Cogut Institute for the Humanities
Center for the Study of the Early Modern World

2020 Research and Teaching Report: Jeffrey Muller

Jeffrey Muller taught two courses in History of Art and Architecture with a focus on the Early Modern World. The first, “Arts Between Europe and the World: 1500-1700,” considered how arts and visual objects of all kinds mediate between Europe and regions of the world which were laid open to contact through trade, conquest, religious conversion, and the exchange of knowledge. This seminar sought to identify the major contexts of these exchanges and the best methods to understand their histories, considering the conditions which enabled or prevented mutual recognition. The course examined the ways in which foreign materials were imported and integrated, such as Chinese porcelain in the Netherlands or European glass in China. The balances of power which determined these exchanges, from the colonial extinction of Pre-Columbian art to the adaptation of western perspective in Japanese prints, were also considered.

The second, “Dutch and Flemish Art: Visual Culture of the Netherlands in the Seventeenth Century” surveyed the amazing art in Holland and Flanders that revolutionized all media. The class showed how paintings, sculpture, and architecture formed the historical environment of life in the 17th-century Netherlands. The work of such artists as Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer was  presented as part of this history of art in a “golden age.”