Tristan Weddigen will be coming to speak in the Seminar in Cultural History Tuesday, February 8, 2010, on “The Warp and Weft of History: Raphael and Le Brun Reflecting on the Textile Medium.”

Tristan Weddigen is Professor for the History of Early Modern Art at the University of Zurich. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the Technische Universität, Berlin. He has taught as the University of Lausanne and the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland, and has been Visiting Lecturer at the Technische Universität, Dresden, the Freie Universität, Berlin, and the La Sapienza in Rome. Dr. Weddigen has been the recipient of a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship (2004-6) and Getty Research Institute Scholarship (2009). He is currently the project leader for the Universität Zürich research initiative “An Iconology of the Textile in Art and Architecture,” sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2008-2012) and the European Research Council (2009-2013).

Dr. Weddigen is the author of Raffaels Papageienzimmer: Ritual, Raumfunktionen und Dekorationen im Vatikanpalast der Renaissance (2006), a study of Raphael’s Parrot Room at the Vatican Palace. He is also the editor of The Textile Medium in Early Modern Art (2010), Metatextile: Identity and History of a Contemporary Art Medium (2010) and joint editor of Zweite Haut. Zur Kulturgeschichte der Kleidung (2009) and Science & Fiction. Imagination und Realität des Weltraums (2009).

Dr. Weddigen’s talk is entitled, “The Warp and Weft of History: Raphael and Le Brun Reflecting on the Textile Medium.” In early modern Europe, figurative tapestries were amongst the most expensive and valued works of fine art. Unfortunately, this importance is not mirrored in art theory in those times. So, what do tapestries say visually about themselves? Did early modern artists reflect on the textile medium, as they did on painting, sculpture, and architecture? This paper investigates some aspects of the early modern discourse of the textile image. It focuses on Charles Le Brun’s famous Histoire du Roi and on its great model, Raphael’s Acts of the Apostles for the Sistine Chapel. The paper shows how Le Brun’s tapestries reveal the functions and the status of their own medium in relation to the paradigm of painting. Finally, it embeds the production of the Gobelins in the cultural policy of Louis XIV and shows how the tapestries form the warp and weft of the Sun King’s history.

Please RSVP and join us in the Lecture Hall at 38 West 86th Street, between Columbus Ave and Central Park West, at 5:45pm for a reception before the talk.