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Cesare Vecellio’s Middle East: Venetian Cosmopolitanism and the Marketing of Textiles
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When: 25 April 2013
6:30–8:00 pm
Where: Segal Theater
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, Room 5400
New York, New York  10016
United States
Contact: Eugenia Paulicelli

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A talk by Ann R. Jones

 As an inhabitant of sixteenth-century Venice, the artist Cesare Vecellio shared his city's admiration for the goods of the Middle East, especially its fabrics. In his book of woodcuts depicting world dress, Habiti antichi et moderni di tutto il mondo (1598), he illustrated the clothing of merchants and citizens of the region, emphasizing the Ottoman Empire, whose court structure and social customs he praises enthusiastically. This talk considers his sources, his revisions of them, and the reasons for his positive representation of cultures whose religion he accepts with very little of his European compatriots' anxiety about Islam's challenge to Christianity. Did textile techniques and economies lead to exchanges with Europeans in paths that bypassed Christian/Muslim oppositions? That is, was theology sidelined when mutually profitable trade linked Europeans and their Eastern contemporaries?

Ann R. Jones is Esther Cloudman Dunn Professor of Comparative Literature at Smith College. Her recent publications are The Clothing of the Renaissance World (Europe, Asia, Africa, America): Cesare Vecellio’s 'Habiti Antichi et Moderni,' with Margaret F. Rosenthal; and Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory, with Peter Stallybrass, Winner of the 2001 Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell Prize "for an outstanding book by a member of the MLA.”

Eugenia Paulicelli, Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Fashion Studies at the Graduate Center, CUNY, will offer comments and moderate.

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