Cécile Fromont

Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
American Academy in Rome Post-Doctoral Rome Prize
Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, University of Chicago
Images on a Mission: Cross-Cultural Encounters and Visual Mediation in Early Modern Kongo and Angola

This project, centered on an unpublished illustrated manuscript, analyzes early modern Italian Capuchin images of nature, culture, and catechization in Kongo and Angola, and probes the visual and intellectual interactions that led to their creation. It tackles fundamental questions about the creation and communication of cross-cultural, secular and religious epistemologies, the relationship between Europeans and Africans in the early modern era, and the possibility to identify and analyze the indigenous dimension of European eyewitness accounts of faraway lands. Examining the role of images and image-making in the creation and transmission of knowledge across cultures in seventeenth and eighteenth century Kongo and Angola this project not only enriches our understanding of global encounters and interactions but also sheds long overdue light on the visual, material, and religious cultures of Africa before the colonial era and their role in the formation of the early modern world.

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