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EXOTIC LADY CONTINENTS IN ENGRAVING, TAPESTRY, AND TOWN HALL PEDIMENT OF THE NORTHERN RENAISSANCE
What were the key stages in the imagination of personified continents? At this CMRS Roundtable, Maryanne Cline Horowitz (Professor of History, Occidental College & UCLA-CMRS Associate) identifies sources for three distinct stages in the development of Renaissance and Baroque personifications of Africa, Asia, Europe, and America. In the 1570s three variants of an allegorical poem interpret the female personifications that appear on the title page of the first world atlas by Ortelius, and lady continents appear in Italian fresco. A century later, in a majestic set of four tapestries, Africa is personified as a male and America is no longer a cannibal. The matched set contributes to a vogue of continent personifications on elegant room furnishings. The personified geographic divisions of the world of commerce feature on a monumental sculptured pediment of the Amsterdam town hall—a forerunner of the sculpted programs on the Albert Memorial and on the former U.S. Customs House in New York City.