About Donal Hasset

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So far Donal Hasset has created 64 blog entries.

Ignacio Chuecas Saldías, “A Lamp in the Holy City”: Sephardic Exile, Family Ties and the Messianic Jerusalem. The Ladino Version of the Passover Haggadah, Venice (1624)

By |2023-06-01T14:58:28+00:00June 1st, 2023|Visual Reflections|

On Wednesday 11 November 1665, Venetian public notary Angelo Maria Piccino received the last will of “Signora Ester Senior consort of Signore Josef Senior, Hebrewess,” penned by herself in the form of a sealed testament and handed to him, in person, in the house of her usual residence in the Ghetto Vecchio of Venice. In this document, which begins with the declaration of faith, “In the name of Adonay, Lord of Hosts, in whom I firmly believe”, Ester alludes to the material losses and childlessness that had affected her marriage; the existence of an absent sister, for whom she professed great love; and a nephew, identified as Manuel Aboab, son of her deceased brother. Among the pious dispositions, she makes bequests to her sister, her nephew, a child she had raised whom she names as “Abranelo”, and some relatives residing in Livorno and Aleppo. She also asks her executor to pay for a lamp which, in her intention, was to burn for a whole year in the holy city of Jerusalem (Fig. 1). The text of the will reflects the [...]

Loredana Lorizzo, Perceiving Others. Representing the Different in Baroque Europe

By |2023-06-02T15:25:43+00:00May 31st, 2023|Visual Reflections|

The production of pictorial, sculptural and engraved portraits greatly fostered knowledge of the Other. Effigies of African natives, Moors, slaves, Turks and ambassadors from distant lands helped to entrench or change certain opinions, while reshaping the image of Europe itself, which has always been multicultural and host to a constant struggle between its self-perception as an uncorrupted unicum and the reality of vital and inevitable exchange with other cultures. Images of the Other also penetrated Baroque Europe due to the widespread diffusion of engravings: a phenomenon that can be analysed through a selection of case studies. One of the best known is the representation of Antonio Manuel, Marquis Ne Vunda, ambassador of King Alvaro II of the Congo. He arrived in Rome in 1608 and after his death was celebrated with engravings and a magnificent funeral monument with an outstanding polychrome marble portrait in Santa Maria Maggiore. Another example which has not entered the critical debate to such an extent is provided by Moulay Al-Rashid ibn Sharif, sultan of Morocco from 1666 to 1672. Known as the Great Tafiletta, his [...]

Emanuele Giusti, Johann Fischer von Erlach, the Mediterranean and Persepolis

By |2023-05-31T17:14:53+00:00May 31st, 2023|Visual Reflections|

Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach (1656-1723) is known as one of the most prominent representatives of European Baroque. His architectural work had a significant impact on the identity of imperial Vienna. However, Fischer von Erlach is also well-known for the Entwurff einer historischen Architectur. First published in 1721, the Entwurff consists of five books containing plates and descriptions in German and French. The scholarly literature on the Entwurff offers two major interpretations. The first sees the Entwurff as a repertoire of architectural examples to be perused by amateurs, while the second sees it as a history of architecture, more appealing to antiquarians, and the first of its kind in its universal reach. Arguably, Fischer himself intended the Entwurff to be seen as the former, stating in the preface that he wanted to: provide specimens of any sort of architecture to art amateurs, and new sources of inventions to those who are devoted to this activity, rather than instruct the savants. […] This is but a sketch; a show of different specimens of architecture. Nothing more should be seen in it. [...]

Katie Barclay, Legacies of Exile: The Stuarts in Rome

By |2023-03-26T19:49:23+00:00March 26th, 2023|Visual Reflections|

A portrait of Maria Clementina Sobieski (1702-1735) overlooks the left aisle of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It forms part of an elaborate monument to her memory, commissioned by Pope Clement XII, after her death in 1735, designed by Filippo Barigioni, with sculptures by Pietro Bracchi and a mosaic by Pietro Paulo Cristofari. Queen Clementina, the wife of James Francis Edward Stuart, the Jacobite claimant to the British throne and granddaughter of the Polish king John III Sobieski, had in the years before her death devoted her life to her faith, and especially the practice of charity, giving to the poor and serving them in hospitals. Her death, following a period of strict self-denial, including limited food, was treated as evidence of her saint-like existence and immediately capitalised on by the Church and her family. Clementina was presented as a model of piety, her status as queen marking her life the more remarkable while simultaneously affirming the power of the Church. Figure 1: Maria Clementina Sobieski Memorial, St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, CC 3.0 Kim Traynor. Clementina was a Jacobite queen. [...]

Philippe Bornet, The Mediterranean Space through South Indian Eyes, 1778–1786: Visual and Material Elements in the Varttamānappustakam

By |2023-03-26T19:40:38+00:00March 26th, 2023|Visual Reflections|

December 1779. Four men from distant Kerala are waiting for quarantine clearance in Genoa after sailing from Lisbon on a ship belonging to Swedish merchants. Some six years later, a letter was sent by one of these men from Lisbon to the Propaganda Fide in Rome, just before embarking on a boat, destination South India. After exposing details about the logistics of the planned travel, the letter was also referring to a ‘small collection of books costing about 6000 cruçades’, about to be transferred with its owner to South India. Who were these men and what were they doing in the Mediterranean? What can we learn from this case as to the circulation of material and visual goods between India and Europe in that period? And what were the books in that ‘small collection’? Figure 1: Last known letter of Kariyattil about his trip back to India, including a mention of a small collection of books worth of about 6000 cruçades that he took with him to India. The letter was sent to S. Borgia, secretary of the Propaganda Fide [...]

Giulia Iannuzzi, Early-Modern Luxury Timekeeping

By |2023-03-07T16:21:26+00:00March 6th, 2023|Visual Reflections|

An ivory diptych dial made soli deo gloria by Paulus Reinman (active 1575-1609) around 1600 in Nuremberg, at the time an important centre of manufacturing specialised in scientific instruments (Fig. 1). This pocket dial is part of a remarkable collection of objects for measuring and representing time, at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan (Italy). This type of dial is formed by two panels that fold flat when not in use, with a string between the inner surfaces casting a shadow. It was used to tell the time and, among other things, to regulate mechanical clocks. Clocks’ rapid technical development had in fact by no means caused the abandonment of gnomon-based methods, i.e., those systems, of which the sundial is the most well-known, that tell the time of the day by measuring the solar shadow cast by an object - the gnomon - on a flat surface. Figure 1. Paulus Reinman, ivory diptych dial, 1602, 11,3 x 9,2 cm. Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan (Italy), accession no. 4111. Photo courtesy of Poldi Pezzoli Museum, all rights reserved. In the invention of the [...]

Charlene Ellul, Extracting and Recording Paper Features: An AI Approach,

By |2023-02-27T14:24:51+00:00February 20th, 2023|Research in Progress|

There is no denying that the invention of paper was a major human accomplishment and a medium that had a profound impact on society. It turned the dissemination of information and record keeping into much easier tasks and thus had a great impact on human existence. Researchers often consult archival material for the written or drawn content to find answers for their research questions, but more often than not, paper as a material is disregarded. Paper itself, however, is a treasure trove of clues left behind by the mill manufacturer waiting to be investigated. Just like a burglar unintentionally leaves fingerprints behind, the mill manufacturer leaves behind watermarks, chain and laid lines produced by the moldmate. The thickness of the paper, appearance and material composition are also features that vary from one mill to another. While a watermark was incorporated intentionally to identify the manufacturer or the grade of paper, the other features were simply a result of the paper making process. Fortunately, advances in Artificial Intelligence technologies can aid in facilitating the “detective” work and identify the provenance of [...]

Simona Cenci, Petrucci’s books of Frottole: the metamorphosis of a musical genre at the dawn of the printing revolution.

By |2023-02-20T11:44:01+00:00February 20th, 2023|Research in Progress|

At the turn of the 16th century, Ottaviano Petrucci was granted by the Venetian Signoria a twenty-year privilege to print and sell polyphonic music. This privilege offered him not only the opportunity to improve and develop new printing techniques for polyphonic music but also the monopoly of the production and trade of this repertoire in Venice.   The printing of chant liturgical music was already widespread during the 15th century, but, due to the complications linked to the process of printing, and to the uncertainty of the market, polyphonic music was a new and mostly unexplored field. Before Petrucci, printed vocal music was produced by using intaglio printmaking techniques, such as woodcuts, or a combination of printmaking and typographic techniques for the music and the text, respectively. Petrucci was the first to attempt the use of movable characters for both components; he was able to enhance the aesthetic appearance and the accessibility of the scores by improving the superimposition effects, and his techniques established the predominant mise-en-page used for the transmission of this repertoire during the Renaissance.   Between 1503 [...]

Georgina Wilson, Water/marked

By |2022-12-22T13:45:41+00:00December 22nd, 2022|Visual Reflections|

One afternoon during the Paper in Motion symposium at the Arnamagnæan Institute, Copenhagen, our group of paper conservators, literary scholars, archivists, and digital humanists attempted to twist and clip small pieces of wire onto a mould to make a watermark. Having abandoned several more ambitious designs, I settled on a watermark in the shape of a boat: a half-moon shaped base, topped with a single sail. The wobbly result only vaguely captured some essence of boat-ness, but, as my freshly-made sheet of paper dried on a sheet of blue felt, I began to dwell on the aquatic connections between watermarks and the act of papermaking. It was by generating these interdisciplinary modes of thinking – in this case, moving between the material realities of papermaking, and the creative impulses of my own literary training – that the Paper in Motion workshop formed new connections between its participants’ differing areas of research. Figure 1                             Boat, watermark (Wilson, 2022) Where did the word watermark come from? In its first uses, a ‘water mark’ had nothing to do with paper at all, and [...]