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Masterclass – ‘Interpreting Early Modern Portraits’ with Prof. Harry Berger – CANCELED

NB: Due to circumstances this event has been canceled

Date: 8 May 2018
Time: 12.00-14.00
Venue: Bushuis, room E1.14C (Kloveniersburgwal 48 Amsterdam)
Open to: Research master students and PhD candidates
Credits: 1 ECTS
Registration: send an email to Ben Moore, University of Amsterdam ( Readings will be provided to registered attendees.


How do we define portraits and distinguish them from other genres? In this session, Harry Berger will discuss nine ‘portrait premises’ that help us identify the specific characteristics of the images we call portraits. There will be a particular focus on early modern painting, including Rembrandt’s self-portraits. The masterclass is based on research from Prof Berger’s forthcoming book Canon Fodder: New Studies in European Poetry, Fiction, Drama, and Painting and is followed at 15.30 by a lecture on Rembrandt and Shakespeare (held in the VOC-zaal), in collaboration with the Amsterdam Centre for the Study of the Golden Age.

Graduate students and PhDs attending the masterclass should read the supporting texts in advance and prepare comments or questions arising from their readings.

Guest speaker details

Harry Berger is Professor Emeritus of Literature and Art History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work on Renaissance and Baroque literature and art history is extensive and wide ranging, covering topics such as Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, Dutch still-life painting, Plato, and critical theory. Among his most recent books are Harrying: Skills of Offense in Shakespeare’s Henriad (2015), The Perils of Uglytown:  Structural Misanthropology in Plato’s Republic (2015) and Caterpillage: Reflections on 17th Century Dutch Still Life Painting (2011). For more details see