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Art historian Claudia Swan discusses “Art, Science, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Holland,” November 16, 2010.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NYArt historian Claudia Swan will present the lecture “Pictures and/or Visions: Art, Science, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Holland” on Tuesday, November 16, at 6:00pm in Taylor Hall, room 203. Sponsored by the Art Department, this event is free and open to the public and is part of the Agnes Rindge Claflin lecture series.

Swan will speak on themes explored in her book, Art, Science, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Holland: Jacques de Gheyn II (1565-1629) (Cambridge, 2005), which offers an account of the rise of scientific naturalism in Dutch art and the simultaneous interest in fantastic imagery, representations of witches in particular. Swan examines the intersection of empiricism and witchcraft in Holland in the early 17th century through the work of de Gheyn II and uses de Gheyn’s work to explore the reciprocity between visual representation and early modern descriptive science, as well as parallel demonological theories of the human imagination and artistic theories of creation.

Claudia Swan is associate professor of art history at Northwestern University and currently is a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (Wassenaar, The Netherlands) for the 2010-11 academic year. She is co-editor (with Londa Schiebinger) of Colonial Botany: Science, Commerce, Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004); and the author of The Clutius Botanical Watercolors (Harry N. Abrams, 1998). Her research on the Clutius watercolors was featured in the BBC documentary (1999) The Winter Garden. Swan has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She is currently working on two books: a brief history of the imagination and The Aesthetics of Possession: Art, Science, and Collecting in the Netherlands 1600-1650, which features four studies on Dutch early modern material culture, the market, and epistemology.

About the Agnes Rindge Claflin Lecture Series

Past speakers in the Claflin Lecture series include New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl; architect David Childs; art historians Thomas Crow, Stephen Murray, and Yoshiaki Shimizu; and artists Ellen Altfest, Josephine Halvorson, Marc Handleman, Joan Jonas, Ellen King, Karyn Olivier, Charles Simonds, Erica Svec, and Craig Taylor.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, November 5, 2010