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"The Legible Image: Translating Pictorial Knowledge in Early Colonial Mexico" | Daniela Bleichmar

What were the meanings and possibilities of drawing in Mexico City shortly after the conquest? This talk will examine the manufacture of the Codex Mendozaa pictorial manuscript about Aztec history and life created in Mexico City around 1542, in order to investigate the ways in which images and words from both European and American traditions worked to produce and communicate knowledge in this cross-cultural context. Combining elements from both Mesoamerican and European bookmaking traditions, the Codex Mendoza was a new type of colonial object created through multiple translations and interpretations: from image into word, from Nahuatl into Spanish, from oral narrative into written language, and from indigenous traditions into colonial interpretations. Nahuas and Spaniards collaborated to produce this manuscript book while holding very different understandings about the meaning and epistemic possibilities of images and of their relationship to words. 
Daniela Bleichmar is Associate Professor of Art History and History at the University of Southern California, where she also serves as Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Initiatives in the Arts and Humanities. Her research and teaching address the history of visual culture, material culture, and science in the early modern Hispanic world, focusing particularly on knowledge production, cultural contact and exchange, collecting, and the history of the book.
Her publications include the books Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (2012) and Visual VoyagesImages of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin (forthcoming in 2017)Her current book project is entitled Painted BooksMexican Codices and Transatlantic Knowledge in the Early Modern World.
Image: Codex Mendoza, ca. 1542. Bodleian Library, Oxford University
VISITOR INFORMATION: Oshman Hall is located in the McMurtry Building, located at 355 Roth Way on Stanford campus. Parking is free after 4 PM weekdays. Entry is free of charge and open to the public - all are encouraged to attend!
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017. 05:30 PM


Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building, 355 Roth Way


Department of Art & Art History




Free and open to the public