HTC Forum: Stephanie Porras



Porras will present her new book, The First Viral Images: Maerten de Vos, Antwerp print and the early modern globe (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2023), which traces the complex production and reception histories of an illustrated book, a painting and an engraving, all made in Antwerp in the late sixteenth century, but copied by Venetian print publishers, Spanish and Latin American painters, Mughal miniaturists and by Filipino ivory carvers. Porras uses Internet virality as a critical framework for considering early modern artworks’ global mobility and replication, attending to the role of artistic labor, gatekeepers, infrastructures and social networks, in order to reassess art’s role in the uneven processes of globalization. In reconstructing the viral trajectories of select designs, Porras tests and contests several analytical models that have dominated art historical scholarship of the global early modern, putting pressure on art historical notions of copying and agency, context and viewership. 

The HTC Forum is made possible in part by the generosity of Thomas Beischer through the Lipstadt-Stieber Fund. 





Stephanie Porras is Professor of Art HIstory and Chair of the Newcomb Art Department at Tulane University in New Orleans. She is also serving as Reviews Editor for The Art Bulletin. In addition to the First Viral Images, she is the author of Pieter Bruegel’s Historical Imagination and Art of the Northern Renaissance: Courts, Commerce, Devotion. She is currently working on two further book projects. The first, co-edited with Stephen Campbell, is The Routledge Companion to the Global Renaissance, an edited volume of over forty object-centered essays; the second is a multimodal project with Aaron Hyman, the Dutch Americas: a co-taught hybrid humanities lab course and online digital repository, as well as a forthcoming edited volume of the Netherlands Yearbook for the History of Art, all investigating the West India Company’s role in shaping the visual and material cultures of the Atlantic world.  Her research, publications and teaching have been supported by grants and fellowships from the Renaissance Society of America, the College Art Association, the Association of Print Scholars, Historians of Netherlandish Art, the New York Public Library, the J. Paul Getty Foundation, the British Academy, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.