley, "Conferring with the Dead: Necrophilia and Nostalgia in the Seventeenth Century." ELH 66, no. 2 (1999): 291. 20 Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988), 7. 21 Debord, Society of the Spectacle, sections 23-24.
Chapter Nine Modernity and Byzantine Icons 1
Erwin Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form (New York: Zone Books, 1991), 67. 2 Daniel J. Sahas, Icon and Logos: Sources in Eighth-Century Iconoclasm (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 77. 3 Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: The Seven Eccumenical Councils, vol. 14 (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995), 550. 4 Plato, The Republic, trans. Tom Griffith, ed. G. R. F. Ferrari (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 315. 5 Sahas, Icon and Logos, 99. 6 Ibid. 7 Cyril Mango, The Art of the Byzantine Empire 312-1453: Sources and Documents (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972), 173. 8 Sahas, Icon and Logos, 60-1. 9 Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, trans. Sheila Faria Glaser (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1994), 5. 10 Sahas, Icon and Logos, 81. 11 Schaff and Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 550. 12 Jacques Derrida, “By Force of Mourning,” Critical Inquiry 22 (winter 1996): 171-92. 13 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1980). 14 Ibid., 80. 15 Susan Sontag, On Photography (New York: Picador, 1977), 161. 16 Ibid. 17 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 81.
Cited in Walter Benjamin, “A Short History of Photography,” in Classical Essays on Photography, ed. Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven: Leete’s Island Books, 1980), 199-217. 19 Ibid., 233. 20 Siegfried Kracauer, The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays, ed. and trans. Thomas Levin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), 54. 21 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 27. 22 Ibid., 51. 23 Jean Baudrillard, “Object,” in Art and Artefact, ed. Nicholas Zurbrugg (London: Sage Publications, 1997), 11-12.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Introduction Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Translated by Donald NicholsonSmith. New York: Zone Books, 1995.
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Scienze, Lettere e Arti di Palermo 15, II (1954-55), 5-306. Palermo: Accademia di Scienze, Lettere e Arti di Palermo, 1955. Crouzet, Denis. La nuit de la Saint-Barthélemy: Un rêve perdu de la Renaissance. Paris: Fayard, 1994. ———. Les guerriers de Dieu: La violence au temps des troubles de religion, 1525-1610. Seyssel: Éditions Champ-Vallons, 1990. Douzinas, Costas, and Linda Nead, eds. Law and the Image: The Authority of Art and the Aesthetics of Law. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Fehl, Philipp P. “Vasari’s ‘Extirpation of the Huguenots’: The Challenge of Pity and Fear.” Gazette des beaux-arts 6, Sér. 84 (1974): 257-284. Foucault, Michel. “Society Must be Defended.” In Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-76, edited by Mauro Bertani, Francois Ewald, and Alessandro Fontant. New York: Picador, 2003. Garrisson, Janine. Tocsain pour un massacre: La saison de SaintBarthélemy. Paris: Le Centurion/Sciences humaines, 1968. Goodrich, Peter. Languages of Law: From Logics of Memory to Nomadic Masks. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990. ———. Oedipus Lex: Psychoanalysis, History, Law. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995. Groebner, Valentin. Ungestalten. Die visuelle Kultur der Gewalt im Mittelalter. Muenchen: Carl Hanser Verlag, 2003. Hanley, Sarah. Le lit de justice des rois de France. Aubier: Flammarion, 1983. Herz, Alexandra. “Vasari’s ‘Massacre’ Series in the Sala Regia: The Political, Juristic, and Religious Background.” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 49 (1986): 41-54. Hofmann, Werner. Luther und die Folgen für die Kunst. Muenchen: Prestel, 1983. Holt, Mack P. “The King in Parliament: The Problem of the Lit de Justice in Sixteenth-Century France.” The Historical Journal 21 (1988): 507523. Howe, Eunice. “Architecture in Vasari’s ‘Massacre of the Huguenots.’” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 39 (1976): 258-261. Hurtubise, Pierre. “Comment Rome apprit la nouvelle du massacre de la Saint Barthélémy.” Archivum Historiae Pontificiae X (1972): 188209. Janzing, Godehard. “Fenstersturz als Fanal. Zur Bildlogik von Gewaltexzessen.” In Bürgerkrieg. Erfahrung und Repräsentation, edited by Isabella von Treskow, Albrecht Buschmann, and Anja Bandau, 73-102. Berlin: Trafo Verlag, 2005.
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Jong, Jan de. “The Painted Decoration of the Sala Regia in the Vatican: Intention and Reception.” In Functions and Decorations: Art and Ritual at the Vatican Palace in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, edited by Sible de Blaauw, Bram Kempers, and Tristan Weddigen, 153-168. Turnhout: Brepols, 2003. Juanna, Arlette. “Lit de justice.” In Histoire et dictionnaire des guerres de religion, edited by Arlette Juanna, Jacqueline Boucher, and Dominique Biloghi, 1044-45. Paris: Robert Laffont, 1993. Kingdom, Robert M. “Reactions to the St. Bartholomew Massacres in Geneva and Rome.” In The Massacres of St. Bartholomew Reappraisals and Documents, edited by Alfred Soman, 25-49. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974. ———. Myths about the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacres, 1572-1576. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1988. L’Amiral de Coligny et son temps: Actes du Colloque de Paris, octobre 1972. Paris: SHPF, 1974. Legendre, Pierre. Désir politique de Dieu: Études sur les montages de l’etat et du droit. Paris: Fayard, 1989. Lindsay, Robert, and John Neu. French Political Pamphlets, 1547-1648. Madison: Newbarry Library, 1969. Manetsch, Scott M. Theodore Beza and the Quest for Peace in France, 1572-1598. Bedfordshire: Brill, 2000. Marin, Louis. Des pouvoirs de l’image. Paris: Seuil, 1993. Marty-Laveaux, Charles Joseph, ed. Oeuvre poetiques de Jean Dorat. Paris: A. Lemerre, 1875. Nettel, Ana Laura. “The Power of Image and the Image of Power: The Case of Law.” Word & image 21 (2005): 136-149. Partridge, Loren, and Randolph Starn. “Triumphalism and the Sala Regia in the Vatican.” In “All the world’s a stage . . .”: Art and Pageantry in the Renaissance and Baroque, edited by Barbara Wisch and Susan Scott Munshower, 22-81. University Park, PA.: Pennsylvania State University, 1990. Pastor, Ludwig Freiherr von. Geschichte der Päpste im Zeitalter der katholischen Reformation und Restauration: Gregor III (15721585). Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1923. Prodi, Paolo. Il sovrano pontefice. Un corpo e due anime: La monarchia papale nella prima età moderna. Bologna: Mulino, 1982. ———. Una storia della giustizia: Dal pluralismo dei fori al moderno dualismo tra coscienza e diritto. Bologna: Mulino, 2000. Quint, David. Epic and Empire: Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.
Reinhard, Wolfgang. Geschichte der Staatsgewalt. Eine vergleichende Verfassungsgeschichte Europas von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Munich: Beck, 1999. ———. Power Elites and State Building. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Röttgen, Herwarth. “Zeitgeschichtliche Bildprogramme der Katholischen Restauration unter Gregor XIII, 1572-1585.” Muenchner Jahrbuch der Bildenden Kunst XXVI (1975): 89-122. Soulié, Marguérite. “La Saint-Barthélemy et la reflexion sur le pouvoir.” In Culture et politique en France à l’époque de l’Humanisme et de la Renaissance, edited by Franco Simone, 413-425. Turin: Accademia delle scienze, 1974. Sutherland, Nicola Mary. The Massacre of St Bartholomew and the European Conflict, 1559-1572. London: Macmillan, 1973. Tilley, Arthur. “Some Pamphlets of the French Wars of Religion.” English Historical Review 14 (1899): 451-70. Zitzlsperger, Philipp. “Kostümkunde als Methode der Kunstgeschichte.” Kritische Berichte 1 (2006): 36-51.
Chapter Two Anxious Masculinity, Affectation, and the Creation of Personal Image: Echoes of Quintilian in Castiglione’s Il libro del Cortegiano Breitenberg, Mark. Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Castiglione, Baldassarre. Il libro del Cortegiano. Edited by Ettore Bonora. Milano: Mursia, 1972. ———. The Book of the Courtier. Translated by Charles Singleton.Edited by Daniel Javitch. New York: Norton, 2002. Cicero, Marcus Tullius. De oratore. Edited and translated by E.W. Sutton and H. Rackham, Loeb Classical Library. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1942. ———. De oratore. Edited by Augustus S. Wilkins. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892. ———. On the Ideal Orator. Edited and translated by James. M. May and Jakob Wisse. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Gunderson, Erik. “Discovering the Body in Roman Oratory.” In Parchments of Gender: Deciphering the Bodies of Antiquity, edited by Maria Wyke, 169-189. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998.
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Javitch, Daniel. “Il Cortegiano and the Constraints of Despotism.” In Castiglione: The Ideal and the Real in Renaissance Culture, edited by Robert W. Hanning and David Rosand, 17-28. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. Kennedy, George A. A New History of Classical Rhetoric. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Leeman, Anton D., and Harm Pinkster. M. Tullius Cicero, De oratore libri III: Kommentar. 4 vols. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1981. May, James M., and Jakob Wisse. Introduction to On the Ideal Orator, by Marcus Tullius Cicero, edited and translated by James M. May and Jakob Wisse. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Quint, David. “Courtier, Prince, Lady: The Design of the Book of the Courtier.” In Castiglione Baldassarre, The Book of the Courtier, translated by Charles Singleton, edited by Daniel Javitch, 352-65. New York: Norton, 2002. First published in Italian Quarterly 37, no. 143-146 (Winter-Fall 2000): 185-195. Quintilian, Marcus Fabius. The Orator’s Education. Edited and translated by Donald A. Russell, Loeb Classical Library. 5 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. Rebhorn, Wayne A. “Baldesar Castiglione, Thomas Wilson, and the Courtly Body of Renaissance Rhetoric.” Rhetorica 11 (1993): 241274. ———. Courtly Performances: Masking and Festivity in Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1978. Woodhouse, J.R. Baldesar Castiglione: A Reassessment of The Courtier. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1978.
Chapter Three Mother’s Milk and Deborah’s Sword: The Anatomy of Joan of Arc in Henry VI Adelman, Janet. “Making Defect Perfection: Shakespeare and the One-Sex Model.” In Enacting Gender on the English Renaissance Stage, edited by Viviana Comensoli and Anne Russell, 23-52. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1999. Bernau, Anke. “‘Saint, Witch, Man, Maid or Whore?’: Joan of Arc and Writing History.” In Medieval Virginities, edited by Anke Bernau, Ruth Evans, and Sarah Salih, 214-233. Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press, 2003.
Bevington, David M. “The Domineering Female in 1 Henry VI.” Shakespeare Studies 2 (1966): 51-58. Blaetz, Robin. Visions of the Maid: Joan of Arc in American Film and Culture. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 2001. Crane, Susan. “Clothing and Gender Definition: Joan of Arc.” In Inscribing the Hundred Years’ War in French and English Cultures, edited by Denise N. Baker, 195-220. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000. Fraioli, Deborah. “The Literary Image of Joan of Arc: Prior Influences.” Speculum 56 (1981): 811-30. ———. “Why Joan of Arc Never Became an Amazon.” In Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc, edited by Bonnie Wheeler, 189-204. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996. Goy-Blanquel, Dominique, ed. Joan of Arc: A Saint for All Seasons. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2003. Gutierrez, Nancy. “Gender and Value in 1 Henry VI: The Role of Joan de la Pucelle.” Theatre Journal 42 (May 1990): 183-193. Hardin, Richard F. “Chronicles and Mythmaking in Shakespeare’s Joan of Arc.” Shakespeare Survey 42 (1990): 25-35. Hoenselaars, Ton. “La Jeanne d’Arc de Shakespeare et l’art du recyclage.” In Jeanne d’Arc Entre les Nations, edited by Ton Hoenselaars and Jelle Koopmans. Atlanta: Rodopi B.V., 1998. Jackson, Gabriele Bernhard. “Topical Ideology: Witches, Amazons, and Shakespeare’s Joan of Arc.” In Women in the Renaissance: Selections from English Literary Renaissance, edited by Kirby Farrell, Elizabeth H. Hageman, and Arthur F. Kinney, 88-117. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988. Jones, Ann Rosalind, and Peter Stallybrass. “Fetishizing Gender: Constructing the Hermaphrodite in Renaissance Europe.” In Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity, edited by Julia Epstein and Kristina Straub, 80-111. New York: Routledge, 1991. Kelly, Henry Ansgar. “Joan of Arc’s Last Trial: The Attack of the Devil’s Advocates.” In Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc, edited by Bonnie Wheeler, 205-236. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996. Kim, Hwa-seon. “Witches, Transvestites, and Dangerous Female Bodies: A Feminist Reading of Joan of Arc in 1 Henry VI.” The Korean Society of Feminist Studies in English Literature 6 (Winter 1998): 3759. Laqueur, Thomas. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990.
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Levin, Carole. “‘Murder not then the fruit within my womb’: Shakespeare’s Joan, Foxe’s Guernsey Martyr, and Women Pleading Pregnancy in Early Modern English History and Culture.” Quidditas, the Journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association 20 (1999): 75-94. Norwich, John Julian. Shakespeare’s Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages, 1337-1485. New York: Touchstone, 2001. Paster, Gail Kern. The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993. A Parisian Journal, 1405-1449. Translated by Janet Shirley. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1968. Paxson, James J. “Shakespeare’s Medieval Devils and Joan de la Pucelle in 1 Henry VI: Semiotics, Iconography, and Feminist Criticism.” In Henry VI Critical Essays, edited by Thomas A. Pendleton, 127-156. New York: Routledge, 2001. Purkiss, Diane. The Witch in History: Early Modern and TwentiethCentury Representations. New York: Routledge, 1997. Rackin, Phyllis. “Foreign Country: The Place of Women and Sexuality in Shakespeare’s Historical World.” In Enclosure Acts: Sexuality, Property, and Culture in Early Modern England, edited by Richard Burt and John Michael Archer, 68-95. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994. Schibanoff, Susan. “True Lies: Transvestism and Idolatry in the Trial of Joan of Arc.” In Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc, edited by Bonnie Wheeler, 31-60. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996. Schlueter, June. “‘Stuffed, as they say, with honorable parts’: Female Breasts on the English Renaissance Stage.” Shakespeare Yearbook 2 (1992): 117-142. Schwarz, Kathryn. “Missing the Breast: Desire, Disease, and the Singular Effect of Amazons.” In The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern Europe, edited by David Hillman and Carla Mazzio, 147-169. New York: Routledge, 1997. ———. Tough Love: Amazon Encounters in the English Renaissance. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000. Shakespeare, William. King Henry VI, Part 1. Edited by Edward Burns. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2000. Shepherd, Simon. Amazons and Warrior Women: Varieties of Feminism in Seventeenth-Century Drama. Brighton: Harvester Press, 1981.
Stapleton, M.L. “‘Shine it like a comet of revenge’: Seneca, John Studley, and Shakespeare’s Joan la Pucelle.” Comparative Literature Studies 31 (1994): 229-250. Warner, Marina. Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1981. ———. “Joan of Arc: A gender myth.” In Joan of Arc: Reality and Myth, edited by J. Van Herwaarden, 97-118. Rotterdam: Erasmus University Rotterdam, 1994. Weiskopf, Steven. “Readers of the Lost Arc: Secrecy, Specularity, and Speculation in the Trial of Joan of Arc.” In Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc, edited by Bonnie Wheeler, 113-132. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996. Willis, Deborah. “Shakespeare and the English Witch-Hunts: Enclosing the Maternal Body.” In Enclosure Acts: Sexuality, Property, and Culture in Early Modern England, edited by Richard Burt and John Michael Archer, 96-120. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994.
Chapter Four Echo and Narcissus: Labyrinths of the Self in Early Modern Music Bartel, Dietrich. Musica Poetica: Musical-Rhetorical Figures in German Baroque Music. Lincoln, NE and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. Carter, Tim. Music in Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Italy. Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1992. Eco, Umberto. The Open Work. Translated by Anna Cancogni. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989. Egginton, William. How the World Became a Stage: Presence, Theatricality, and the Question of Modernity. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003. Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of Human Sciences. Translated by Rupert Swyer. New York: Random House, Inc, 1994. Hocke, Gustav René. Die Welt als Labyrinth: Manier und Manie in der Europäischen Kunst. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1957. Jay, Martin. Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in TwentiethCentury French Thought. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
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Kristeva, Julia. “Narcissus: The New Insanity.” In Tales of Love, translated by Leon S. Roudiez, 103-21. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. Ovid. The Metamorphoses. Translated by Michael Simpson. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001. Rosand, Ellen. Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice: The Creation of a Genre. Berkeley. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991. Sternfeld, Frederick W. “Orpheus, Ovid and Opera.” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 113, no. 2 (1988): 172-202. Vinge, Louise. The Narcissus Theme in Western European Literature up to the Early 19th Century. Lund: Skånska Centaltryckeriet, 1967. Weiss, Piero, and Taruskin, Richard. Music in the Western World: A History in Documents. New York: Schirmer Books, 1984.
Chapter Five Aristocratic Spectacle: Visual and Literary Portraiture in the SeventeenthCentury French Salon Adorno, Theodor. Problems of Moral Philosophy. Translated by Rodney Livingstone. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. Bénichou, Paul. Morales du grand siècle. Paris: Gallimard, 1948. Benveniste, Émile. “Subjectivity in Language.” In Critical Theory Since 1965, edited by Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle, 728-32. Tallahassee: University Presses of Florida, 1986. Bishop, Morris. The Life and Adventures of La Rochefoucauld. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1951. Brooks, Peter. Novels of Worldliness: Crébillon, Marivaux, Laclos, Stendhal. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. Clark, Henry C. La Rochefoucauld and the Language of Unmasking in Seventeenth-Century France. Genève: Droz, 1994. Descartes, René. Discours de la méthode. Edited by Geneviève RodisLewis. Paris: Flammarion, 1992. Faret, Nicolas. L’Honnête homme, ou l’art de plaire à la cour. Paris: PUF, 1925. Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. Translated by Rupert Swyer. New York: Vintage, 1970. Harth, Erica. “The Ideological Value of the Portrait in SeventeenthCentury France.” L’Esprit Créateur 21, no. 3 (Fall 1991): 15-26. ———. Ideology and Culture in Seventeenth-Century France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983.
Hodgson, Richard G. Falsehood Disguised: Unmasking the Truth in La Rochefoucauld. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1995. Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by Norman Kemp Smith. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1965. Lafond, Jean, ed. Les formes brèves de la prose et le discourse discontinu (XVIe-XVIIe siècles). Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1984. Moore, W.G. La Rochefoucauld: His Mind and Art. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969. Pascal, Blaise. Pensées. Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1962. Price, Martin. Forms of Life: Character and Moral Imagination in the Novel. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. Rochefoucauld, François de la. Maximes. Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1977. Thweatt, Vivien. La Rochefoucauld and the Seventeenth-Century Concept of the Self. Genève: Droz, 1980.
Chapter Six The Future of the Past Looks Bleak: Spenser’s Recycled Image and Baudrillard’s Simulacrum Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Translated by Sheila F. Glaser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001. Curran, John E. Jr. “Spenser and the Historical Revolution: Briton Moniments and the Problem of Roman Britain.” Clio 25 (1996): 27392. Harper, Carrie Anne. The Sources of the British Chronicle History in Spenser’s Faerie Queene. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1910. Plutarch. Moralia. Translated by Frank C. Babbit. Loeb Classic Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927. Sidney, Philip. The Apology for Poetry. In The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, edited by Vincent B. Leitch, William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John McGowan, and Jeffrey J. Williams, 326-62. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2001. Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene. Edited by A.C. Hamilton. London: Longman Press 2001. ———. The Shepherd’s Calendar. In Yale Edition of the Shorter Poems of Edmund Spenser, edited by William A. Oram, Einar Bjorvand, and Ronald Bond. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989. Staub, Susan. “According to My Source: Fictionality in The Adventures of Master F.J.” Studies in Philology 87, no. 1 (Winter 1990): 111-9.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Stump, Donald V. “The Two Deaths of Mary Stuart: Historical Allegory in Spenser’s Book of Justice.” Spenser Studies: A Renaissance Poetry Journal 9 (1988): 81-105. Waswo, Richard. “The History that Literature Makes.” In Theories of Myth: Literary Criticism and Myth, edited by Robert A. Segal, 30730. New York: Garland, 1996.
Chapter Seven Taking Mary’s Pulse: Cartesianism and Modernity in Rembrandt’s The Death of the Virgin Adam, Charles, and Paul Tannery, eds. Oeuvres de Descartes. 2nd ed. 11 vols. Vol. 3. Paris: Vrin, 1794-86. Alpers, Svetlana. Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. Ariès, Philippe. The Hour of Our Death. Translated by Helen Weaver. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Ariew, Robert, and Marjorie Glicksman Grene, eds. Descartes and His Contemporaries: Meditations, Objections, and Replies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Askew, Pamela. Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. Bacon, Francis. The Historie of Life and Death. With Observations Naturall and Experimentall for the Prolonging of LIFE. Translated by Francis Lord Verulam and Viscount S. Alban. London: Printed by I. Okes, for Humphrey Mosley, 1638. Baigrie, Brian S. “Descartes’s Scientific Illustrations and ‘la grande mécanique de la nature.’” In Picturing Knowledge: Historical and Philosophical Problems Concerning the Use of Art in Science, edited by Brian S. Baigrie, 86-134. Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press, 1996. Bellarmine, Robert. Robert Bellarmine: Spiritual Writings. Translated by John Patrick Donnelly S.J., and Roland J. Teske, S.J., eds. New York and Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1989. Bellarmini, Roberti S.R.E. Card. De arte bene moriendi. Libri dvo. Coloniae Agrippinae [Amsterdam]: Cornelium ab Egmond [Willem Jansz. Blaeu], 1626. Bernier, Ronald R. “The Economy of Salvation: Narrative and Liminality in Rembrandt’s Death of the Virgin.” Religion and the Arts 9, no. 3/4 (2005): 173-207.
Bevers, Holm, Peter Schatborn, and Barbara Welzel. “Rembrandt as an Etcher.” In Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop, Drawings and Etchings. New Haven and London: Yale University Press in association with National Gallery Publications, 1991. Brom, Gerard. “De traditie in Rembrandt’s Dood van Maria.” Oud Holland 43 (1926): 112-116. Bruyn, Josua. Rembrandt’s keuze van bijbelse onderwerpen. Utrecht: Kunsthistorisch Instituut der Rijksuniversiteit, 1959. Bunge, Wiep van. From Stevin to Spinoza: An Essay on Philosophy in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 103. Leiden, Boston, and Köln: Brill, 2001. Campbell, Colin. “Rembrandts etsen Het Sterfbed van Maria en De drie bomen.” Kroniek van het Rembrandthuis 32, no. 2 (1980): 2-33. Cottingham, John. Descartes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. ———. “Descartes: Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind.” In The Renaissance and Seventeenth-century Rationalism, edited by G.H.R. Parkinson, 201-234. London and New York: Routledge, 1993. Cunneen, Sally. In Search of Mary: The Woman and the Symbol. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996. Descartes, René. Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verité dans les sciences. Plus la dioptriqve. Les meteores. Et la geometrie. Qui sont des essais de cete Methode. Leyde [Leiden]: Jan Maire, 1637. Descartes, René, and Desmond M. Clarke. Discourse on Method and Related Writings. London and New York: Penguin Books, 1999. Frijhoff, Willem, and Marijke Spies. 1650: Hard-Won Unity. Translated by Myra Heerspink Scholz. Dutch Culture in a European Perspective 1. Assen and Basingstoke: Royal Van Gorcum and Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Gaukroger, Stephen. Descartes: An Intellectual Biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995. ———. “Descartes: Methodology.” In The Renaissance and SeventeenthCentury Rationalism, edited by G.H.R. Parkinson, 167-200. London and New York: Routledge, 1993. Gerson, Horst. Seven Letters. Translated by Yda D. Ovink. The Hague: L.J.C. Boucher, 1961. Gilboa, Anat. Images of the Feminine in Rembrandt’s Work. Delft: Eburon, 2003. Golahny, Amy. Rembrandt’s Reading: The Artist’s Bookshelf of Ancient Poetry and History. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2003.
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Haak, Bob. Rembrandt: His Life, Work and Times. London: Thames and Hudson, 1969. Hansen, Julie V. “Galleries of Life and Death: The Anatomy Lesson in Dutch Art, 1603-1773.” Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1996. Hinterding, Erik. Rembrandt as an Etcher: the Practice of Production and Distribution. Translated by Michael Hoyle. Edited by Craig Hartley, Peter Fuhring, Ger Luijten, and Jan Van der Stock. Studies in Prints and Printmaking 6. Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel, the Netherlands: Sound & Vision Publishers, 2006. ———. “The History of Rembrandt’s Copperplates with a Catalogue of Those That Survive.” Simiolus 22, no. 4 (1993-94): 253-315. Hinterding, Erik, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch, eds. Rembrandt the Printmaker. Chicago and London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000. Israel, Jonathan I. Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. ———. The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477-1806. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. Karant-Nunn, Susan C. The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. Koslofsky, Craig M. The Reformation of the Dead: Death and Ritual in Early Modern Germany, 1450-1700. London and New York: MacMillan Press and St. Martin’s Press, 2000. Lavin, Irving. “Bernini’s Death.” The Art Bulletin 54, no. 2 (1972): 158186. Mâle, Émile. Religious Art from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Century. New York: Pantheon Books, Inc., 1949. Martin, John Rupert. “Rembrandt and Rubens.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 130 (1986): 7-20. McCarthy, John Joseph. “The Death of Mary: An Historical and Theological Study.” M.A. thesis, St. Joseph’s Seminary, 1958. Michalski, Sergiusz. The Reformation and the Visual Arts: The Protestant Image Question in Western and Eastern Europe. London and New York: Routledge, 1993. Molland, George. “Science and Mathematics from the Renaissance to Descartes.” In The Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century Rationalism, edited by G.H.R. Parkinson, 104-139. London and New York: Routledge, 1993. O’Meara, Thomas F. Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1966.
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, Nuper reformatum, & Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editum: Ad instar Breviarii Romani sub Urbano VIII. recogniti. Antverpiae [Antwerp]: Ex Officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti, 1652. Orenstein, Nadine M. “Rembrandt’s Death of the Virgin.” In Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship, edited by Walter Liedtke, Carolyn Logan, Nadine M. Orenstein, and Stephanie S. Dickey. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995. Pelikan, Jaroslav. Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996. Posèq, Avigdor W. G. “Pathosformels, decorum and the ‘Art of Gestures’ in Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin.” Konsthistorisk Tidsskrift 61 (1992): 27-44. Prak, Maarten. The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century. Translated by Diane Webb. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Ruler, J.A. van. The Crisis of Causality: Voetius and Descartes on God, Nature, and Change. Leiden and New York: E.J. Brill, 1995. Sawday, Jonathan. The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture. London and New York: Routledge, 1995. Schapelman, Marijn. “The Death of the Virgin, 1639.” In Rembrandt the Printmaker, edited by Erik Hinterding, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch, 162-64, catalog number 32. Chicago and London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000. Slive, Seymour. “Art Historians and Art Critics-II, Huygens on Rembrandt.” The Burlington Magazine 94, no. 594 (September 1952): 260-64. Tavard, George H. “The Genesis of Mariology.” In A Feminist Companion to Mariology, edited by Amy-Jill Levine with Maria Mayo Robbins, 107-120. London and New York: T&T Clark International, 2005. Urbach, Zsuzsa. “Notes on Bruegel’s Archaism: His Relation to Early Netherlandish Painting and Other Sources.” Acta Historiae Artium 24 (1978): 237-56. van Rijn, Rembrandt Harmenszoon. The Rembrandt Documents. Compiled by Walter L. Strauss and Marjon van der Meulen. New York: Abaris Books, 1979. Verbeek, Theo. Descartes and the Dutch: Early Reactions to Cartesian Philosophy, 1637-1650. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992.
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———. “Regius’s Fundamenta Physices.” Journal of the History of Ideas 55, no. 4 (1994): 533-551. Verbeek, Theo, Erik-Jan Bos, and Jeroen van den Ven, eds. The Correspondence of René Descartes, 1643. Utrecht: Utrecht University, 2003. Verheggen, Evelyne M.F. Beelden voor Passie en Hartstocht: Bid-en devotieprenten in de Noordelijke Nederlanden, 17de en 18de eeuw. Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 2006. Verulamio, Franciscus baro de. Historia vitae et morits. Lugduni Batavorum [Leiden]: Jan Maire, 1637. Vesalius, Andreas. De humani corporis fabrica. Basel: Johannes Oporinus, 1543. Voragine, Jacobus de. The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints. Translated by William Granger Ryan. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. Warner, Marina. Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976. White, Christopher. Rembrandt as an Etcher: A Study of the Artist at Work. 2nd ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999. Williams, Julia Lloyd. Rembrandt’s Women. Munich, London, and New York: Prestel, 2001.
Chapter Eight Secular Relic: The Spectacle of the Body in Decay on the Early Modern English Stage Barker, Francis. The Culture of Violence: Tragedy and History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. Coddon, Karin S. “‘For Show or Useless Property’: Necrophilia and The Revenger’s Tragedy.” ELH 61 (1994): 71-88. Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red, 1983. Diehl, Huston. Staging Reform, Reforming the Stage: Protestantism and Popular Theater in Early Modern England. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997. Dollimore, Jonathan. Radical Tragedy: Religion, Ideology and Power in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. 3rd ed. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004. Dudley, Scott. “Conferring with the Dead: Necrophilia and Nostalgia in the Seventeenth Century.” ELH 66, no. 2 (1999): 227-94.
Greenblatt, Stephen. Hamlet in Purgatory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. ———. Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988. Middleton, Thomas/Cyril Tourneur. The Revenger’s Tragedy. In Revels Student Editions, edited by R.A. Foakes. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996. Owens, Margaret E. Stages of Dismemberment: The Fragmented Body in Late Medieval and Early Modern Drama. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005. Rowe, Katherine. Dead Hands: Fictions of Agency, Renaissance to Modern. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999. Schoenbaum, Samuel. “The Revenger’s Tragedy: Jacobean Dance of Death.” Modern Language Quarterly 15, no. 3 (1954): 201-07. Watson, Robert N. The Rest as Silence: Death as Annihilation in the English Renaissance. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.
Chapter Nine Modernity and Byzantine Icons Baudelaire, Charles. The Mirror of Art. Edited and translated by Jonathan Mayne. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1959. Baudrillard, Jean. “Object.” In Art and Artefact, edited by Nicholas Zurbrugg, 11-12. Sage Publications: London, 1997. ———. Simulacra and Simulation. Translated by Sheila Faria Glaser. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 1994. Benjamin, Walter. “A Short History of Photography.” In Classic Essays on Photography, edited by Alan Trachtenberg. New Haven: Leete’s Island Books, 1980. Derrida, Jacques. “By Force of Mourning.” Critical Inquiry 22 (Winter 1996): 171-92. Kracauer, Siegfried. The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays. Edited and translated by Thomas Levin. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995. Mango, Cyril. The Art of the Byzatine Empire 312-1453: Sources and Documents. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972. Panofsky, Erwin. Perspective as Symbolic Form. New York: Zone Books, 1991.
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Plato. The Republic. Translated by Tom Griffith. Edited by G. R. F. Ferrari. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Sahas, Daniel J. Icon and Logos: Sources in Eighth-Century Iconoclasm. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986. Schaff, Philip, and Henry Wace, eds. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: The Seven Ecumenical Councils. Vol. 14. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995. Sontag, Susan. On Photography. New York: Picador, 1977.
CONTRIBUTORS Elissa Auerbach is a doctoral candidate in the Art History Department of the University of Kansas and specializes in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art. Her dissertation, “Re-forming Mary in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Prints,” focuses on the visual culture of the Dutch Republic and deviations during the Reformation of the traditional representation of the Virgin Mary. Carolin Behrmann has studied in Tuebingen, Bologna, and Berlin. Since 2005, she has been a scientific collaborator and lecturer in the Art History Department of Humboldt University in Berlin. Her research interests focus on the early modern period, the art of memory, political iconology, and Roman art and politics in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She is currently preparing her PhD dissertation on Roman martyr cycles, entitled “Tyrant and martyr: Iconologies of the state of exception.” Kathryn Falzareno is a PhD student at UCLA who has recently acquired her MA in Early Modern British Literature. A graduate of St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, she studied abroad in both England and France, concentrating on two of her great loves: theatre and children’s literature. She is currently taking suggestions as to how she might combine both “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The Tempest” into a single dissertation. Hiba Hafiz is a graduate student of Comparative Literature at Yale University. Her dissertation, “The Novel and the Ancien Regime,” explores the reception of seventeenth-century French letters in Britain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as it relates and contributes to the rise of the British novel. Ljubica Ilic completed her PhD in musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. In her dissertation, “Music and the Modern Condition: Investigating the Boundaries,” she examined the turn of the seventeenth and twentieth centuries as two key moments in the formation and disintegration of musical modernity and the musical canon and explored the ways musical compositions reflect and shift to and from modernity. Ljubica is a recipient of an Ahmanson-Getty Postdoctoral 2007-08 Resident Fellowship from the UCLA Center for Seventeenth- and
Eighteenth-Century Studies and currently works on relationships between sound, self, and space in early modern music. N. M. Imbracsio is a PhD student of Literature Studies. She received an MA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a MFA in drama from Emerson College. Her research interests include performance theory and history, the spectacle of the body, and acts of commemoration in post-Reformation England. Tom LeCarner is a PhD candidate in English and former fellow of the Center for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His dissertation project explores the ideological connections between nineteenth-century American law and the literature of the period with a focus on the ideas of forgiveness and charity. He earned BA and MA degrees in English from the University of California, Irvine and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, respectively, and a JD from Gonzaga University School of Law. Jennifer Newman is a PhD student in Italian Literature at New York University, with a focus on Medieval and Renaissance studies. Her research interests include Dante, Machiavelli, and Renaissance court culture and literature, particularly Baldassare Castiglione’s Il libro del Cortegiano. She received BAs in Italian and French language and literature from Arizona State University. Lilia Verchinina is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Alberta, Canada. Lilia studies Byzantine iconoclasm and, in particular, the visual perspective developed by Byzantine “iconophiles,” apologists for icons.
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe
Editors Jessica Goethals is a PhD student in New York University’s Department of Italian Studies with a focus on Medieval and Renaissance literature. She received her BA from Northwestern University and her MA from NYU with a thesis on Michelangelo’s devotional poetry. Her areas of interest include prophecy and apocalypticism, vernacular Florentine literature, and Renaissance courtly life. Valerie McGuire earned a BA in Comparative Literature at Columbia University and now currently studies for her PhD in Italian Studies at New York University. She researches the cultural history of European expansionism from the early modern period to twentieth-century Italy. Gaoheng Zhang was born in Hangzhou, China, in the Year of Monkey. He holds a BA in Italian and International Business from Beijing Foreign Studies University (“Bei Wai”) and joined NYU’s Department of Italian Studies in 2003. His areas of research are rhetoric, theories of Italian art and architecture since the Renaissance, Italian cinema, postcolonial studies, and gender studies.
INDEX 1 Henry VI. See Shakespeare, William Agamben, Giorgio, 11, 12, 141 state of exception, 7, 13 Arion, 48, 49, 52 Aristotle and Aristotelianism, 29, 80, 92, 116, 117 ars moriendi, 104–7, 155 Assumption, the. See Virgin Mary, the Augustinianism, 69, 70, 74 Bacon, Francis, 111, 158 Balzac, Jean-Louis Guez de, 58 Barthes, Roland, 133, 135 Baudelaire, Charles, 134–35 Baudrillard, Jean, 77–80, 82, 86–89, 90, 92, 132, 133, 135 Bellarmine, Robert, 155 Bellarmine, Roberto, 105–6, 155 Bellièvre, Pomponne de, 6 Benedict XVI (pope), 3 Benjamin, Walter, 134 Benveniste, Émile, 65–66, 73–74 Berlioz, Hector, 147 Blaeu, Willem Jansz, 105 Borromeo, Carlo, 140 Bramante, Donato, 8 Byzantium, 129–30, 130–32, 133, 134, 136 Calvinism, 97, 106–7, 116, 118, 156, 157 Camden, William, 82–83 Carissimi, Giacomo, 50 Castiglione, Baldassare, 15–17, 18– 19, 22–23, 23–24, 58 Catholicism, 6, 10, 97, 98, 99–104, 104–7, 108, 110, 117, 118, 119– 20, 121, 139, 152, 156, 157 Cato the Elder, 21 Charles IX (king), 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 139
Charles VII (king), 25, 28, 29, 30, 31 Christine of Lorraine, 48 Cicero, Marcus Tullius, 15, 23 Coligny, Gaspard de (admiral), 4– 10, 11, 138, 139, 140 Constantine V (emperor), 130 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 109 Council of Trent, 13 Counter-Reformation, the, 7, 54, 119, 153 Crabeth, Dirck, 108, 156 d’Urfé, Honoré, 60 Dadaism, 43 Dauphin, the. See Charles VII Debord, Guy, 120–21, 124, 127 Derrida, Jacques, 132, 133 Descartes, René, 64–66, 67, 73, 97, 109, 111–16, 116–17, 158, 159, 160, 161 Dorat, Jean, 9 Dormition. See Virgin Mary Du Souhait, François, 58 Dürer, Albrecht, 108, 129, 136 Echo (mythological), 44–45, 46, 148 Eco, Umberto, 55 Ecumenical Council, 131, 132 Elizabeth I (queen), 80, 83–84, 85, 123 Enlightenment, the, 75, 109 Ernst, Max, 43, 44 Esprit, Jacques, 68 être vrai, 69, 70, 71, 75 Euripides, 51 Faret, Nicolas, 58 Foucault, Michel, 9, 43, 44, 58–59, 62 Freud, Sigmund, 45, 162 Fronde, the, 61, 66, 69 Galilei, Galileo, 109
188 Galle, Theodor, 100 Geoffrey of Monmouth, 82–83, 84, 85, 92 grazia, 16, 17, 18–19, 24, 142 Gregory XIII (pope), 4, 6, 7, 11, 138 Grünewald, Matthias, 135 Hamlet. See Shakespeare, William Henry IV (king), 6 Heywood, Thomas, 29 Holinshed, Raphael, 83 Huguenots, the, 6–13, 139, 140 Huygens, Constantijn, 116, 161 hypostasis, 130–31, 132, 133, 135 Iconoclast Council, the, 130–31 intermedio, 48–49, 147, 148 Joan of Arc, 146 and witchcraft, 26, 32–33, 38 as a prophetess, 26, 31–32, 146 as a saint, 26, 31 as an Amazon, 26, 29–30 historical woman, 25, 30, 35, 36, 37, 38, 145 in comparison with Deborah (biblical), 26, 30–31 in comparison with the Virgin Mary, 27, 31, 34 trial, 29, 35, 37 Joanna of Austria, 48 Julius II (pope), 9 Kant, Immanuel, 64, 66, 73–74, 75, 132 Kracauer, Siegfried, 134 Kyd, Thomas. See Spanish Tragedy, The La Bruyère, Jean de, 62 La Rochefoucauld, François, 62, 66, 67–73, 74–76 Lafayette, Madame de (MarieMadeleine Pioche de la Vergne), 75 Landi, Stefano, 50 Lasso, Orlando di, 46, 51 Legenda aurea (Golden Legend), 99–100, 104, 153, 154 Leo III (emperor), 130 Leonardo da Vinci, 43, 44
Index lit de justice, 6, 11 Louis XIV (king), 69 Luther, Martin, 99, 153 Machiavelli, Niccolò, 6 Mahler, Gustav, 147 Mallery, Carel de, 100 Margaret of Valois, 6 Marianism. See Virgin Mary, the Marini, Biagio, 50, 51–54 Mary, Queen of Scots, 80–82 Mary, the Virgin. See Virgin Mary Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve, the, 4–7, 13 Mazarin, Jules (cardinal), 61, 66 Medici, Catherine de’, 6 Medici, Ferdinando de’, 48 Medici, Francesco de’, 48, 140 Metamorphoses. See Ovid Middleton, Thomas. See Revenger's Tragedy, The Montaigne, Michel de, 66 Monteverdi, Claudio, 49–50, 51 Montpensier, Mlle de (Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans), 62 moralistes, 62, 63, 67, 74 Narcissus, 44–45, 46, 53, 146 Nervèze, Antoine de, 58 Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis (Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary), 100–104, 106, 154 Orpheus in music (Orfeo), 50, 49–51, 52 mythological, 50–51 ousia, 130–31 Ovid, 44–45, 50, 51, 89 Paleotti, Gabriele, 7, 140 Parmigianino (Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola), 43 Pascal, Blaise, 62, 68, 70 Pasquier, Nicolas, 58 Peacham, Henry, 48 Peri, Jacopo, 48, 49, 50 Piero della Francesca, 129 Pizan, Christine de, 25 Plato, 131 Plutarch, 86
Power and Image in Early Modern Europe Protestantism, 6, 54, 97, 98, 99, 104, 106–7, 108, 109, 110, 117, 139, 152 Quintilian, Marcus Fabius, 15, 16, 17–18, 21–22, 23–24, 142 Raleigh, Walter, 80, 82 Rambouillet, Madame de (Catherine de Vivonne), 62, 66 Raphael da Urbino, 8 Reformation, the, 97, 104, 117, 119–20, 124 Rembrandt. See van Rijn, Rembrandt Revenger’s Tragedy, The, 119, 121, 123, 124–27, 161 Sablé, Madame de (Madeleine de Souvré), 66, 68, 69 Sala Regia. See Vatican, the salonnières, 57, 62, 63, 76 Salviati, Antonio Maria, 11 Schütz, Heinrich, 54–55 Scudéry, Madeleine de, 61, 62, 66 Shakespeare, William, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 33, 35, 37, 38, 39, 145 1 Henry VI, 25–39 Hamlet, 119, 123, 124 Shakespearean heroines, 37 Sidney, Philip, 77, 82, 88, 92 Simon Magus, 9, 140 Sontag, Susan, 133 Sorel, Charles, 60 Spanish Tragedy, the, 121–23, 123 Spenser, Edmund, 77, 78 Faerie Queene, The, 77–78, 80– 92 Shepherd's Calender, The, 89 sprezzatura, 15, 18, 19, 23, 24, 142 St. Bartholomew’s Eve, 7, 138, 139 state of exception. See Agamben, Giorgio Studite, Theodore, 131 Surrealism, 43
Transitus Matris Dei. See Virgin Mary, Dormition van Rijn, Rembrandt, 152, 155, 156, 157, 160, 161 Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, the, 110, 115–16 Christ Healing the Sick (“The Hundred Guilder Print”), 100, 154 Death of the Virgin, The, 95–97, 98, 99, 100, 103–4, 105, 106– 7, 109, 111, 113, 116, 117– 18, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159 Raising of Lazarus, the, 113 Saskia Lying in Bed, 107 Three Trees, The, 114, 156, 159 van Uylenburgh, Saskia, 107 Vasari, Giorgio, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 8–13, 140 Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve, 140 Vatican, the, 3, 9, 137 Sala Regia, 3, 4, 7, 12, 137, 138 Velásquez, Diego, 43, 44 Vesalius, Andreas, 110, 160 Virgin Mary, the, 27, 31, 34, 95, 118, 153 Assumption, 98, 100, 151, 153, 154, 155 Death of the Virgin, The. See van Rijn, Rembrandt Dormition, 95, 97, 98, 99–100, 100–101, 103, 104, 106, 107, 114, 151, 153, 154, 155 Immaculate Conception, 153 Voraigne, Jacobus de. See Legenda aurea (Golden Legend) vraisemblance, 60, 62, 63 Willibrord, Saint, 103 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 74