Margit Thøfner 1
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  • 1 University of East Anglia
Framing the Enemy
Gaspard Bouttats’s Collage Portraits for Prudencio de Sandoval’s Historia de la vida y hechos del Emperador Carlos V in the Whitworth Collection
in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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This article is about how one approaches images that are both disjunctive and disjointed. It studies a set of nineteen images by the Flemish printmaker Gaspard Bouttats, focusing on four specific examples. The nineteen prints are now in the Whitworth Gallery but come without any provenance beyond the signature of their maker. Hitherto, they have not been studied in detail, but were in fact made for a book, Prudencio de Sandoval’s Historia de la vida y hechos del Emperador Carlos V, published in Antwerp in 1681 by Hieronymus Verdussen III. However, the prints now take the form of a set of loose sheets. Accordingly, the core argument rests on the fact that it is not helpful to study Bouttats’s prints in the context of de Sandoval’s book because this fails to account properly for their composite nature, their current state and their virtually limitless potential for circulation. The main contention is that such prints are best understood as collages. Therefore, they are viewed here through the lens of emerging scholarly literature on medieval and early modern texts and images that also fall into this category.

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