Christopher Heuer: Antiquity Without Humans

Culture and languages

Christopher Heuer, Professor of Art and Architecture, University of Rochester.

8 Jun 2022
15:15 - 17:00

The Netherlandish artist Cornelis van Dalem (1530-1575) offered the world a small corpus of painted meditations on geology. His so-called Dawn of Civilization (1565) now in Rotterdam, for example, depicts a grotto scene with early humans and animals, all amidst rocky cliffs and trees indebted to Dürer. Looking loosely to Lucretius, Dalem presents the scene as geologic in character (van Mander referred to the painter as a “fraye schilder van rotsen”.) But the painting interrogates the idea of natural history and “environment” at a moment of iconoclasm and colonialism. It questions the very relationship between humans, animals, and matter and the “separation” that takes place in social as well as artistic terms when civilization arises from – or collapses into - the elements. 
Chair: Cecilia Rosengren.

The seminar will be held in English.