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Those First Flowers of the Americas: Cafà, Bernini, and 'Soft Sculpture' at the Crossroads | Shawon Kinew

Monday, October 16, 2017 -
5:30pm to 7:00pm
Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building


The Department of Art & Art History presents Those first flowers of the Americas: Cafà, Bernini, and ‘soft sculpture’ at the crossroads, a lecture by Shawon Kinew. 

In 1670, a sculpture of Rose of Lima carved of Carrara marble —weighing approximately 1.6 tons— was shipped from Rome, traversing a sea, an ocean, an isthmus, and cruising along the Pacific coast, before finally landing in Lima, Peru. Carved by Melchiorre Cafà in the beautiful “soft style” of Roman Baroque art, the sculpture is a tender rendering of the first saint born in the Americas, Rose of Lima, asleep and tended to by a boy-angel. It has long confounded scholars. Is she dead or alive? Was it a missile of colonization launched into the Americas? This close reading of Cafà’s 1665 Rose of Lima and an angel seeks to reconcile the roles of beauty and terror, metaphor and truth, eloquence and power in monumental sculpture.

Shawon Kinew is an art historian of early modern painting and sculpture and a current member of the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities at Stanford University. She has held residential fellowships at the Getty Research Institute and from the Kress Foundation at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History. She received her PhD in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University in 2016.

Image: Melchiorre Cafà, Rose of Lima and an angel (detail), 1665, photograph by Shawon Kinew.

VISITOR INFORMATION: Oshman Hall is located in the McMurtry Building on Stanford’s campus, at 355 Roth Way. Visitor parking is free after 4pm on weekdays, except by the oval. Alternatively, take the Caltrain to Palo Alto Transit Center and hop on the free Stanford Marguerite Shuttle.

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