Between the 15th and the 17th centuries the expansion projects –and in particular the Iberian ones – stimulated an unprecedented fertile tension between the distant and the close, in geographical, historical and visual terms. Each session of this graduate seminar will be devoted to specific episodes – how to conceive the city of Tenochtitlan from Nuremberg? how to make a Jesuit mapamundi in Beijing? how to illustrate local plants and fruits in Mexico (Francisco Hernandez) or Goa (García da Orta)? how to transform into copper plates the pages of the chronicles describing remote places for an European public (De Bry’s enterprise)? We will also study a number of textual and visual documents explicitly conceived to cross the ocean (Diego Muñoz Camargo from Tlaxcala, Guaman Poma de Ayala from Lucanas, both authors’ textual and visual works aimed to reach Spain and to be potentially printed), or Bernardino de Sahagún’s encyclopedic project. From the construction of “global mythographies” in Las Casas, or Pignoria to the display of farness and the reconceptualization of Antiquity in XVIth century Lisbon, and Goa or in the Wunderkammern of Bologna, Naples, or Prague, we will investigate how between the 15th and 17th centuries, new ways of making both remoteness and proximity visible were used and invented, tools that range from new challenges of ekphrasis to precise optical techniques of capturing.
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