Advanced search
1 file | 4.18 MB Add to list

‘Unusual excrescences of nature’ : collected coral and the study of petrified luxury in seventeenth-century Antwerp

Marlise Rijks (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
Many seventeenth-century Antwerp collections contained red coral, both natural and crafted. Also, coral was a pictorial motif depicted by Antwerp artists on mythological scenes, still lifes, paintings of collector’s cabinets, and allegories. This paper provides a ‘biography of coral’ in early seventeenth-century Antwerp to explain the interest in this naturalia. It argues that the interest in coral resulted from the fascination with metamorphoses – in particular the process of petrifaction, which highly interested naturalists, but also had artisanal, mythological, and religious connotations. Antwerp painters, engravers, gold- and silversmiths, jewellers, apothecaries, and collectors were knowledgeable about coral in different ways. Added up, their stories explain the multi-layered meaning of coral that was intrinsic to the value attached to this ‘unusual excrescence of nature’. Coral was indeed many things at the same time: a commodity crafted into jewellery and artefacts, a popular collectable in its natural shape, a motif for Antwerp painters, an essential commodity in the European-Indian trade network, a naturalia associated with classical mythology, a substance associated with the Blood of Christ, and a problematic naturalia that raised questions about classification, origins and natural processes.
Keywords
collections, Coral, Antwerp, artist and artisans, art, metamorphosis, petrification, seventeenth century

Downloads

  • Unusual Excrescences of Nature Collected Coral and the Study of Petrified Luxury in Early Modern Antwerp.pdf
    • full text
    • |
    • open access
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 4.18 MB

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Rijks, Marlise. “‘Unusual Excrescences of Nature’ : Collected Coral and the Study of Petrified Luxury in Seventeenth-century Antwerp.” DUTCH CROSSING-JOURNAL OF LOW COUNTRIES STUDIES 43.2 (2019): 127–156. Print.
APA
Rijks, M. (2019). “Unusual excrescences of nature” : collected coral and the study of petrified luxury in seventeenth-century Antwerp. DUTCH CROSSING-JOURNAL OF LOW COUNTRIES STUDIES, 43(2), 127–156.
Chicago author-date
Rijks, Marlise. 2019. “‘Unusual Excrescences of Nature’ : Collected Coral and the Study of Petrified Luxury in Seventeenth-century Antwerp.” Dutch Crossing-journal of Low Countries Studies 43 (2): 127–156.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Rijks, Marlise. 2019. “‘Unusual Excrescences of Nature’ : Collected Coral and the Study of Petrified Luxury in Seventeenth-century Antwerp.” Dutch Crossing-journal of Low Countries Studies 43 (2): 127–156.
Vancouver
1.
Rijks M. “Unusual excrescences of nature” : collected coral and the study of petrified luxury in seventeenth-century Antwerp. DUTCH CROSSING-JOURNAL OF LOW COUNTRIES STUDIES. 2019;43(2):127–56.
IEEE
[1]
M. Rijks, “’Unusual excrescences of nature’ : collected coral and the study of petrified luxury in seventeenth-century Antwerp,” DUTCH CROSSING-JOURNAL OF LOW COUNTRIES STUDIES, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 127–156, 2019.
@article{7036825,
  abstract     = {Many seventeenth-century Antwerp collections contained red coral, both natural and crafted. Also, coral was a pictorial motif depicted by Antwerp artists on mythological scenes, still lifes, paintings of collector’s cabinets, and allegories. This paper provides a ‘biography of coral’ in early seventeenth-century Antwerp to explain the interest in this naturalia. It argues that the interest in coral resulted from the fascination with metamorphoses – in particular the process of petrifaction, which highly interested naturalists, but also had artisanal, mythological, and religious connotations. Antwerp painters, engravers, gold- and silversmiths, jewellers, apothecaries, and collectors were knowledgeable about coral in different ways. Added up, their stories explain the multi-layered meaning of coral that was intrinsic to the value attached to this ‘unusual excrescence of nature’. Coral was indeed many things at the same time: a commodity crafted into jewellery and artefacts, a popular collectable in its natural shape, a motif for Antwerp painters, an essential commodity in the European-Indian trade network, a naturalia associated with classical mythology, a substance associated with the Blood of Christ, and a problematic naturalia that raised questions about classification, origins and natural processes.},
  author       = {Rijks, Marlise},
  issn         = {0309-6564},
  journal      = {DUTCH CROSSING-JOURNAL OF LOW COUNTRIES STUDIES},
  keywords     = {collections,Coral,Antwerp,artist and artisans,art,metamorphosis,petrification,seventeenth century},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {127--156},
  title        = {‘Unusual excrescences of nature’ : collected coral and the study of petrified luxury in seventeenth-century Antwerp},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03096564.2017.1299931},
  volume       = {43},
  year         = {2019},
}

Altmetric
View in Altmetric
Web of Science
Times cited: