The Art Museum of West Virginia University and The Friends of the Museum announce the next “Art Up Close!” event of the spring semester, which focuses on individual works of art from the museum collection.

The April 8 presentation will feature WVU alumnus Michael Slaven discussing an early modern print produced by Heironymus Cock’s print shop and attributed to Heironymus Bosch.

Titled “The World Turned Upside Down: Early Modern Carnivalesque Inversions in Heironymus Cock’s Temptation of Saint Anthony,” the lecture will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Museum Education Center (formerly the Erickson Alumni Center) adjacent to the WVU Creative Arts Center. All the events are free and open to the public.

The print to be examined, “The Temptation of Saint Anthony” (1561) is rich with imagery that slyly subverts the usual social boundaries that held the sacred from the profane, that separated high and low culture, and that kept violence and order in their respective places.

According to Slaven, this is a strategy that is also found in the early modern carnival, where kings and servants reversed roles, when saints and sinners jostled together, where all the boundaries of ordinary life blurred, dissolved, and were later reinvented. The “world turned upside down” in carnivalesque disorder created an outlet for criticism and even the expression of revolutionary sentiments.

Slaven received his doctorate from WVU in 1993 and is currently professor of European Cultural and Social History and chair-elect of the Department of History and Political Science at California University of Pennsylvania.

He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a member of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Committee for WVU, and also teaches a summer course at WVU entitled “Print, Propaganda, and Art” in the School of Art and Design.

His areas of expertise include propaganda, printed imagery, 17th-century France, Early Modern Europe, art, and critical theory.

His recent publications include “Relational Art and the Appropriation of the Public Sphere,” in the International Journal of Arts and Sciences, which is an examination of Habermas’ idea of the communicative public sphere in the Relational Art movement.

He has recently presented papers at national and international academic conferences in Toronto, Philadelphia, Miami and Greensboro, N.C.

His research has included: an examination of French cultural critic Nicolas Bourriaud’s concept of postproduction; the role of the bourgeois public sphere in the Relational Art movement; the role of carnival and festival in revolts in 17th-century France; and political pamphlets published during the regency of King Louis XIV.

The Art Up Close! presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session and light refreshments. Audience members will have the opportunity to view the actual work of art.

For more information, contact the Art Museum of WVU at (304) 293-2141 or see the website at:



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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