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Art History & Visual Material Culture webinar - WEIXUAN LI (UvA): "Spatial Reading of Inventories: Producing and displaying arts in seventeenth-century Amsterdam"

When:We 10-02-2021 17:15 - 18:30

Weixuan Li, University of Amsterdam
‘Spatial Reading of Inventories: Producing and displaying arts in seventeenth-century Amsterdam’


Where were paintings made, sold, and hung in seventeenth-century Amsterdam? This research revisits this familiar topic with a new approach to using probate inventories. It draws upon the spatial indications mentioned in hundreds of inventories together with extant building floor plans and develops a typology of house interiors in the seventeenth century. This typology enables a spatial reading of the inventories and reconstructs the use of space behind the closed door. In this talk, Weixuan Li will apply her spatial reading to the inventories of fifty painters and art dealers to investigate practices of early modern art trade. She will locate painting workshops and shops in their original place and analyse the functions of space inside their houses. Finally, she will look into a large number of houses of ordinary burghers and examine the patterns of painting display across various social strata.

About the speaker

Weixuan Li is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam and Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands. Her doctoral research is part of the NWO-funded research project Virtual Interiors as Interfaces for Big Historical Data. Her dissertation focuses on comprehending the relationship between the urban fabric and artists’ location choices within the city as well as their use of interior space. Combining her training in digital methods at MIT and art history at the University of Amsterdam, she uses computational tools to analyze archival sources and to visualize the development of the art market from a spatial perspective.