Early Modern Technologies of Art
Can technologies of art enable us to reconsider the early modern interactions between “local” and the “global?” Seeking to answer this question, the proposed panel takes up art technology as a hermeneutic tool to analyze production of art in the early modern world. In this period, technologies of art involved specialized and often localized practices that required systematic application of techniques, materials, and tools that did not travel as readily as the objects they helped to generate. Although embedded in cultural objects, artworks and materials exchanged across the Silk Road and the Oceanic networks of trade, art technologies were seldom known to those who acquired these objects of cross-cultural exchange. In contrast to the mobility of inimitable artifacts and images art technologies were often intangible and unknown, which heightened the foreignness and desirability of objects produced with their application. Attempting to recreate foreign objects using local technologies, practitioners across Europe, Near East, Asia, and the Americas made all kinds of hybrid things—things that were neither local nor foreign, but uniquely, early modern.