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Engraving the Savage demonstrates that the early visual critics of the engravings attempted to open a comfortable space between their own "civil" image-making practices and the "savage" practices of Native Americans. The real significance of these ethnographic engravings, he contends, lies in the traces they leave of a struggle to create meaning from the image of the American Indian. The visual culture of engraving and what it shows, Gaudio reasons, is critical to grasping how America was first understood in the European imagination. His interpretations of de Bry's engravings describe a deeply ambivalent pictorial space in between civil and savage-a space in which these two organizing concepts of Western culture are revealed in their making.
About the Author:
Michael Gaudio is assistant professor of art history at the University of Minnesota