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Mirrored Reflections: Spanish Iconoclasm in the New World and Its Reverberations in the Old

The Oak Room, Fellowship House
February 16, 2017
05:30 PM to 07:00 PM
Fully Booked
Director’s Office Public Lecture | Thomas B. F. Cummins, Harvard University

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses; half a century later, in the summer of 1566, the Protestant iconoclastic fervor of the Beeldenstorm gripped the Netherlands. Taking these two events as its point of departure, this talk will explore how images became a central manipulative element in the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and how America was in many ways the crucible. It will focus on one of the most famous texts about the Spanish in America: Bartolomé de las Casas’s Breuíssima relación de la destruycion de las Indias (1552) and subsequent editions with illustrations.

Thomas B. F. Cummins is the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of the History of Pre-Columbian and Colonial Art at Harvard University. Recent research interests include the analysis of early Ecuadorian ceramic figurines and the study of late Pre-Columbian systems of knowledge and representation, especially Inka, and their impact on the formation of sixteenth and seventeenth-century colonial artistic and social forms.