On Magic, Time and Exchange: The Arts of Sophia of Mecklenburg-Güstrow and Anna of Denmark-Norway

Thøfner, Margit (2020). On Magic, Time and Exchange: The Arts of Sophia of Mecklenburg-Güstrow and Anna of Denmark-Norway. Art History, 43(2) pp. 384–411.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8365.12501

Abstract

This essay has two distinct if closely entwined threads. The first takes its cue from a pair of earrings commissioned by Anna of Denmark-Norway, Queen of Scotland and England. These are situated within certain dynastic traditions of patronage that Anna acquired primarily from her mother, Sophia of Mecklenburg-Güstrow. The second thread is more about method; it advocates the art-historical utility of magical thinking. Such thinking is helpful because it comes with a productive and transgressive fluidity that makes it easier to incorporate equally fluid dimensions such as time and space into art-historical enquiry. Consequently, it becomes easier to understand what works of art actually do, how they operate by means of transformation. So magical thinking is particularly pertinent to this issue of 'Art History', focused, as it is, on the polity of Denmark with its considerable history of fluidity and longevity.

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