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Title: The concept of 'liveliness' in English visual culture, c.1560-c.1630
Author: Faraday, Christina Juliet
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 1234
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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In contrast to the richly visual literature of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England, the period's visual art is usually seen as impoverished. Historians have emphasised the views of Protestant divines, for whom images were 'dead and dumb', and have focused on the limitations placed on images' abilities to communicate. Yet period texts show that many people saw images as highly vivid, or in their words 'lively'. The fact that, in our own time, viewers have been so quick to dismiss English visual art as dull and limited shows that our framework for interpreting these artworks is anachronistic, informed more by our own surroundings than by the period's interests. My research re-enlivens these once 'lively' objects by seeking out the qualities which made them 'lively' at the time. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing art historians of this period is the lack of period sources discussing art in England; unlike contemporaries in Italy, the English rarely recorded their thoughts about images in any detail. My research turns to rhetorical theory as a period-appropriate theory of communication, enabling me to explore how these objects communicated effectively, and vividly, to their audiences. Rhetoric, the art of persuasion, formed the basis for grammar school and university education, and writers on rhetoric frequently draw parallels between literature and visual art. I focus particularly on strategies used to create the effect of 'enargeia' or vividness in writing, and compare them with the strategies used by artists and patrons in visual and material culture. Examining a broad range of objects including portraits, domestic decoration, household items, and book illustration, this thesis makes a new case for Tudor and Jacobean confidence in the effectiveness of visual objects.
Supervisor: Marr, Alexander Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) ; St John's College ; Cambridge
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Tudor ; art history ; elizabethan ; vividness ; enargeia ; liveliness ; lively ; vivid ; portrait ; portraits ; epistemic images ; epistemic image ; prints ; print culture ; book illustration ; domestic imagery ; face jugs ; bellarmine ; embroidery ; tapestry ; wall paintings ; rhetoric ; art of rhetoric ; eloquence ; idolatry ; agency ; automata ; crucifixes ; iconophobia ; iconoclasm ; reformation