Outside Looking In: Francisco de Holanda and the Margins of Renaissance Art


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Institute of Fine Arts


Art Historians have long counted Francisco de Holanda among the rare comtemporary primary sources regarding Michelangelo’s unwritten art theory, but few have examined Holanda’s work at length or on its own terms. In the 1530s and 1540’s, when he produced an extensive art-theoretical treatise and many score of drawings, Holanda was perched upon the margin of European artistic and cultural power; at the same time, the Portuguese king for whom he worked was a sovereign of decadent political and economic power. This uncertain status imbued Holanda’s work with a sense of anxiety and self-conciousness. His texts and images serve as a point of entry into questions about sixteenth-century modes of cross-cultural translation and apporpriation, artistic identity as a function of cultural identity, the reform of religious art in an increasingly interconnected world, and art as a defintive elelnt of humanity itself.