Recasting Reproduction (1500–1800) - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Recasting Reproduction (1500–1800)

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Seventh Early Modern Symposium

Recasting Reproduction (1500–1800)

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

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David Teniers (1610-1690), The Monkey Painter, c.1660, oil on panel. (Museo del Prado, Madrid).

Organised by

  • Kyle Leyden: The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Natasha Morris: The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Angela Benza: The Courtauld Institute of Art
Free and open to all, advance booking required

with advance booking required


The contested concept of “reproduction” stands at a critical nexus of the conceptualisation of Early Modern artistic thought. The early modern period has been characterised by the development of novel and efficient reproduction technologies, as well as the emergence of global empires, growing interconnectedness through trade, warfare and conquest, and the rise of new markets and cultures of collecting. This ethos of innovation and cultural exchange was, however, contextualised against myriad contemporary ideologies still rooted in the values and legends of narratives of the past. Reproduction stood at the centre of this dichotomy. Set against the context of changing cultural tastes and the increasingly overlapping public and private spheres, ‘reproductions’ were involved within changing viewing practices, artistic pedagogy, acts of homage and collecting.

The idea of reproduction connotes a number of tensions: between authenticity and counterfeit; consumption and production; innovation and imitation; the establishment of archetype and the creation of replica; the conceptual value of the original and the worth of the reproduction as a novel work of art; the display of contextualised knowledge and the de-contextualisation of the prototype. At the same time, production is shaped historically through practices and discourses, and has figured as a key site for analysis in the work of, for example, Walter Benjamin, Richard Wolin, Richard Etlin, Ian Knizek and Yvonne Sheratt. Participants are invited to explore reproduction ‘beyond Benjamin’, investigating both the technical and philosophical implications of reproducing a work of art and seeking, where possible, a local anchoring for the physical and conceptual processes involved.

Organised by Kyle Leyden, Natasha Morris and Angela Benza (The Courtauld Institute of Art)


0900 – 0930                Registration


0930 – 0945                Opening of Conference


0945 – 1045                SESSION 1: “In the Beginning was the Word”: Reproduction, Textuality and Self-fashioning


  1. BILAL BADAT, University of Tübingen, Germany (Teaching Fellow in Islamic Art and Architecture)

“The Blessings of Imitation: Early Modern Ottoman Reproductions of Seyh Hamdullah’s Calligraphy”.


BRIANNA ANDERSON-GUTHRIE, University of North Carolina (Ph.D. Candidate)


“Generating a King: Reproduction and Authority in the Prints of King James VI and I”.


  1. NAOMI LEBENS, Courtauld Institute & University of Reading (Early Career Researcher, Ph.D. Courtauld, 2016)


“Performing the (Reproductive) Print: Giuseppe Maria Mitelli (1634-1718) and the Legacy of the Carracci in Bologna”.


1045 – 1100                QUESTIONS


1100 – 1145                ADDRESS


PROF. DROR WAHRMAN, Hebrew University of Jerusalem & Indiana University-Bloomington


“The Throne of the Great Mogul: New Possibilities of Replicability and Reproduction and Intentional Irreproducibility in the Decorative Arts”.


1145 – 1200                QUESTIONS


1200 – 1215                COFFEE


1215 – 1315                SESSION 2: “Like a Virgin”: Reproduction, Religion and Reverence


GENEVIEVE K VERDIGEL, Warburg Institute (Ph.D. Candidate)


“St Jerome in Multiple: Collisions between the Reproductive Media of Print and Bronze in the Sixteenth Century”.


ADAM SAMMUT, University of York (Ph.D. Candidate)


Caravaggio cum Privilegio: Lucas Vorsterman and the Madonna of the Rosary in Antwerp’s Dominican Church”.


  1. SANJA CVETNIC, University of Zagreb


“Transformation of the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa: from the Queen of a Polish Kingdom to a Haitian Voodoo Warrior-Mother Ezili Danto(r)”.


1315 – 1330                QUESTIONS


1330 – 1445                LUNCH


1445 – 1545                SESSION 3: “Mediocrity or Greatness?”. Reproduction, Imitation and Interpretation


RACHEL MASTERS CARLISLE, Courtauld & Florida State University (Ph.D. Candidate)


“The Alchemist by Pieter Brueghel the Younger: Imitation or Interpretation”.


SABINE PEINELT-SCHMIDT, Technische Universität Dresden (Ph.D. Candidate)


“From Cautious Alterations to Daring Forgery: Landscapes as a Playground in Early Modern Interpretative Printmaking”.


FEMKE SPEELBERG, Associate Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


“Parrots, Apes or Chameleons: Artistic Identity and Reproduction in the Early Sixteenth Century”.


1545 – 1600                QUESTIONS


1600 – 1630                COFFEE


1630 – 1730                SESSION 4: The Myth of the “Original”


MARGERET SHORTLE, Boston University (Ph.D. Candidate)


“Poetic Quotations: Repetition and Reproduction in Early Modern Persian Painting”.


ALEXANDRA GENT, Courtauld Institute (Ph.D. Candidate)


“Replication in Joshua Reynolds’ Studio Practice: The Fortune Teller”.


HANNAH WIRTA KINNEY, University of Oxford (D.Phil. Candidate)


“Moulds as Originals in Medicean Florence”.


1730 – 1800                CLOSING REMARKS


1800                            RECEPTION




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