Table of Contents
September 2013, Volume 95 Number 3
The theoretical section of Dürer’s treatise on human proportion is well recognized for its contribution to Renaissance aesthetic discourse, although generally considered to follow Italian precedent. In fact, its originality is greater than assumed and bears an intimate connection with Dürer’s artistic production in a quest for epistemological certainty. The relation between nature and the imagination lay at the center of Dürer’s investigations between 1512 and 1516, but in the paradoxical sense that he vigorously resisted the mind’s ability to invent. Drafts for the treatise quietly expose a fear of transgression that ultimately hobbled the artist and his legacy.
From 1747 Horace Walpole and a close circle of male friends and associates designed, decorated, and furnished Strawberry Hill, the remarkable neo-Gothic villa in Twickenham, a fashionable suburb of London. An examination of the role of Walpole’s sexuality in the design and reception of the house and its furnishings, following the lead of recent studies in literature, historiography, and the history of sexuality, reveals the interrelations between the revival of the Gothic as one of the “modern styles” of eighteenth-century architecture and fundamental changes in human sexuality characterized by the rise of a “third sex.”
In the 1830s, Cuban and Spanish patrons sponsored three public fountains, designed and carved in Italy, for new and redesigned urban spaces in Havana. In their reconfiguration of international forms, materials, and iconographies, the fountains reveal diverging notions of the patria (motherland or homeland) within the Spanish Empire. The iconography of the works partook of broader visual and textual rhetorics that speak to a burgeoning Atlantic world city renegotiating its engagement with empire and its growing conception of itself as a distinctive, local setting. Employing transatlantic discourses, the classicizing fountains addressed the center-periphery dialectic established by Spanish colonialism.
A full understanding of Tanaka Atsuko’s (1932–2005) work requires a reconsideration of its connections to the social context of 1950s Japan. Encountering the urban and industrial transformation, postwar shifts in gender status, and dramatic changes in the period’s visual culture, she had to restructure her sense of place in the world. Rather than an articulation of individualism emerging from a fixed sense of self in the postimperial moment, Tanaka’s work can be seen as expressing the frailty of subjectivity. It marks an interrogation of surface and selfhood that raises questions about the status of female subjectivity in 1950s Japan.