Albrecht Dürer And The Epistolary Mode Of Address by Shira BrismanAlbrecht Dürer And The Epistolary Mode Of Address by Shira Brisman

Albrecht Dürer And The Epistolary Mode Of Address

byShira Brisman

Hardcover | January 20, 2017

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Art historians have long looked to letters to secure biographical details; clarify relationships between artists and patrons; and present artists as modern, self-aware individuals. This book takes a novel approach: focusing on Albrecht Dürer, Shira Brisman is the first to argue that the experience of writing, sending, and receiving letters shaped how he treated the work of art as an agent for communication.

In the early modern period, before the establishment of a reliable postal system, letters faced risks of interception and delay. During the Reformation, the printing press threatened to expose intimate exchanges and blur the line between public and private life. Exploring the complex travel patterns of sixteenth-century missives, Brisman explains how these issues of sending and receiving informed Dürer’s artistic practices. His success, she contends, was due in large part to his development of pictorial strategies—an epistolary mode of address—marked by a direct, intimate appeal to the viewer, an appeal that also acknowledged the distance and delay that defers the message before it can reach its recipient. As images, often in the form of prints, coursed through an open market, and artists lost direct control over the sale and reception of their work, Germany’s chief printmaker navigated the new terrain by creating in his images a balance between legibility and concealment, intimacy and public address.
Shira Brisman is assistant professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Title:Albrecht Dürer And The Epistolary Mode Of AddressFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.9 inPublished:January 20, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022635475X

ISBN - 13:9780226354750

Table of Contents


Part 1: Composing

Chapter 1: The Body of a Letter

Part 2: Sending

Chapter 2: The Message in Transit
Chapter 3: Relay and Delay

Part 3: Receiving

Chapter 4: Privileged Mediators
Chapter 5: Interception
Chapter 6: Dürer’s Open Letter

Editorial Reviews

"This intriguing and ambitious book seeks to make a major contribution to the field by proposing the existence and importance of an 'epistolary mode of artistic address,' which Dürer 'played a large role in advancing'."