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Personal profile

Research interests

My research investigates the status of the image in early modern art from the ‘Guttenberg revolution’ to the Counter Reformation. Active as a scholar, teacher, and curator of early modern art, I frequently participate in international conferences, symposia, and exhibitions, and have published widely, particularly on topics concerning Netherlandish art and intellectual history, cultural exchanges between Italy and northern Europe in the early modern period, and print culture.

My monograph on the Netherlandish painter, draftsman, and etcher Frans Floris appeared with Brill in 2018.  The first study of the artist in over forty years, this book situates Floris at the nexus of a circle of patrons and scholars struggling to define Netherlandish identity on the eve of the Dutch Revolt. It maps Floris’s hybrid style onto shifting conceptions of cultural, religious, and political autonomy. In twelve chapters and a substantial appendix, the book explores Floris's collaborations and rivalries, engagement with artistic theory, hierarchical workshop, and revolutionary use of print.

My primary current project examines the rise of an autonomous discourse on the arts in the Low Countries, focusing on the critic Dominicus Lampsonius and his expansive network of correspondents, including leading artists and humanists such as Vasari, Titian, Justus Lipsius, and Abraham Ortelius.  Part of this research involves collecting, translating, and annotating Lampsonius's writings on art, many of which remain in unpublished form. The project will result in two books: a critical edition of Lampsonius's published treatises on art, appearing in 2021 in the Getty's Text & Document series, and a monograph situating Lampsonius's picture theory in the contexts of Counter Reformation image debates and the formation of political identities in the early modern Netherlands.

Recent collaborations include my co-edited volume with Suzanne Karr-Schmidt, Prints in Translation 1450-1750: Image, Materiality, Space (2017) and, with Alison Hokanson, a special issue of Oud Holland entitled Early Netherlandish art in the long nineteenth century (2020). With a team of researchers based in Australia, Germany, and the UK, I am at present working on an interdisciplinary research project examining Albrecht Dürer’s graphic art from the perspective of material culture. This collaboration will result in several publications as well as an exhibition, due to open at the Whitworth in July 2023, which will feature objects in a range of media borrowed from local and international museums as well as the first display of the Whitworth's Dürer collection in over fifty years.

 

Biography

Edward Wouk is active as a scholar, teacher, and curator of early modern art. At Manchester since 2012, he lectures at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels on a wide range of course units, from an introductory survey entitled Ice Age to Baroque to a set of Renaissance lecture and seminar course units devoted to Northern, Italian and global perspectives, as well as tutorials on topics including print culture, seventeenth-century Dutch painting, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, artistic theory and historiography, and material culture studies. Edward supervises masters and doctoral students interested in early modern art, intellectual culture, cultures of collecting, and the history of print. A specialist in the graphic arts of the Renaissance, he frequently incorporates University collections into his teaching.

An American, Edward studied at Brown University (BA) and the Courtauld Institute of Art (MA), and completed his PhD at Harvard University in 2010 with a dissertation on the Flemish painter, draftsman, and etcher Frans Floris de Vriendt (1519/20-1570).  He has taught in art history departments at Harvard and the Universität Zürich.  He was a Fulbright Scholar in Belgium, a Reader in Renaissance Studies at Harvard’s Villa I Tatti in Florence, Italy, and held post-doctoral fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, where he collaborated on the project ‘Visualising Knowledge in the Early Modern Netherlands’. He returned to Villa I Tatti as the Rush H Kress Fellow for the academic year 2016-2017.

Edward regularly contributes to exhibitions and conferences on prints, printmaking, and the circulation of ideas and images in the early modern period, and has published widely, particularly in the fields of Netherlandish art history and print studies. He is a member of the editorial board of the Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek / Netherlands Year Book for History of Art. His research has been supported by grants from the British Academy, the Renaissance Society of America, the Lila Acheson Wallace Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Australian Research Council.

In 2016-2017, he co-curated (with David Morris) the exhibition Marcantonio Raimondi and Raphael at the Whitworth, The University of Manchester. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue, published by Manchester University Press, with contributions by a range of international scholars as well as staff and students from The University of Manchester. His current curatorial projects include an exhibition on Albrecht Dürer at the Whitworth, developed in dialogue with colleagues at Manchester and partners in Europe and Australia, and scheduled to open in 2023.

 

Opportunities

I welcome applications for doctoral work on early modern art and material culture, especially topics that engage northern European art from an interdisciplinary perspective. I have recently supervised and examined dissertations dealing with subjects including Italian Renaissance architecture, Jesuit art in Japan and New Spain, drawing practices of Netherlandish artists in Italy, and the relationship between representations of the body and body politic in Dutch art. Current supervisions include projects on Gerhard Mercator's Atlas, Titian's engagement with print culture, and the visual representations of universal language in the early modern Low Countries. Students interested in working with local resources including the collections of the John Rylands Library, Chethams Library, Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth Art Gallery are encouraged to apply. Please contact me directly in the first instance.

External positions

External Examiner, Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London)

Apr 2021 → …

External Examiner, The Open University

20152019

Areas of expertise

  • NE Print media
  • NX Arts in general
  • DH Netherlands (The Low Countries)
  • AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester

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