Table of Contents
June 2016, Volume 98 Number 2
An enameled cup from an early thirteenth-century nomad’s grave in Ukraine, published here in full for the first time, invites a reassessment of a group of enamels featuring allegedly “un-Byzantine” motifs and techniques. The cup, attributed to twelfth-century Constantinople, bears figures of dancing women among trees, an image paralleled in the period’s secular literature. This literary context, in turn, helps clarify the iconography of works such as the Crown of Constantine Monomachos and the Innsbruck bowl. The cup from the Chungul Kurgan thus helps to correct mistaken generalizations about the sources of secular imagery in Middle Byzantine art.
Throughout his oeuvre, the Venetian artist Lorenzo Lotto (ca. 1485–1556) demonstrated a sustained interest in the depiction of carpets. Previous scholarly contributions have considered the carpets in Lotto’s paintings to discuss the role of textiles in civic life and in the Republic of Venice’s commercial ties in the Eastern Mediterranean. The examination of materiality and textile studies offers insights into how the carpet assumes multiple roles in the paintings themselves: as a go-between among media; an interlocutor between figures; a palette; and, finally, a site for thinking about the goals of composition.
Prefaced by a narrative about the cosmographo Christopher Columbus, Chris- toph Jamnitzer’s Neuw Grotteßken Buch (1610) offers an important means to understand how the art of decorative printmaking was construed in terms of contemporary cosmography. By studying the book’s grotesque imagery in light of the language of its introductory text, it is possible to think about orna- ment in its early seventeenth-century author’s terms, and to reflect on the genre outside the problems of style and function that have preoccupied schol- ars since the nineteenth century. Christoph’s book provides access to features of a previously overlooked discourse on early modern ornament.
In the criticism devoted to Jean Dubuffet, his mixed-genre spectacle, or “tableau animé” (animated painting), Coucou Bazar, is frequently cited but only rarely discussed in any detail. The exploration of three related issues— Coucou Bazar’s debt to avant-garde theater, dance, and set design; its metapic-torial features and its generic reflexivity; its sustained exploration of percep- tion and of the potential of the artwork to effect something akin to a phenomenological reduction—addresses this relative critical dearth and dem- onstrates that this multimedia venture is in many respects the logical exten- sion of much of Dubuffet’s earlier work.