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Vasari’s Words: Douglas Biow and Henrike Lange in conversation

Doug biow book chat

12:30 am | 10/4/2018 | 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley | Until 2:00 am | 10/4/2018

Join us for a conversation with Douglas Biow, Superior Oil Company-Linward Shivers Centennial Professor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UT Austin and Henrike Christiane Lange, Assistant Professor, Italian Studies and History of Art, UC Berkeley. 

Sponsored by Institute of European Studies, Department of Italian Studies, Department of History, Department of History of Art, D.E. in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.

In conversation with Professor Henrike Lange (UC Berkeley, Italian Studies / History of Art), Professor Douglas Biow (UT Austin) will present his new book Vasari’s Words: The ‘Lives of the Artists’ as a History of Ideas in the Italian Renaissance (forthcoming September 2018 from Cambridge University Press). In this new study of Giorgio Vasari’s seminal text, Biow connects five key words to the cultural and historical currents of late Renaissance Italy, situating the ‘Lives of the Artists’ in the context of modern intellectual history: What does it mean to have a ‘profession’, professione, and possess ‘genius’, ingegno, in the visual arts? How is ‘speed’, prestezza, valued among visual artists of the period and how is ‘time’, tempo, conceptualized in Vasari’s narrative and descriptions of visual art? Finally, how is the ‘night’, notte, conceived and visually represented as a distinct span of time in Vasari’s Lives?

Douglas Biow is the Superior Oil Company-Linward Shivers Centennial Professor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UT Austin and Director of the Center for European Studies and the France-UT Institute. He is the author of a number of articles and six books: Mirabile Dictu: Representations of the Marvelous in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (Michigan, 1996); Doctors, Ambassadors, Secretaries: Humanism and Professions in Renaissance Italy (Chicago, 2002), the recipient of a Robert W. Hamilton Book Award; The Culture of Cleanliness in Renaissance Italy (Cornell, 2006), named a Choice Outstanding Title; In Your Face: Professional Improprieities and the Art of Being Conspicuous (Stanford, 2010); and On the Importance of Being an Individual: Men, Their Professions, and Their Beards (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). His most recent book, Vasari’s Words: The “Lives of the Artists” as a History of Ideas in the Italian Renaissance, is published by Cambridge University Press (2018). He has been the recipient of a number of scholarly awards, including NEH, Delmas, and Guggenheim Fellowships.

Henrike Christiane Lange holds a joint appointment in Berkeley’s Departments of History of Art and Italian Studies. She specializes in Italian late medieval / early Renaissance art and architecture history and literature. A second field of expertise is historiography in the European and American late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Her art historical research has focused in recent years on Giotto, Donatello, Mantegna, and the history and theory of relief sculpture. Other current projects include Botticelli’s Dante, the Italian Mediterranean, and a cultural history of triumphs. Professor Lange’s museum experience includes curatorial and pedagogical projects at the Kunsthalle and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, with a focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century collections, and at the Yale University Art Gallery, with a focus on the early Italian collection. Narratology, language and communication theory, opera, and contemporary Italian film remain in the center of Professor Lange’s interests.


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