Natalie Zemon Davis Memorial Lectures 2024: Dürer’s Dress - Subject and Object in the Renaissance

February 16, 2024

The Departments of History and Medieval Studies are pleased to announce that this year’s Natalie Zemon Davies Memorial Lectures (formerly the Natalie Zemon Davis Lectures) will be given by Ulinka Rublack, Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Cambridge. Prof. Rublack will talk on Dürer’s Dress: Subject and Object in the Renaissance. The first of these lectures will be held at the Albertina in central Vienna, and the subsequent lecture and roundtable at CEU’s Quellenstrasse campus. 


Albrecht Dürer lived at a time when consumption was accelerating throughout society; the demand for clothing increased, and fashion expressed identities. Yet, as Natalie Davis has shown, things and people were connected in specific ways in the sixteenth century. Cloth and clothing were integral to many exchanges in everyday life, which meant that they carried expectations of loyalty, created communities, or became significant to those who sought to challenge social obligations. This deep connection of dress to social life explains why it had psychic relevance, shaping inner lives and the imagination.


Rublack´s lectures explore how the connection between objects and affects manifested itself in Dürer's art and life. They focus on the surprising evidence for outerwear. Outerwear, she argues, functioned as a material threshold between the Renaissance man and society. This manifested itself in Dürer's career in curious as well as typical ways, and at the end of his life his treatment of outerwear highlights some of his greatest achievements in challenging convention and imagining new roles for the artist in society.


Ulrink Rublack

Ulinka Rublack was born in Tübingen in 1967 and discovered the work of Natalie Davis while studying history, art history and sociology in Hamburg and Cambridge. She completed her doctorate at Cambridge and has been a lecturer in Cambridge History since 1996. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017. In 2018, the Humboldt and Thyssen Foundations jointly awarded her a lifetime achievement award for outstanding research and the promotion of academic exchange, the Reimar Lüst Prize. In 2019, her work as a historian and her book The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler's Defence of His Mother were recognized with Germany's most prestigious award for historians, the Deutscher Historikerpreis. Rublack has published widely on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century culture and on methodological issues. Her books have been translated into six languages, including Arabic and Chinese, and her book on Johannes and Katharina Kepler has inspired a novel, a film and a new monument to Katharina. Rublack's latest book is Dürer's Lost Masterpiece: Art and Society at the Dawn of a Global World (2023); out in German as Dürer in der Zeit der Wunder: Kunst und Gesellschaft an der Schwelle zu einer globalen Welt (2024). 


The Natalie Zemon David Memorial Lectures 2024

Dürer, Outerwear and the Politics of Recognition

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

18:00, Hall of Audience, Albertina Museum


Renaissance Dress and Social Change

Thursday, March 14, 2024

17:40, CEU Auditorium, Quellenstrasse 51


Roundtable in Memoriam of Natalie Zemon Davis

Monday, March 18, 2024

17:40, CEU Auditorium, Quellenstrasse 51


To register for in person or online attendance, please click here