Barbara Karl will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Monday, October 6, 2014, from 12 to 1:30pm. Her talk is entitled “Rarity-Booty-Furnishing: Textiles from the Islamic World and Habsburg Collecting (16th to 18th Century).”

Karl’s talk at the BGC will be about two intertwined research foci: material exchange between East and West during the early modern period and the history of collecting and reception of exotic objects in Europe, especially imperial Habsburg collecting. The “red thread” of the talk will be the history of Habsburg collecting during the 16th and 17th centuries, and the different types of collected objects (for example, Bengal embroideries, mother-of-pearl-chests, and weapons) and the places of collecting will be woven into this narrative. The second part of the talk—related to the first—is a case study of two Ottoman silk flags that were captured upon and after the siege of Vienna in 1683. As spoils of war, they were subsequently involved in the courtly games of protocol and vanities.

Barbarba Karl is Curator of Textiles and Carpets at the MAK-Museum für angewandte Kunst/Gegenwartskunst in Vienna. She will be a Research Fellow at Bard Graduate Center from October to November 2014. Karl studied art history and languages at the University of Innsbruck, Universidade Nova of Lisbon, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and the University of Vienna from where she received her Ph.D. in 2004 on the topic of Indian textile production for the Portuguese market during the 16th and 17th centuries. She held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa where she undertook a project on Medici collecting of objects from the Islamic world. From 2008 to 2010, she was a researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences with a project that resulted in the book Treasury-Kunstkammer-Museum: Objects from the Islamic World in the Museum Collections of Vienna (Vienna: Verl. d. österr. Akademie d. Wissenschaften, 2011). Since 2010, Karl has curated smaller exhibitions on fashion accessories, Chinese textiles, and in 2014 the reinstallation of the world famous carpet collection. She has published articles on the networks of artistic exchange between East and West during the early modern period, including Italian merchants as mediators of Indian art, Indian export textiles and mother-of-pearl items, Ottoman flags as booty items in Vienna, and Ottoman saddle covers in the Ambras Kunstkammer. While in residence at the BGC, Karl will continue to work on projects focusing on the history of collecting carpets and Indian chintz beds at the imperial Habsburg court in Vienna during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Coffee and tea will be served; attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.

RSVP is required.