Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, History of Art, Johns Hopkins University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Art History/Architecture, University of California / Berkeley
Rubens in a New World: Prints, Authorship, and Transatlantic Intertextuality

This dissertation analyzes colonial-era paintings in Latin America that were derived or copied from European prints that crossed the Atlantic and circulated in the New World. My project uses this transatlantic frame to reassess how works of art relate to one another across geographic distances and cultural divides and to rethink the terms through which early modern authorship has been understood: originality, invention, replication, and the slavish copy. Though scholars have long understood the importance of European prints in the Americas, there has been little attempt to devise a methodological apparatus with which to analyze the ways in which this phenomenon mattered to individuals—artists, traders, clerics and religious devotees. My project interrogates the local contexts in which prints circulated to reveal how they functioned within the lives and practices of the artists who chose or were contracted to use them. To do so, I focus on works of art in both Mexico and Peru made from prints that reproduced paintings by the European artist Peter Paul Rubens, an artist who has come to define the art historical standards of authorship and intentionality during the early modern period (equivalent with the colonial/viceregal era in Latin America). In my project, Rubens, the consummate authorial "genius" of Europe's early modernity, becomes a lens through which to understand, often by means of contrast, the much greater range of artists—from similarly famous painters to anonymous craftsmen—who reconstituted his printed compositions in paint across the Atlantic. The project thereby aims to recapture something of the lived experience of using prints and making paintings in colonial Latin America in addition to plotting the routes through which prints moved in the transatlantic empire. In doing so, it proposes new comparative methodologies for an emerging "global" art history. SSRC research to be completed in Mexico City (9 months) and Cuzco, Peru (3 months).