The Matter of Ephemeral Art: Craft, spectacle, and power in early modern Europe

Sophie Pitman, Pamela Smith, Tianna Uchacz, Tillmann Taape, Colin Debuiche

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    Abstract

    Through a close reading and reconstruction of technical recipes for ephemeral artworks in a manuscript compiled in Toulouse ca. 1580 (BnF MS Fr. 640), we question whether ephemeral art should be treated as a distinct category of art. The illusion and artifice underpinning ephemeral spectacles shared the aims and, frequently, the materials and techniques of art more generally. Our analysis of the manuscript also calls attention to other aspects of art making that reframe consideration of the ephemeral, such as intermediary processes, durability, the theatrical and transformative potential of materials, and the imitation and preservation of lifelikeness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number0034433819004962
    Pages (from-to)78-131
    Number of pages54
    JournalRENAISSANCE QUARTERLY
    Volume73
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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