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Friday Workshop: Lisa Mansfield (University of Adelaide)

January 26, 2018 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

The Ethical Artist: Erasmian Humanism and Affective Identity in Jan va Scorel’s Portraits


From his arresting likenesses of Venetian sitters in the 1520s to his compelling portrayals of Netherlandish clerics, pilgrims, nobles, and humanist scholars executed over the next three decades, Jan van Scorel’s portraits of men demonstrate both his powers of observation and his worldly cultural and intellectual capital. His precocious Classical erudition, extensive travels in Europe and the Holy Land, ecclesiastic responsibilities, artistic mentorship, and engineering expertise, endowed him with a unique suite of skills and knowledge as an enterprising polymath and innovative image-maker. Complementing his social connections with Alardus of Amsterdam and Johannes Secundus, this paper will investigate Jan van Scorel’s portrait practice in the context of ancient exemplars, from the painter Pamphilus to the sculptor Lysippos, acclaimed for their depictions of virtuous men. It not only argues that the affective impact and communal identity of the Dutch artist’s portraits of northern humanist scholars was a visual rejoinder against the ambivalent Erasmian discourse on the limitations of portraiture, but also supports this contention with an intriguing series of possible self-portraits.

Lisa Mansfield is lecturer in art history and visual culture at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. While her primary area of teaching and research focuses on early modern European art and visual culture (1500-1800), she specializes in the making, meaning, function, and reception of Northern Renaissance portraits. Her book, Representations of Renaissance Monarchy: Francis I and the image-makers, was published by Manchester University Press in 2016. She is frequently invited to deliver guest public lectures on topics from the likenesses of Marie Antoinette to the portrait practice of Mary Beale, and has presented scholarly papers at conferences and symposia across Australia and overseas, most recently on portraiture as an affective genre at the University of Queensland.


Image: Jan van Scorel, Portrait of a Young Student, 1531, Oil on panel, 46.5×35 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.


January 26, 2018
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Northrop Frye, Room 205
73 Queen's Park Crescent East
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7 Canada
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