A discussion of her book with a few additional comments on her current research on Thomas de Keyser.
A discussion of her book, Public Faces and Private Identities in Seventeenth-Century Holland: Portraiture and the Production of Community, with a few additional comments on her current research on Thomas de Keyser.
Among painting genres, portraiture holds a special place. Rarely produced for the market, portraits were a collaboration between the artist, patron, and viewer. More than most genres, portraits were valued for their apparently documentary value, imaginatively presenting an actual person purportedly created in their time and space to a supposed viewer, engaging it in his or hers. The portrait thus implies an imaginative transaction not between a viewer and an event or ideas, but a dialogue between individuals: the viewer and the portrayed – a transaction whose power might even be increased by its aesthetic value. These transactions potentially engage, however, personal interests, social networks, and contemporaneous cultural issues. Produced within and viewed by individuals embedded in personal and social networks, their imagery may be investigated for the symbolic capital and strategic alliances they produce, for personal, social, cultural, economic or political ends.
Portraits were painted in the 17th-century Netherlands for a larger number of individuals, across a broader social spectrum, than in previous centuries or elsewhere in Europe, in a rapidly changing society. Through a series of detailed case studies, this book identifies a variety of portrait formats, images, and devices in four portrait genres: the three-quarter length life-sized portrait, the family portrait, the civic guard group portrait, and the portrait historié. Drawing upon a broad range of supporting data - inherited visual traditions, contemporary art theory, changing cultural beliefs about the body, sight, and the image itself, and current events - it argues that portraits actively engage in identity formation not only of their subjects but also of their viewers, potentially producing both personal as well as communal identities. Arguing that as individuals became unmoored from traditional sources of identity such as familial lineage, birthplace, and social class, portraits helped them to find security in a self-aware subjectivity and helped to structure the evolving social institutions of the Dutch Golden Age.
Ann Jensen Adams, Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of California at Santa Barbara, is a specialist in 17th-century Dutch painting, particularly portraiture. Her publications include Public Faces and Private Identities in Seventeenth-Century Holland: Portraiture and the Production of Community (Cambridge 2009), an edited volume of essays Rembrandt’s Bathsheba Reading King David’s Letter (Cambridge 1998), Dutch and Flemish Paintings from New York Private Collections (National Academy of Design, 1988), and a forthcoming monograph on the Amsterdam portrait painter Thomas de Keyser. Fellowships include from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ministry of Education and Science (The Netherlands), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. Most recently she has been a Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, a visiting Research Professor at the Onderzoekinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur, Universiteit Utrecht, and is currently a Faculty Exchange Professor in the Departement Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht.
Het wetenschappelijke deel van de bijeenkomst duurt tot ongeveer 17.00 uur en wordt gevolgd door een borrel.