Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Art History Lecture Highlights North Africa’s Impact on Renaissance Italy

Professor of Art History at Tufts University Cristelle Baskins will present "Giorgio Vasari's Life of Filippo Lippi: A Renaissance Tale of Captivity and Creativity on the Barbary Coast" on Monday, February 22 at 5 p.m. in the Boliou Hall Auditorium on the Carleton College campus. Her presentation illustrates North Africa’s significant impact on Renaissance Italy through the lens of Giorgio Vasari's fictional anecdote about a young Filippo Lippi. This talk is free and open to the public.
Giorgio Vasari (1511 –1574) was an Italian artist who famously laid the foundation for art-historical writing in his biographies of Italian artists of his generation and immediately prior.  Although his accounts are wonderful primary resources, usually unbiased in aesthetic judgment, they are also interspersed with comical gossip from his time.  For instance, when recounting the life of Italian painter Filippo Lippi (1406-1469), he wrote that Lippi was captured and enslaved by Moorish pirates.  Apparently, Lippi was only released after drawing a compelling portrait of his captor.  Modern biographers remain skeptical.
The significance of North Africa on the Italian and greater European Renaissance is often overlooked.  Despite Vasari’s selective credibility,  Baskins recognizes Filippo’s tale as an important reflection on Italian/North African relations, and hopes to draw larger conclusions from it.
Cristelle Baskins is a distinguished scholar of Italian art, and author of Cassone Painting, Humanism, and Gender in Early Modern Italy (1998), The Triumph of Marriage: Painted Cassoni of the Renaissance (2005), Early Modern Visual Allegory: Embodying Meaning (2007), and numerous articles.
Baskins’ appearance at Carleton College is supported by a grant from the Edwin L Weisl Lectureship in the Arts, sponsored by the Robert Lehman Foundation. The Boliou Hall Auditorium is accessible from Highway 19 in Northfield, and is wheelchair accessible.  For more information regarding the lecture, please contact Laurel Bradley, Director of Exhibitions and Curator of the College Art Collection at (507) 222-4342.

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