Rubens in a New World: The Role of Flemish Prints in the Transatlantic Spanish Empire


I traveled to Cuzco, Peru to perform preliminary research for my dissertation, entitled “Rubens in a New World: Print, Authorship and the Slavish Copy.” In the early modern period, Flemish prints flooded the Spanish colonies of the New World. Latin American churches and museums are filled with paintings that are copied from European prints. My dissertation explores the way that compositions by Peter Paul Rubens, the famed Flemish painter and Catholic propagandist, were received and reconfigured in the Spanish colonies. I use this transatlantic frame to reassess the terms through which early modern authorship has been understood: originality, invention, replication, and the slavish copy. The print was received differently and unleashed new paradigms of authorship in different parts of the New World. Prints include extensive information about their authors, patrons, and places of production along their bottom edge. But when the print entered different cultural contexts, with different artistic landscapes, this information could be understood differently. European paradigms of authorship could be reconfigured or forgotten altogether. 

Aaron Hyman
Publication date: 
September 24, 2013
Publication type: 
Student Research