Early Modern Alchemy: Heinrich Khunrath’s "Amphitheater of Eternal Knowledge"

“While these Discontents continued, severall Letters past between Queene Elizabeth and Doctor Dee, whereby perhaps he might promise to returne; At length it so fell out, that he left Trebona and took his Iourney for England. The ninth of Aprill he came to Breame… Here that famous Hermetique Philosopher, Dr Henricus Khunrath of Hamburgh came […]

A Renaissance Merchant’s Life in Clothing

I’ve just finished reading Ulinka Rublack’s Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe (Oxford, 2010) and came away from it with a newfound appreciation for how truly odd early modern clothing was — and how important these clothes were in people’s daily lives. Rublack, a Cambridge history professor, is very shrewd in noting that obsolete sartorial choices like […]

Image of the Week: The Defeat of the Spanish Armada

This painting, by an anonymous English artist, depicts in remarkable detail the Spanish Armada‘s confrontation with English vessels, probably at the momentous Battle of Gravelines. From Wikipedia:          English losses stood at 50-100 dead and 400 wounded, and none of their ships had been sunk. But after the victory, typhus, dysentery and hunger killed many […]

Image of the Week 4: Elizabethan Shipwreck "Poesy Ring"

I recently came across this image while browsing through the website for an exhibition entitled “Lost at Sea: the Ocean in the English Imagination, 1550-1750” that is currently being held at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. This artifact is one of those things that makes me love history — an object infused with […]

Europeans as ‘Other,’ Redux [February 2011 update]

A post today inspired by last week’s post on early modern Japanese and Chinese depictions of Europeans. Thinking about that led me to look more closely at an image I’ve had filed away for awhile — a remarkable example of sixteenth century Japanese Nanban (‘Southern Barbarian’) art depicting a group of Portuguese merchants at a […]