This talk will be structured around discussion of two works of art that straddle the sixteenth century: the “Cosmos Table” by the Ulm artist, Martin Schaffner, painted in 1533 as a gift for a member of the Strassburg goldsmith family Stedelin; and the so-called “Universe Cup” by the Nuremburg goldsmith Jonas Silber, of 1589, intended for the Emperor Rudolf II. While each work was designed with the specific values of its recipient in mind, they also reflect different notions of the world—although the momentous discoveries of Copernicus have not yet registered in the later piece. More significantly, they reflect changing structures of knowledge and the means available to the craftsman to grasp them. As such, these two works and the sources they drew upon will form twin poles of a discussion about the broader intellectual interests, educational backgrounds and professional aspirations of south German craftsmen-- a changing mental landscape that was the product of a rapidly developing and increasingly self-conscious professional urban culture..
Sponsored by Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the departments of History of Art, History, and Germanic Languages and Literatures