Shira Brisman will speak at the Seminar in Renaissance and Early Modern Material Culture on Wednesday, February 4, 2015. Her talk is entitled “Relay and Delay: Triumphal Processions in the Era of the Post.”

The production of the Triumphal Procession, a fictive parade envisioned over a sequence of more than a hundred woodblocks, relied on an efficient postal system to deliver communications between the project’s advisors, artists, and the sovereign who commissioned it, Maximilian I. Designs and directives traveled between collaborators in disparate locations and an emperor who was on the move. These correspondences offer patterns of connectivity, anxieties about security and delay, and evidence of the relationship between vision and realization. This talk will propose a method for reading letters—documents once in transit—alongside the images of the Triumphal Procession they aimed to produce. What emerges is several ways in which the concept of “mobility” might be attached to prints that depict motion, are comprised of separable parts, and contain visual triggers that mobilize the mind of the viewer to move beyond what is presented on the page.

Shira Brisman is an innovative scholar of early modern painting and print culture. She is assistant professor in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to this, she completed a two-year Mellon post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University in New York. A graduate of Yale University, Dr. Brisman, completed her Ph.D. dissertation on the topic, “Briefkultur: Art and the Epistolary Mode of Address in the Age of Albrecht Dürer” in 2012.

Her current research investigates the boundaries between privacy and society, patterns and aberrations, religious modes of thinking and categories of secularization. Her first book manuscript, Albrecht Dürer and the Epistolary Mode of Address, argues that the experience of writing, sending and receiving letters shaped how Dürer conceived of the message-bearing properties of the work of art. A second project, Contriving Balance, is a historical portrait of the concept of symmetry. This book will explore how the early modern mind sought correlations, imagined rotations, and interpreted deviations from expected patterns. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Albrecht Dürer Scholarship at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies.