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Utopia/Dystopia: European Images and Representations of the “New World” Edward Hicks (1780-1849), “The Peaceable Kingdom.” Westervelt-Warner Museum of.

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Presentation on theme: "Utopia/Dystopia: European Images and Representations of the “New World” Edward Hicks (1780-1849), “The Peaceable Kingdom.” Westervelt-Warner Museum of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Utopia/Dystopia: European Images and Representations of the “New World” Edward Hicks ( ), “The Peaceable Kingdom.” Westervelt-Warner Museum of American Art. Tuscaloosa, AL.

2 Discovery, Colonization, and the Written Word Intersection between writing—especially printing—and the representation, imagination, and conquest of the New World First printed book, the Gutenberg Bible, came only 30 years before Columbus landed in America Writing and other media of representation participated in the construction and thus the appropriation of America How do experiences fit into existing European world view? What hopes, expectations, and fears are being projected onto the New World?

3 America as Utopia/Dystopia What remedies does America offer to European maladies (overpopulation, moral disintegration, autocratic political structures)? How do American discoveries reflect on European society? What kind of template does America offer for the renewal or development of European society/culture/politics? What is the significance of travel to faraway/unknown lands: affirmation of self or challenge of self? Does America offer a threat or an opportunity to European society?

4 America and the Dreams (and Nightmares) of Western Civilization Insertion of America into Events and Predictions of Biblical History –The Creation Mono-genesis or poly-genesis of Native American peoples –The Earthly Paradise Is the Garden of Eden or Earthly Paradise still extant on Earth? –The New Jerusalem Will Christ rebuild Jerusalem on earth, possibly during his 1000-year rule (the Millennium)? –The Apocalypse and the Millennium Pre and Post-Millennialism

5 Visions of the Old World: Cartography MAPPING

6 Hartmann Schedel ( ), Liber Chronicarum Nuremberg: Anton Koberger,

7 The Liber Chronicarum or Nuremberg Chronicle is Schedel's illustrated history of the world from Genesis to Schedel uses this Ptolemaic style map to illustrate the second of the six ages of the world. The first age of the world began with the Creation, the second with Noah, the sixth with the birth of Christ. Here Noah's sons Shem, Japheth, and Ham display their inheritance: Asia, Europe, and Africa, respectively. Jerusalem is at the center of the known world, and the monsters that were described as inhabiting the outskirts of the world in medieval travel tales are depicted in the margins. Ptolemy's Geographia, which summed up nearly six centuries of Greek geographical knowledge, was written in the second century A.D. and then was virtually forgotten until its rediscovery in the fourteenth century. It was first printed in 1475 without maps. In 1477, only fifteen years before Columbus's first voyage, it was printed with maps similar to this one in Schedel's Chronicle. Though Schedel knew of Columbus's voyage, his map reflects Ptolemy's understanding of the world as three continents separated by a vast ocean from the west coast of Europe to the east coast of Asia.

8 Martin Waldseemüller’s Map of the World (1507)

9 Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 map documented and updated new geographic knowledge derived from the discoveries of the late fifteenth and the first years of the sixteenth centuries. Waldseemüller’s large world map included data gathered during Amerigo Vespucci’s voyages of 1501–1502 to the New World. Waldseemüller christened the new lands "America" in recognition of Vespucci ’s understanding that a new continent had been uncovered as a result of the voyages of Columbus and other explorers in the late fifteenth century.

10 Hernando Cortés, Praeclara Ferdinandi Cortesii de nova maris oceani Hyspania narratio... Nuremberg: F. Peypus, (attributed to Albrecht Dürer) (source: Jay I. Kislak Foundation, Cultural Readings: Colonization and Print in the Americas

11 Tenochtitlan was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521 Cortés built Mexico City on its ruins. Map shows the city before its destruction, with the principal Aztec temples in the main square, causeways connecting the city to the mainland, and an aqueduct supplying fresh water. Much of the information on this map must have come from Aztec sources - as did a great deal of the intelligence Cortés relied upon in his conquest. This map circulated in numerous histories of the New World. (CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas

12 Ambrosius Holbein, woodcut map of Utopia (1518).

13 Visions of the New World The People/The “Other” –Ancient Theories of Non-Western Peoples Roman scholar Pliny and his portrayal of monstrous races who inhabited the rim of the world (men with heads of dogs, men win their heads beneath their shoulders, men with one large foot under whose shade they rested in the desert sun)

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15 Ancient Theories of Non-Western Peoples Herodotus, History (425 B.C.) –Account of the Scythians, a people living on the northern shore of the Black Sea –Said to have taken possession of a “deserted land” far to the East –Later believed to be the ancestors of Native Americans –Scythians also said to have merged with the Amazons, which were searched for in the Americas

16 Ancient Theories of Non-Western Peoples “Barbarians” and Noble Savages –In ancient Greece, all non-Greek peoples, identified by their beards –Lower culture, religion, intellect, and social norms Tacitus’s Germania: praising Germans of Roman times as “noble savages”

17 Other Contexts of European Encounters with “Others” Reconquista and struggle against Moors Crusades Expulsion of the Jews from Spain Struggle against Ottoman Turks in Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe Colonization of Africa

18 “Sir John Mandeville,” Books of the Marvels of the World. Renaissance representations/im aginations:

19 America/Americans and the History of Christian Salvation (Eschatology) The “map” of Christian Europe did not include America Question: Was America and its inhabitants included in the Christian scheme of salvation? Did Indians have souls? Columbus: understanding himself as “Christoferens” or “Christ- bearer”: –Four Voyages: “Jerusalem and Mount Sion are to be rebuilt by the hand of a Christian; who this is to be, God declares by the mouth of His prophet... [Psalm 14:7]. Abbot Joachin said that hew was to come from Spain. St. Jerome showed the way of it to the holy lady. The emperor of Cathay [China], some time since, sent for wise men to instruct him in the faith of Christ. Who will offer himself for this work? If Our Lord bring me back to Spain, I pledge myself, in the name of God, to bring him there in safety.” –Ferdinand Columbus: his father as “Christ-bearer” who “carried the grace of the Holy Ghost to that New World... That the Indian nations might become dwellers in the triumphant Church of Heaven.”

20 America/Americans and the History of Christian Salvation (Eschatology) Thus: Columbus’s geography of salvation included the Indians because to him the West Indies were part of Eastern Asia and per consequence shared in the terrain of Christ’s earthly kingdom C. believed to have found the earthly paradise at the summit of a mountain in the Orinoco River Believed that there the globe was not spherical, but pear-shaped; he interpreted the river as “Gihon,” the second river of Paradise (Gen. 2;9-14) Four Voyages: all these features “are great indications of the earthly paradise” thus: in keeping with medieval tradition that God had removed the lost Paradise to India

21 America/Americans and the History of Christian Salvation (Eschatology) Jose de Acosta (Spanish Jesuit): The Natural and Moral History of the Indies (1604) –Satan had in former ages led several nations of Scythians to America over a land bridge in East Asia (now submerged) –They built temples to Satan in Mexico and other American regions –Here they remained out of the reach of Christianity until the arrival of Christian missionaries (such as himself…)

22 America/Americans and the History of Christian Salvation (Eschatology) Joseph Mede ( ) (English theologian) –America as the “seat of hell,” from which Satan's minions, Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:8- 9) would arise at the end of the millennium to encompass the Saints of the terrestrial New Jerusalem –The nations seated outside of the terrestrial seat of the “saints,” (hence, the Indians) would be “destroyed by fire from heaven”

23 America/Americans and the History of Christian Salvation (Eschatology) In defense of European settlement of America, other theologians (e.g. Cotton Mather) argued that it was indeed part of God’s plan to “wrest America out of the Hands of its old Land-lord, Satan, and give these utmost ends of the Earth to our Lord Jesus” Thus: Puritans and other Christian peoples settling in America could interpret their presence as a preparation of the Second Coming of Christ Puritan presence, therefore, was an “Errand into the Wilderness”

24 Columbus and the “Discovery” of America __________ Christopher Columbus, De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis. Bound with Carlo Verardi, In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis... Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

25 Christopher Columbus, De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis. Bound with Carlo Verardi, In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis... Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

26 Simon Grynaeus and Johann Huttich, Novis orbis regionum ac insularum veteribus incognitarum. Basle: Johann Hervagius, 1532 [detail from map].

27 Jean de Léry, Histoire d'un voyage fait en la terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique... Geneva: For the heirs of Eustache Vignon, 1594.

28 Jan van der Straet and Theodor Galle (engraving), America. Ca

29 The Tears of the Indians: Being an historical and true account of the cruel massacres and slaughters of above twenty millions of innocent people; committed by the Spaniards... London: J.C. for Nath. Brooke, 1656.

30 Visions of the New World Mythological Places and Societies –El Dorado: Legend began in the 1530s, in the Andes of present-day Colombia Conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada first found the Muisca Story of the Muisca rituals was brought to Quito by Sebastian de Belalcazar’s men Mixed with other rumors, arose the legend of El Dorado (meaning the “golden man,” rather than a place Ritual: king, chief, or priest of the Muisca was covered in gold and plunge into a mountain lake Legend turned from identification of a man to meaning a city, place, or state Gave rise to countless expeditions But: all actual conquests, especially the conquest of the Aztec empire by Cortes and the Inca empire by the Pizarro brothers, were informed by the search for mythical gold

31 Mythological Places and Societies Seven Cities of Cibola: Myth originated around the year 1150, when the Moors conquered the Spanish city of Merida According to legend, seven bishops fled the city, not only to save their lives but also to prevent the Muslims from obtaining sacred religious relics Years later, rumor circulated that that the bishops had founded seven cities of gold in a far away land With the discover and conquest of America, the seven cities were believed to lie in America, and many expeditions tried to discover them Thus: intersection of material quest and religious mission

32 Bibliography and Further Reading “Cultural Readings: Colonization & Print in the Americas.” University of Pennsylvania Libraries. August 20, Franklin, Wayne. Discoverers, Explorers, Settlers: The Diligent Writers of Early America. Chicago: U of Chicago P, Grafton, Anthony. New World, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery. Cambridge, MA: Beknap Press of Harvard UP, Greenblatt, Stephen. Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World. Chicago: U of Chicago P, New World Encounters. Berkeley: U of California P, Hemming, John. The Search for El Dorado. New York: E. P. Dutton, Sale, Kirkpatrick. The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy. New York: Plume, Sanders, Ronald. Lost Tribes and Promised Lands: The Origins of American Racism. Boston: Little, Brown, 1978.


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