Conférence : Alexander Marr, « Three Renaissance Grotesques: Holbein, Dürer, Massys », Oxford, University of Oxford, 27 septembre 2023
Magdalen College, University of Oxford
Grove Auditorium (entry via Longwall Street)
27 September 2023, 5pm
The Renaissance grotesque is normally thought of as an ornamental art of the margins: fantastical rather than natural, supplementary instead of central. But what if we were to approach a core subject in the rise of naturalism, the Northern Renaissance portrait, on grotesque terms? This lecture will re-assess three well-known portraits—Hans Holbein the Younger’s Derich Born, Albrecht Dürer’s St Jerome in his Study, and Quinten Massys’s so-called Ugly Duchess—in relation to some key topoi of the grotesque: hybridity, monstrosity, play, and the excesses of fecund imagination. It will suggest that the enterprise of portraiture is(and was) better understood as a facetious game than a mimetic triumph.
Alexander Marr is Professor of Renaissance and Early Modern Art at the University of Cambridge. He specializes in German, Netherlandish, Italian, French and British art ca. 1450-ca. 1800, especially its intellectual and literary aspects in their social contexts. Before coming to Cambridge, he taught at the University of Southern California and the University of St Andrews. From 2014 to 2019 he was Director of the project Genius before Romanticism: Ingenuity in Early Modern Art & Science, funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant (€1.8 million). His awards include a Paul Mellon Centre Senior Fellowship, the Robert H. Smith Residency at the V&A, and a Philip Leverhulme Prize. He was the founding Director of Cambridge’s Centre for Visual Culture and has directed research projects at CRASSH, the DAAD-Cambridge Hub for German Studies, and the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. Marr is Fellow and Dean of Discipline at Trinity Hall, and Director of Studies there and at Clare College. He is the President of the Leonardo da Vinci Society: a learned society dedicated to the study of art and science from the Renaissance to the present day.