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Harvey Miller
M. Viljoen, M. Martin, N. Dubin
Meltdown! Picturing the World’s First Bubble Economy

approx. 250 p., 120 colour ill., 300 x 240 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-912554-51-5
Languages: English
HardbackHardback
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (10/2020)
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This book focuses on the depiction of the first international financial crisis following the 1720 collapse of stock market bubbles in England, France and the Netherlands.

The international crash of 1720 long served as a touchstone for behavioral economists who perceive it as a gateway to the boom-and-bust cycles of the modern world. Perhaps not surprisingly, art history has contributed relatively little to our understanding of the significance of 1720. This book aims to redress this imbalance via a focus on the depiction of the first international financial crisis following the 1720 collapse of stock market bubbles in England, France, and the Netherlands. Its most important visual source, Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid (‘The Great Mirror of Folly’), is a series of approximately seventy-five bawdy, tragicomic engravings satirizing the crisis and its catastrophic effects. The visual sources of the series are also explored, including prints related to the earlier ‘tulip mania’ bubble, as well as related materials including propaganda and satirical pamphlets, letters, coins, and paper currency. Key themes or motifs that recur in the Tafereel prints, include the New World and colonial trade; mass illness; paper and its association with insubstantiality, illusion and trickery; debauchery; and the carnivalesque.

Nina Dubin is an associate professor in the Department of Art History and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of French and Francophone Studies. A specialist in European art since 1700, she has written broadly on the production of art within an early modern culture of risk.

Meredith Martin is an associate professor of Art History in the Department of Art History, and Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. Dr. Martin’s research interests focus on notions of space in modernity—its esthetics, its class implications, and its gendered norms and contradictions.

Madeleine Viljoen oversees the Spencer Collection of manuscripts, fine illustrated books, and livres d'artistes as well as the Print Collection which now holds more than 200,000 prints in a broad range of media.

Interest Classification:
Fine Arts & Performing Arts
Art History (general)
Medieval art history

This publication is also distributed by: ISD, Marston
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