Appels à communication : dix nouvelles sessions en histoire de l’art au Congrès de la Renaissance Society of America (Chicago, 30 mars-1er avril 2017)

  • End date:
    04/06/2016, 00:00

Appel à communication pour les sessions suivantes :

[1] Collecting and the Peripheries / The Collection as Laboratory
[2] Papal Triumphs in Texts and Images
[3] Eternal Painting? The Meaning and Materiality of Copper Supports
[4] Rethinking the Myth of Venice. The Many Identities of Venice in the Early Renaissance
[5] Antiquity and the Visual Arts in Renaissance Italy
[6] Art and Conflicting, Overlapping, and Shifting forms of Agency
[7] Architecture and the Environment
[8] Transcendence, Figuration, Modernity: On Theology and the Arts in the Renaissance
[9] The Historiography of Early Modern Architecture
[10] Urban Studies beyond the Aestheticized Object

Collecting and the Peripheries / The Collection as Laboratory

Contributor: Adriana Turpin

When scholars of the early modern period started to focus on (princely) collections in the 1980s, they often concentrated on Italy as the epicentre of cultural development and progress. The courts of Florence, Rome, Urbino or Ferrara were regarded as hubs of collecting, while the rest of Europe either seemed not to care very much (England and Spain) or was too poor and uncivilised (large parts of Germany and Eastern Europe) to follow the Italian example. Even though recent studies have started to investigate collections built and displayed in the peripheries, much of the research conducted these days still underwrites a supposed Italian supremacy. Nonetheless, we know that even a place such as Florence picked up fashions in collecting, in palace building and in interior architecture from other courts north and south of the Alps as well as from the East and West. A main issue to be investigated is, therefore, that of hubs and peripheries and whether any such division has ever been as clear-cut as has long been assumed.
Another issue is the question of models and trendsetters. In particular, the multi-cultural Holy Roman Empire, bringing together traditions from Burgundy, Spain and from the Austrian Habsburg territories among others, offers a multitude of collections, examples of multinational collectibles, as well as some of the earliest theoretical writings on the subject. Nevertheless, when collections from the empire are discussed, as happens more often now, they are usually compared to other examples from the North of Europe or seen as second-rate followers of the fashions at Italian courts.
Rather than continuing a traditional view of Europe separated into cultural donors and receivers, we expect to renegotiate long-standing certainties. Therefore, we invite proposals of 150 words that focus on clusters or networks of exchange, favour a multinational, multiconfessional and multidisciplinary approach to the rise and development of early modern collections and seek to establish new ways of defining models and trendsetters, as well as centres and peripheries.

/ The Collection as Laboratory
During the sixteenth century, collectors became interested in increasingly varied types of objects. Whereas in many studioli, the display was intended to invite comparisons between antiquities and contemporary works of the art, in other collections the aim was to present the relationships and even rivalries between artificialia and naturalia. A concern with man’s ingenuity was an important element in such new collections, as has been studied in relation to such well-known sixteenth century collections in Florence, or Munich or somewhat later in Prague. Horst Bredekamp observed that ‘the idea of using the collection as an active laboratory rather than a passive collection corresponded to the Promethean practice, perceiving the actions of collecting, researching and constructing the collection as a unit.’ The collector could thus be not just an acquisitor but also a creator. He could himself develop the skills to create complex works of art, the knowledge and skill to practice ivory turning for example; he could bring together scientists and mathematicians to explore the universe, and put to use instruments within the collection. Techniques and new methods of manufacture were also related to objects in the collection.
The aim of this session is to explore the collection as a laboratory of scientific investigation and the pursuit of knowledge, whether through the creation or the use of the objects collected. Although there has been considerable attention given to the development of the kunst and wunderkammer collection, the impact of these in terms of manufacture and impetus for scientific development has been more limited to a few well-known examples. We would encourage the presentation of papers by researchers in the history of science, history of manufacture or collecting. We would also encourage the presentation of material over a broad geographic base, from the lesser-known Italian and German collections to other European collections. Although the time frame is essentially that of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, papers that cover these sites of knowledge at other times are welcome. We hope through the exploration of a variety of collections, to bring a richer understanding of the collection as the nexus of curiosity and skill.

If you wish to contribute to these discussions, please send your abstract of c. 300 words and your CV (in accordance with the guidelines set out at to on or before 2 June 2016.

Papal Triumphs in Texts and Images
Contributor: Pascale Rihouet

One of the most arresting spectacles in early-modern Rome was the pope’s procession from St. Peter’s church to St. John in Lateran to mark his “possession” of the city after his election. The possesso featured a colorful cortege made up of ecclesiastical dignitaries and their servants parading with an array of symbolic objects. This session invites papers on the various configurations of this papal triumph, according to texts and images. Between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, what kind of evidence does the visual, musical, or textual culture of papal ceremonies provide? What contradictions emerge when one compares these sources? What did their material culture consist of? What meanings did it produce? How about the sensory dimension?

Send abstract and CV to Pascale Rihouet (organizer): by June 1, 2016.

Eternal Painting? The Meaning and Materiality of Copper Supports

Session Sponsored by the Italian Art Society
Contributor: Alexander J. Noelle

In the Lives of the Artists, Giorgio Vasari championed Sebastiano del Piombo for having « introduced a new method of painting on stone, which pleased people greatly, for it appeared that by this means pictures could be made eternal, and such that neither fire nor worms could harm them. » Vasari elaborated by describing how the same technique could be extended to « silver, copper, tin, and other metals. » Piombo, however, was just one of many fifteen and sixteenth-century artists who experimented with supports beyond the more traditional media of panel, canvas, and fresco; Italian painters employed a variety of stone and metal supports on projects of diverse scale and subject matter. Vasari himself painted on copper, utilizing the material not only to produce paintings that were impervious to the threats he enumerated but also to enhance the aesthetic impact and perhaps even materialistic resonance of his compositions, as seen in Vulcan’s Forge (1567 – 68, Galleria degli Uffizi). Numerous painters explored this relationship, establishing a conceptual association between the copper support and the subject matter of their artworks. This connection between the physical and narrative elements was manifested in a number of ways, sometimes visible to the viewer, and sometimes only known to the patron and artist. The use of a copper support should not be taken as a straightforward indication that the artist chose a more durable, or perhaps « eternal, » medium. Rather, the intersection of material and meaning in these paintings often warrants reconsideration. This session seeks to explore the associations between subject matter and support in paintings on copper from Italy, ca. 1300 – 1650. Papers that present a combination of art historical and conservation research as well as those that consider copper in relation to other alternative supports – such as tile, slate, and various metals – are particularly encouraged.

Please send a brief abstract (no more than 150 words); a selection of keywords for your talk; and a brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum in outline rather than narrative form) to and byJune 1.

Rethinking the Myth of Venice. The Many Identities of Venice in the Early Renaissance
Contributor: Zuleika Murat

The primary aim of this panel is questioning the concept of the Myth of Venice and of the city’s uniqueness, that ended up embalming Venice in the name of a tradition created a posteriori. In order to both challenge and complement this long-standing historiographic tradition, we intend to address the period between the end of the War of Chioggia (1381) and the Fall of Constantinople (1453), when an entire age ended and a new one began.
The choice of the period is intentional: it coincides with a time of particular ferment and innovation, that thus offers a chance to verify many notions usually taken for granted. Indeed, after the War of Chioggia a new period of expansion towards the Mainland began, through the acquisition of new territories and the arrival of several foreigners. In the homeland, the military enterprise of Michele Steno (1400-1413) and Francesco Foscari’s (1423-1457) careful political tactic enlarged the city’s domain of influence considerably, but also made Venice receptive to influence from the West. Meanwhile, the improved religious ferment triggered by the phenomenon of the Observance collided with the hard core of local forces, personified by the doge and the aristocracy, but also by older religious orders. It is thus an extraordinary dynamic period, unsettled and experimental.
Paper topics may include (but are by no means limited to):
– Rituals, liturgies and devotion
– The different roles played by foreign and local patrons and artists
– Old and new typologies of artworks
– The introduction of new artistic techniques (e.g. Terracotta)
– New religious movements (e.g. the Regular Canons of San Giorgio in Alga)
– Private devotional practices
– Confraternities and Scuole Grandi & Piccole
– The rise of new iconographies, or the reinvention of old ones
– Relics, Blessed and Holy Bodies
– Venice and the Mainland: reciprocal influences?

The panel welcomes papers centered on specific case studies as well as on the wider context.
To submit a paper proposal for this session, please send a Word or PDF document to Zuleika Murat ( and Valentina Baradel ( by June 4, 2016. Please ensure that the document includes the presenter’s first and last name; academic affiliation and title (or “Independent Scholar”); e-mail address; paper title (15-word maximum); abstract (150-word maximum); short CV (300-word maximum; please follow the CV guidelines and models on

Antiquity and the Visual Arts in Renaissance Italy
Contributor: Robert Glass

The reception of antiquity has been fundamental to understandings of Italian Renaissance art since the period itself, and with every generation, scholars have rethought the relationship. These sessions aim to consider the topic in light of current trends in the field. Papers are invited that examine the reception of antiquity in Italian Renaissance art from perspectives such as:

– Identity: antiquity in the fashioning of the identities of patrons, artists, institutions, or places
– Globalism and/or alterity: the reception of non-Roman antiquities; antiquity as Other
– Temporality: typological, anachronic, or other responses to antiquity that depart from or challenge linear conceptions of time
– Marginality: antiquity in centers vs. peripheries/margins—geographic, pictorial, or other

Please send proposals to Robert Glass ( by Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

As per RSA guidelines, proposals should include the following: paper title (15-word maximum), abstract (150-word maximum), keywords, and a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum).

Art and Conflicting, Overlapping, and Shifting forms of Agency
Contributor: Steven Stowell

In recent decades, much research regarding the emotive, social and religious force of images have coalesced around discussions of art and agency. Following the influential work of anthropologist Alfred Gell, Early Modern art historians have asked how works of art had agency in religious, social and political spheres; that is, how were works of art attributed with the agency of sentient, social agents with psychological intentionality? These terms have been viewed as especially pertinent when discussing such objects as miracle-working images, and images that have agency through magic.
Gell’s theories of art objects’ psychological intentionality are in part a development of James George Frazer’s theories of sympathetic magic, in which objects have magical agency over other objects to which they are connected through likeness or contagion. However, Early Modern art works might appear to complicate or disrupt this interpretation since they have agency over a plethora of other objects and social agents, and therefore not only one form of agency but several. A miraculous image of the Virgin, for instance, has agency in many different scenarios, some of which might even appear to be antithetical to one another, as, for instance when an image miraculously restores lost wealth to one devotee while also encouraging the ideal of charity and poverty with another. Moreover, what “counted” as miraculous was also coming under increasing scrutiny in the Early Modern period, and thus various groups perceived agency differently.
This session seeks proposals for papers that address conflicting, overlapping and shifting agency in Early Modern art to explore how images had the power to manifest several sometimes antithetical or conflicting forms of agency.

Organizer: Steven Stowell, Concordia University, Montréal

Please send abstracts by 31 May to As per the RSA proposal guidelines, please include:
-a paper title (15-word maximum)
-abstract (150-word maximum)
-a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum).

Architecture and the Environment
Contributor: Katie Jakobiec

Deforestation, air pollution, endangered species, depleted natural resources and other environmental concerns were on the mind of early modern architects, patrons, and all those concerned with the art and act of building. During the age of exploration, ports and shipyards, cities and buildings were built through the manipulation and management of natural resources. This panel invites papers that investigate new building enterprises (cities and buildings, landscape architecture, ships and ports, mines, water basins, etc.) in terms of their effects on the environment.

Scholars working in and on any geographical region are welcome to propose a paper.

Papers might consider case studies analyzing single individuals and their ideas, for example, in 1582, Philip II, the builder of the Escorial, expressed to his government minister his concern for the conditions of the forests during his travel to central Castile. He called for the conservation of forests and voiced his fear « …that those who come after us will have much to complain of if we leave them depleted, and please God we do not see it in our time. » (Cited in Henry Kamen, The Escorial: Art and Power in the Renaissance, p. 73).

Other topics might include eco-critical interpretations of primary documents and texts, poetry, and/or drama; re-examining architectural treatises for environmental concerns; or looking at buildings and landscapes themselves in different ways.

Please send proposals with CV to Katie Jakobiec, by June 3.

Transcendence, Figuration, Modernity: On Theology and the Arts in the Renaissance
Contributor: Christopher Nygren

The representation of the Godhead was a contentious issue in many domains of early modern culture. While certain strains of theology asserted God’s absolute transcendence, the visual arts, literature, and sacred drama often forcefully depicted God the Father in domestic settings. These sessions invite papers from various disciplines that reflect upon the disconnect between theories and practices of divine figuration in the early modern period. This might also encompass broader issues such as the figuration of the Trinity, the representation miraculous or transcendent events, lived theology and spirituality, and the visual and performance cultures of late medieval and early modern Christianity. We are particularly interested in paper that explore how the problem of figuring the transcendent align with or subvert certain genealogies of modernity that are central to the various disciplines. Focusing on the problem of figuring the will provide a test case for genealogies of modernity that link developments in philosophical theology to larger cultural changes.

Please submit the following materials to and no later than June 4th.

1. Your name for the program
2. Institutional affiliation
3. Your title
4. Brief Abstract, no more than 150 words (which in any case they no longer publish in the hardcopy program)
5. Very brief C.V., no longer than than 1 page.

The Historiography of Early Modern Architecture
Session Sponsored by the European Architectural History Network
Contributor: Elizabeth Merrill

Since the Renaissance itself, the history of early-modern architecture has been a multifaceted discipline. Antonio Manetti established the biographic format in his Life of Brunelleschi, an approach that was later developed in Vasari’s Lives. In the same period, individuals like Giuliano da Sangallo and Francesco di Giorgio sought to elucidate architectural history through their discovery, or one might say reconstruction, of Roman antiquities. Similarly, the overwhelming interest in Vitruvius not only generated new histories of architecture, but also drove architectural practices and colored the way in which architects were perceived. The modes of scholarly inquiry initiated in the Renaissance have had long afterlives. The great interest in architectural proportions, based both on ancient models and long practiced building traditions, preoccupied theorists like Serlio and Palladio, and centuries later, was resumed by Erwin Panofsky, Rudolf Wittkower and Branko Mitrovic, among others. Correspondingly, the concern with prolonged building processes and the historical valuation of the resultant architecture has captured significant attention. The problems involved in “building-in-time” were outlined in Alberti’s theory of architecture, commented upon by Michelangelo, and in recent decades have been explored by Howard Burns and Marvin Trachtenberg.

This session invites papers that consider the historiography of Renaissance architecture – that is, the history of scholarly understandings of early-modern European architecture (c.1400 – 1700). What are the sources, techniques, and theoretical approaches that have directed the history of Renaissance architecture and what implications do they carry? How do regional or national traditions of early-modern architectural history vary? On what are these traditions based and what are their biases? Papers might also discuss architect-historians like Inigo Jones, Christopher Wren, John Webb, Jacques-François Blondel, and Tommaso Temanza, and how they translated the history of Renaissance architecture in practice. In a similar vein, papers might reflect on how Renaissance architectural history been taught. What is the training of the architectural historian and how does this impact the discipline? How have developments in digital technology redirected early-modern architectural history? And what might future developments bring?

Paper proposals that stem from original research should be submitted as a Word document or PDF to Saundra Weddle ( and Elizabeth Merrill ( by June 4, 2016. Please include the following information: presenter’s full name; academic affiliation and title; e-mail address; paper title (15-word maximum); paper abstract (150-word maximum); and a short bio (300-word maximum). For CV guidelines and models see:

Urban Studies beyond the Aestheticized Object
Sponsored by the European Architectural History Network
Contributor: Elizabeth Merrill

Traditionally, urban historians relied on systems and patterns to analyze cities as aesthetic constructions, parsing them in terms of morphologies and typologies. Eventually, however, cities began to be considered as embodiments and instruments of culture that communicated individual and collective identities and relationships. More recently, urban geographers, anthropologists, and theorists have modeled approaches that consider spatialized experience through the senses and body, and some envision the built realm as “more than a backdrop for action, becoming the action itself” (Bernard Tschumi, Disjunction and Architecture).

We invite papers that propose new approaches to and readings of the experiential and sensory in respect to the early modern city. How was the city’s physical fabric experienced and perceived by locals as well as foreign travellers? Which rhythms (e.g., day/night, canonical hours) defined movements of bodies through and individual experiences of the city? How did the sensory, (e.g., concepts of hygiene and public health), guide city planning and construction? The presence of “others” in the city, whether animals, foreigners, the sick, or minority populations, might also be considered. Speakers are welcome to discuss new methodologies or techniques for studying urban history (e.g., digital mapping and visualization).

Proposals should be submitted to Saundra Weddle ( and Elizabeth Merrill ( by June 4, 2016 with the presenter’s full name; academic affiliation/title; e-mail address; paper title (15-word maximum); abstract (150-word maximum); and a brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum; prose bios will not be accepted).