Jacopo de’ Barbari’s ‘View of Venice’ (1500): Image Vehicles Past and Present
By Kristin Love Huffman
Mediterranea: International Journal on the Transfer of Knowledge, Vol.4 (2019)
Abstract: This essay focuses on an iconic and ground-breaking woodcut – Jacopo de’ Barbari (c. 1460/70–1516) and Anton Kolb’s View of Venice (1500) – and an interactive museum installation that I first developed for Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. The exhibition uses the View as a point of departure for the development of multi-media displays about Early Modern Venice and the transfer of knowledge. Adopting Aby Warburg’s illustrative terminology, the essay extends understandings of the woodcut, namely its function as an ‘image vehicle’ and its invention and realization as a product of cultural pathways.
This concept, ‘pathways of culture’, also relates to the digital methods and visualized media used in the exhibition where their application advances a new methodology in art history, just as Aby Warburg did in the early twentieth century. And like Warburg who privileged visual imagery and traced its ideological transmission with his Mnemosyne Atlas (1924–1929), the curatorial team of the exhibition uses and systematizes original visualizations to drive the analyses of art, architectural and urban history in new and exciting ways.
Top Image: View of Venice, 1500.