Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Collecting and Display in Early Modern Europe: Stephanie Dickey & Ellen Konowitz

March 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Shells, Prints and the Taxonomy of connoisseurship

Stephanie S. Dickey

Professor of Art History and Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art

Queen’s University


Stephanie Dickey (Willem van Haecht)

Abstract: In the early modern curiosity cabinet, products of human and divine creativity were often juxtaposed in provocative ways. This talk will examine the interplay between shells and prints as collectible objects that prompted an exercise of connoisseurship distinct from the judgments applied to painting. It is no accident that when Edmé-François Gersaint turned from writing descriptive catalogues of natural history collections in the 1730s (in which shells feature prominently) to the first catalogue raisonné of an artist’s oeuvre, it was Rembrandt’s etchings that claimed his attention. Like shells, prints (and Rembrandt’s in particular) exist in multiples ostensibly designed to be identical, yet to the discerning eye, no two are exactly the same. Discovering and evaluating qualitative differences between specimens thus became a shared passion for amateurs of both. The roots of this parallel can be traced to emerging practices of connoisseurship and conchology in 17th-century northern Europe, and its consequences shed light on the market for ‘collectibles’ of all kinds.


Stephanie S. Dickey is Professor of Art History and Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art at Queen’s University. Her research and publications center on the visual culture of the early modern Netherlands, especially the work of Rembrandt and artists in his circle, the history of prints and print collecting, portraiture as a cultural practice, and representations of gender and emotion.


Stained Glass for the Home: Inventing and Collecting

Ellen Konowitz

Professor of Art History

State University of New York at New Paltz


Ellen Konowitz (Vellert Judgment of Cambyses Amsterdam)

Abstract: During the first half of the sixteenth century, the small-scale, painted-glass roundel emerged as a novel Netherlandish art form, increasingly glazed in wealthy homes and other prestigious spaces more intimate than that of the traditional church or cathedral wall.  None of these works remain in their original settings, due partly to the 19th century craze for them as adornment for Neo-Gothic buildings.  We can speculate that to attract buyers, stained-glass artists employed techniques comparable to those used to appeal to collectors of intaglio prints, another relatively new art form unencumbered by the traditions of panel painting. This talk will examine strategies developed by the leading stained-glass designer Dirk Vellert to address the growing demand for painted panes intended for the home.  Roundels were typically conceived as sets or series, and Vellert’s drawings and glass panels reveal how he devised methods of presenting, tracing, and revising scenes to offer patrons a wide range of compositional and stylistic choices to collect and display, and how he selected subjects that could be shifted into different relationships to construct customized sets of multiple sizes and meanings.  Vellert’s savvy approach toward invention and marketing finds parallels in the design of images in other Renaissance media.

Ellen Konowitz is Associate Professor of Art History at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She has published widely on the making and reception of medieval and early modern art in northern Europe. Her research focuses on intermedia processes of artistic invention in drawing, prints, and stained glass in the Low Countries, especially with respect to the Antwerp painter Dirk Vellert.
She is a member of the Corpus Vitrearum Committee U.S.A.


March 2, 2018
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Goldring Student Centre – Victoria College – Regent’s Room (GSC206)
150 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7 Canada
+ Google Map