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Göttler, C.E.

Christine Göttler, born in Luzern, Switzerland, in 1952. Ph.D. from the University of Zurich. Associate Professor at the Department of Art History, University of Washington, Seattle.

Fellow (1 September 2004 – 30 June 2005)


During the first part of my research stay at NIAS I completed a book manuscript entitled The Body of the Soul: The Art and Material Culture of Devotion in the Age of Reform (to be published by Brepols). This book is a cultural history of curiosity in the sphere of the devout as well as a study of images and their aesthetic and devotional values. I discuss artworks, images, artefacts and visual devices associated with the meditation on death from the late fifteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries, thus covering a period during which attitudes toward images dramatically changed and eschatological concepts were dismissed or redefined. Remarkably, although curiosity and its relation to scientific discoveries has been investigated, religious forms of curiosity and their association with the marvellous have until now received little attention.

I also prepared a monograph on art patronage and the collecting activities of Portuguese merchant families in early seventeenth-century Antwerp. I am particularly interested in the ways in which the Portuguese collections – of art works, mathematical instruments, exotic artefacts and products, devotional objects, and books – reflected these families’ involvement in international trade. What meanings and functions had the imagery of welfare and trade in a city that had already lost its central economic position? How were art, trade, science and religion connected? I further used some time to experiment and explore new themes, most of them dealing with aspects of the pictorial arts around 1600. Additionally, I started work on an edited volume on “The Representation of Subtle Bodies in Early Modern European Culture” (to be published as volume 9 of Intersections: Yearbook for Early Modern Studies).