Ashley West

 Portrait of Ashley West

Ashley West

Assistant Professor
Tyler School of Art, Temple University Philadelphia


September 2012 – März 2013


The Other Northern Renaissance: Early German Print Culture and the Visual Translation of Knowledge

This book project lies at the intersection of print and media studies, art and humanism, the history of science and collecting. In its broadest sense, the project asks ‘how might we understand the artistic Renaissance in the North if we define it not simply through the lens of Albrecht Dürer of Nuremberg (1471-1528), but rather also through the achievements of his contemporary, the painter and printmaker Hans Burgkmair the Elder of Augsburg (1473-1531)?’ Unlike Dürer, Burgkmair did not write theoretical art treatises, nor was he interested in ancient classical texts, idealized human proportions, or studies in perspective. Rather, he demonstrated his learnedness and defined his area of expertise through an eclectic use of style and keen knowledge of material objects, including relics, ancient coins, and artifacts from Africa, India, and the New World. His engagement with antiquity was not theoretical, but either ornamental and superficial or marked by a ‘style-less style’ responding to a documentary, antiquarian impulse. The former was easily translated into other mediums as aspects of Renaissance design; the latter was readily replicable for use in different contexts as portable reusable ‘facts.’


Received a B.A. from Yale University (1993) as a Humanities major, magna cum laude. Followed with an M.A. in art history at the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art (1997), with the thesis, “The Umayyad Mosaics of the Great Mosque of Damascus: Spatial Logic and the Fashioning of a New Cultural Topography.” Completed the PhD in art history at the University of Pennsylvania (2006). Her dissertation “Hans Burgkmair the Elder (1473-1531) and the Visualization of Knowledge” won the Wolfgang Ratjen Preis from the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, München (2007). Research has been supported over the years as a Fulbright Fellow (2001-02); David E. Finley Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), Washington, DC (2003-06); Paul Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2006-07); and Chester Dale Fellow, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2007-08). Currently an Assistant Professor, Tenure-Track Presidential Appointment, at Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, teaching Northern Renaissance and Northern Baroque Art, as well as the History of Printmaking.


  • the technology of prints
  • models of authenticity and the language of impressions
  • early modern antiquarianism in the Holy Roman Empire
  • changing standards of evidence from the 15th -16th century
  • the rhetoric of style


Printed Relics and Reliquaries. The Image of Objectivity before the Age of Science (forthcoming).

Eloquence and Illegibility. The Failed Experiment of Early Etching? (forthcoming).

Art of the Book. The German Pastoral and Antiquarianism, in: Buchkulturen des deutschen Humanismus (1430-1530). Netzwerke und Kristallisationspunkte, hg. v. Anne Eusterschulte und Falk Eisermann, Leiden: Brill (forthcoming).

Between Artistry and Documentation. A Passage to India and the Problem of Representing New Global Encounters, in: Subject as Aporia in Early Modern Art, hg. v. Lorenzo Pericolo und Alexander Nagel, Aldershot: Ashgate 2010, S. 87-114.

The Exemplary Painting of Hans Burgkmair the Elder. History at the Munich Court of Wilhelm IV, in: Orthodoxies and Heterodoxies in Early Modern German Culture: Order and Creativity, 1550-1750, hg. v. Randolph Head und Daniel Christensen, Leiden: Brill 2007, S. 197-225.


Ashley West

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