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The Roberta and Richard Huber Colloquium with Giulio Dalvit
In 1571, a full-length bronze statue of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, Third Duke of Alba and governor of the Netherlands, disparagingly nicknamed “the Butcher of Flanders”, was erected in Antwerp. It was met with criticism, both on the part of the Spanish and the local population. Cast by Jacques Jonghelinck with molten bronze from the cannons of Louis of Nassau’s troops during the battle of Jemmingen (1568), the statue was taken down by Alba’s successor as governor, Luis de Requesens, in 1574. The subject of many prints, poems, and essays spanning from the eulogistic to the satirical, the monument was long said to have been torn to pieces by the populace after the fall of the citadel in 1577. In fact, the statue was likely hidden and later re-cast into new cannons by the Spanish themselves. Often called a “memoria” of the Duke, the now-lost monument survives in our memory only through proxies – chief among them, the bronze bust of the Duke now at the Frick Collection in New York. Outlining the history of the monument, its destruction, and its afterlives, this paper seeks to investigate the peculiarities of bronze as a fabric of memory. Now part of a museum display, Jonghelinck’s bust is a complex work: a familial keepsake, an object of unparallel artistic virtuosity, and (a reminder of) a public monument, it encourages nuanced thinking, asking questions as to the role of sculpture within and without the museum context.

May 10, 2022 06:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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