Conferences & Lectures

The IAS sponsors and supports a number of conference sessions and lectures each year. In addition to IAS-Sponsored Conference Sessions and an annual lecture co-sponsored by the Kress Foundations, the IAS posts calls for papers and opportunities to attend other conferences related to Italian Art. If you have a conference or lecture that should be posted here, please contact the webmaster.

IAS/Kress Lectures in Italy
The IAS would like to recognize the generous sponsorship of the Kress Foundation for this lecture series. The 2014 IAS/Kress Lecture in Italy will be given by Jean Cadogan in Pisa. More information.

2013 IAS/Kress Lecture, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome. Photo Credit: Humberto Nicoletti Serra 2013 Kress Lecture, Rome: Fondazione Marco Besso; Photo credit: Humberto Nicoletti Serra
2013 Kress Lecture, Rome: Fondazione Marco Besso; Photo credit: Humberto Nicoletti Serra

Calls for Proposals/Papers for IAS-Sponsored Sessions
The Program Committee welcomes proposals for IAS-sponsored sessions at the annual meetings of the American Association of Italian Studies, the College Art Association, the International Congress on Medieval Studies — Kalamazoo, the Renaissance Society of America, the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Sixteenth Century Society (SCSC). Members are encouraged to send suggestions for sessions to the Program Committee Chair.

IAS-Sponsored Conference Sessions
IAS at American Association for Italian Studies (AAIS)
IAS at Kalamazoo
IAS at Sixteenth Century Society & Conference (SCSC)

IAS Travel Grants
The IAS provides grants to support graduate students, recent Ph.D. recipients, and scholars traveling from abroad to present papers on Italian topics at select conferences.  Please see the IAS Travel Grant page for more information.

Other Conferences: Calls for Papers
Conferences are listed in chronological order by due date. Corrections and additions should be sent to the webmaster.

October 2014, Milan. Promoted by Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani / Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, Dipartimento di Storia, Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte. On the occasion of the Fifth Centenary of the death of Donato Bramante (1514- 2014), the Politecnico di Milano and the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore propose to dedicate a day of study to new information and interpretations concerning the many unsolved problem of Bramante’s architecture. The Study-Day, to be held nearly thirty years after the conference promoted by the Università Cattolica in 1986 and in collaboration with others intending to celebrate the Centenary, aims at offering the opportunity for a dialogue between scholars, particularly younger ones, by presenting research in progress as well as prospects for future investigations. The aim of the Conference is two-fold: the 500th centenary of Bramante’s death presents an opportunity to invite scholars to present new work that will update the catalogue of Bramante’s work in Milan and Lombardy, as well as promoting at an international level an exchange of ideas and different approaches intended to calibrate the importance, or lack of it, of the presence of Bramante in Milan. Call Proposals in the form of an abstract of 200 words with the title of the contribution of 15-20 minutes at most in Italian or English should be sent with a brief CV by email. The choice of participants will made by the Academic Committee by 21 April 2014. Publication of the Acts of the Conference The Acts of the Study-Day will be published in a monographic issue of the journal Arte lombarda. Deadline: 21 March.

2014 Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (New Orleans, October 16-19, 2014). Those of us who study representations of the Virgin Mary in the Early Modern period are often met with a version of the adage “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!” Yet, the cult of the Virgin Mary in this period was shaped, and reshaped, by profound religious, political, and social changes that resulted in the production of distinct Marian images. This session calls for studies of Madonna images that highlight this point. Possible lines of inquiry for prospective papers include analysis of Marian artworks in relation to contemporary doctrinal and artistic debates; patterns of daily devotion and liturgical functions; exegetical and poetic texts; issues of sacred female corporeality, exemplarity, and gendered spectatorship. Case studies from across Europe and its colonies are welcome. Ideally, the session will reflect diversity in approaches—e.g., archival, material, iconological, socio-historical, anthropological, semiotic. With an emphasis on varied regional and cultural geographies, it seeks to foster dialogue among scholars of the art and cult of the Virgin Mary in the Early Modern period. Please send abstracts of 250 words and a brief C.V. to Kim Butler Wingfield and Esperança Camara. Deadline 30 March.

6-7 June, Turin. International conference sponsored by N.E.V.I.S., NeMLA, Georgetown University, CSU Chico, and The College of New Jersey’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Keynote Speaker: Alessandro Carrera “Cinema and the Aesthetics of the Sublime,” University of Houston. In a world that is made relentlessly more composite and multidimensional, the intersecting of art, cinema, music, and literature can help us re-configure rhythmically and synergetically the dissonant and discrete realities in which we are immersed. The mathematical concept of the intersection or the visual image of a multiple road junction provide us with both a figurative and conceptual framework for the investigation of how our understanding can be solicited intellectually and artistically by boundary crossing, cooperative practices, and kaleidoscopic experiences. Art, literature, music, and cinema in Italy have always pointed towards innovative ways in which to intersect and interact, producing new experiential and epistemological paradigms. Intersections aims at exploring Italy’s imaginative and idiosyncratic collaborations in and between the arts, to reveal how unconventional contacts, exchanges, and relations can implode the limits of the imagination and the creative process, and ultimately expand the horizon of the known and the knowable. Comparative and interdisciplinary analyses pertinent to Italian and Cultural Studies, Film studies and the Arts are welcome and may encompass literature, Italian-American studies, history, art history, philosophy, anthropology, music, political science, religion, gender studies, and any other relevant discipline. Possible topics may include but are not limited to the following:  Music and its Intersection with Culture in Its Various Expressive Forms: (from Nono and Berio to Visconti-Prasca, from Vecchioni and De Andrè to De Gregori and Pino Daniele); Literature: Italian Studies, Post-Modernity, Feminist Theory, Post-Colonial studies and their intersection with cinema, music, the arts but also with politics, cultural practices, and socio-economic phenomena. In addition, theoretical intersections can be drawn from the debate on issues involving Globalization, Global/Local/Glocal; Art: Contemporay trends in art (arte povera, post-structuralism,-post-modernism) as they intersect with music, literature, cinema, architecture, and urban studies; Cinema and its Intersections with Literature, Art and Music: (from Visconti and De Sica, to Fellini, Pasolini, Bolognini, Risi, Rosi, Bene, Olmi and the Taviani brothers, from Salvatores and Costanzo to Martone). Please send an abstract (1-2 paragraphs) to the Organizing Committee by e-mail. Deadline 31 March.

8 September, Rome, Bibliotheca Hertziana—Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte. Study Day: Among the increasingly monarchic arena of Early Modern Europe, the powerful Italian cities of Genoa, Rome, and Venice are exceptional. Genoa and Venice, the largest remaining republics in Italy, predominated the financial, mercantile, and military spheres of the Mediterranean. Rome’s religious authority and historical cachet, along with its sizable territory, were the foundations of its leading position. All three of these cities stand out for their oligarchic power structures; while Genoa and Venice were led by governments elected from a restricted book of families, Rome fostered an aristocracy both parallel to and participating in the electoral principle of the Papal court. Therefore, in the absence of hereditary lords, power and prestige was shared among the ruling families. As a result, in all of these cities, the families could remain powerful even as the government changed. Central challenges for these cities’ aristocratic families were how to figure their relationships to local power structures and balancing their own interests against those of the communal state. The particular social-political contexts nurtured different forms and strategies of representation than those deployed in monarchic and ducal societies. The oligarchic aristocracy had to submit to an abstract concept shaped by values and virtues such as equality and liberty rather than to a dynastic authority. Each of these societies experienced turning points when their political structures shifted and opened to new families—be they from outside the city or from non-noble stock—and their ruling classes sought new methods of representation and patronage to assert their role in the changed social scene. The reforms of 1576 to Genoa’s oligarchic government, the rising status of papal families in seventeenth-century Rome, and the opening of the Libro d’Oro in the context of Venice’s wars against the Ottoman Turks in the late seventeenth century were all moments from which such changes arose. Against this background, this study day seeks to compare the demands and strategies of art and architectural patronage among these non-dynastic aristocratic groups. Although Genoa and Venice have often been mentioned in chorus, they have never been directly and critically compared. Because of their diverse political alliances and statuses, the differences in their governmental structures, as well as their differing territorial dispositions, two distinct types of an early modern republic developed. Furthermore, the exemplary role of Rome for the non-monarchic sphere—its permeable system of social ascension—still asks for a more differentiated view. While scholarship often focuses on the Papacy of Rome and likens it to a monarchy, we seek to understand the strategies of the ruling class while not in power. Abstracts are invited from scholars in all stages of their careers addressing key aspects and questions such as the following:
  • How did individual families present themselves vis-a-vis rival families or  the state?
  • How and when did these representations take place?
  • What were the spaces used for representation and how were they marked?
  • How did these strategies change or shift through time or across political changes?
  • Can we identify instances of collective patronage or patterns of patronage?
  • Are there collective representations or patterns of representation?
  • Did strategies differ between sacred and secular contexts? If so, how?
  • How do we conceive of the dialectic  of public – private in these societies?

Proposals for 25-minute papers should include the title of the paper, a 250–300-word abstract, the author’s institutional affiliation, a one-page CV, and full contact information. Papers may be submitted in English, French, German, and Italian. For more information, please visit: Proposals should be sent to both Benjamin Eldredge (Bibliotheca Hertziana) and Bettina Morlang-Schardon (Bibliotheca Hertziana). Deadline 15 April.

Other Conferences: Opportunities to Attend
Conferences are listed in chronological order by date. Corrections and additions should be sent to the webmaster.

21-22 March 2014, University of Leeds. Keynote speakers: Susanne Kuechler, Professor of Material Culture in the Department of Anthropology, UCL and Alina Payne, Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, Harvard. The descriptive terms ‘decorative’ and ‘ornamental’ are in many ways synonymous with superfluity and excess; they refer to things or modalities that are ‘supplementary’ or ‘marginal’ by their very nature. In the West, such qualitative associations in made objects intersect with long-standing and inter-related philosophical oppositions between ‘form’ and ‘matter’, ‘body’ and ‘surface’, the ‘proper’ and the ‘cosmetic’. Accordingly, this has weighed both on determinations of value in artistic media, and on the inflexions of related histories – particularly histories of ‘non-Western’ art, design and culture, where a wide range of decorative traditions are deemed unworthy of critical attention. Yet such frameworks are no more historically stable than they are culturally universal. To take one very clear and ‘central’ counter-example, decoration in some strands of Renaissance architectural theory (Filarete, Alberti) emerged as a rigorous codification of meaning, as an essentially functional (political) language. In many ways the history of ornament may itself be seen as a process of marginalisation of such ways of thinking, and the separation of ornament from any form of social practice. This two-day conference seeks to explore the various ways in which ornament might be regarded as itself productive of its objects and sites. How might the technologies, techniques, and materials of ornament be related to the conception and transformation of modes of object-making? How might ornament be understood to inform its objects, disrupting the spatial categories of ‘surface’ and ‘structure’, and the temporal models in which ornament ‘follows’ making? What are the relations between ornament and representation, and what is at stake in the conventional oppositions between these categories? What are the roles of ornament in larger dynamics of copying, hybridisation and appropriation between things? In what ways have practices and thinking on ornament staged cultural encounters, and engendered larger epistemological and social models? The conference, with the support of the Henry Moore Foundation, will explore the production of ornament across a broad range of historical and geographical contexts. Questions should be directed to Dr Richard Checketts and Dr Lara Eggleton.

3-4 April 2014, Annual Spring Conference, Medieval and Renaissance Center (MARC), New York University.  New York University’s Medieval and Renaissance Center invites proposals for papers that address the topic of “mediality” with respect to any medieval or early modern cultural practice or practices. The term mediality refers to a new approach in the discussion of media. While we ordinarily associate “media” with communication – writing, images, radio, TV, film — the approach captured by the term mediality shifts the focus to the ways and means of mediation. It accentuates the fundamental fact that access to history is conditioned by media. The goal is less to define what a medium is than to describe medial situations: moments of the in-between, in which something is assigned the function of a medium, and in which mediation occurs or effects of mediating become visible. The concept of mediality can thus open up our understanding of any historical period and is particularly promising for study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, periods that are already marked by an intense interest in media, including the exploration of the possibilities of mediation and the development of new medial forms. The concept helps us to understand almost any object of study from these periods: from professional practices such as the law, to cultural practices such as ritual, to concrete material artifacts such as textiles, to the threshold between the age of manuscript and the era of print. Papers investigating the mediality–the specific “in-betweeness”–of any cultural phenomenon are welcome as well as those that investigate such matters as media awareness, media interference, cross mediality, media and the senses, media and power, and the uses and abuses of drawing attention to the conspicuous mediality of in any object, belief, or practice. Questions should be directed to Martha Rust.

Florence, 4 April 2014. A one-day conference organized by Andrea M. Gáldy with Lauren Johnson and held at the British Institute of Florence to accompany the exhibition “Pontormo and Rosso. The Diverging Paths of Mannerism.” The exhibition curated by Carlo Falciani and Antonio Natali will run from 8 March-20 July 2014 at Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi. Jacopo Pontormo (Jacopo Carrucci) and Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo di Gasparre) trained with the Florentine painter Andrea del Sarto in the early years of the sixteenth century. During these politically turbulent years after the French invasion and the cacciata of the Medici, diverse Florentine governments for and against the Medici rose and fell while two Medici popes ruled over an increasingly rebellious Christendom. Rosso eventually left Florence for Rome and, after the Sack of the Eternal City, moved to Northern Italy and finally to France where he worked at the court at Fontainebleau. Pontormo stayed in Florence apart from a visit to Rome. Sponsored by some of the leading families of Florence, such as the Capponi and the Borgherini, he also received intermittent patronage by the Medici. Eventually he became of the main artists at Cosimo I de’ Medici’s developing court during the early years of the young duke’s rule. Rosso (with Primaticcio) founded the School of Fontainebleau, whereas Pontormo established a “dynasty” of Mannerist court painters through his successors Agnolo Bronzino and Alessandro Allori. Both Rosso and Pontormo were responsible for the development of a new painterly style, the early maniera, which was much influenced by the art of Michelangelo. Religious reform and violent political events, such as the Sack of Rome and the siege of Florence by imperial troops in 1530, have been used to explain the radical departure from High Renaissance art. As young men Rosso and Pontormo set out to revolutionise art; their religious works of art, in particular, were considered to be either highly original or downright controversial. This one-day conference seeks to explore the oeuvre of the two artists, surviving as well as lost, with a special focus on the works of art brought together for display at the show at Palazzo Strozzi in spring 2014. This conference is intended as an interdisciplinary forum for discussion in which Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino specialists will present new research alongside experts from other fields who wish to take their findings to the art of Early Florentine Mannerism. Questions should be directed  to the organizers. Click here to see the program.

3–5 April 2014, Tucson, Arizona. The Society for Renaissance Art History at the South-Central Renaissance Conference. Please join us in Tucson for Exploring the Renaissance 2014: An International Conference, the 63rd annual meeting of the South-Central Renaissance Conference. The Society for Renaissance Art History will sponsor sessions on a wide array of topics related to Renaissance art from the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries. Program participants are encouraged to submit publication-length versions of their papers to the SCRC journal, Explorations in Renaissance Culture. Questions may be directed to the website or by email to Caroline Hillard.

9-12 April 2014, Larnaca, Cyprus. The 2nd annual Mediaeval and Renaissance Conference “Othello’s Island” is organized by academics from the Cornaro Institute, University of Sheffield School of English, and the University of Leeds School of Fine Art. It will be an opportunity to discuss diverse aspects of this fascinating period in Mediterranean and Levantine history with colleagues and research students from around the world. As a multi-disciplinary conference, art, literature, and other cultural studies are all welcome topics, as are historical studies, archaeology, cultural and material history, social history, and other topics. Although based in Cyprus the aim of the second conference is to expand our investigations into the wider Mediterranean and Levantine region, and to also encompass aspects of Byzantine, Crusader State, and Muslim cultural and social histories during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. A major strand is Cyprus and/or the Mediterranean in art, literature and other culture in the period, including their presence in the work of Shakespeare and other writers. Cyprus is, after all, the island of Othello (in a manner of speaking).

11-12 April, Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. According to Jean-Claude Schmitt, “the dead have no existence other than that which the living imagine for them” – and sometimes, the living not only force them to exist in their memory but also to persist materially. By keeping the mortal remains above the earth, by dividing them, manipulating them and moving them to different places, the deceased are assigned a very active role within the world of the living. The title of this workshop includes, however, also a second “species” of migrating bodily fragments, namely body parts that are imagined to be moving by themselves. We are not sure whether the movement of real, physical body parts can reasonably be linked with the stories of actively wandering body parts as they can be found in hagiography, secular badges and popular literature of the time, but from our perspective it seems worthwhile to think about it, the more so as for some years now there has been developing a broad area of research on objects that move and migrate. Within our workshop the following perspectives on body parts in pre-modern Europe might be addressed: the reasons why body parts were moved, the way in which they were moved, how they were visualized, the nature of the transport media, both visual and material, the benefits of body parts transcending space and time, which body parts could be imagined to be moving. Organizers: Romedio Schmitz-Esser (Historisches Seminar der LMU München), Urte Krass (Institut für Kunstgeschichte der LMU München), and the Munich Research Center Foundations of Modernity. Questions should be directed to Romedio Schmitz-Esser (Historisches Seminar, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, 80539 München).

15-17 May, Florence. The Sixth International Symposium on Psychoanalysis and Art will be held in the Salone Magliabechiano of the Uffizi Gallery and other venues in Florence. The symposium presents a unique interdisciplinary meeting of art, music, psychoanalysis, and neuroscience in conversation about those who make art, who see it, and who pay for it. Featured speakers include Stefano Bolognini, Amy Fine Collins, Jane McAdam Freud, David Freedberg, Vittorio Gallese, and Laurie Wilson. For registration and program information visit the symposium website.

29-30 May. Archivio di Stato di Firenze. Much has been written about the institutional, economic, and cultural politics of Cosimo I de’ Medici’s duchy during the nearly four decades of his rule. However, only in recent years have scholars begun to assess Cosimo I’s more personal sphere, largely thanks to work on the correspondence in the Medici Grand Ducal Archive (Mediceo del Principato), housed at the Archivio di Stato in Florence. Thousands of letters written by and about the duke paint portraits as intimate and revelatory as those painted by Agnolo Bronzino. Details about his personality and his relationship with family members are constantly emerging. These letters also record his physical maladies and psychological distress, his cynicism, his humor, and his compassion. They speak of his aesthetic tenets, intellectual curiosity, military values, and culinary predilections. Letters address his obsession with his enemies, his conflicting relationships with foreign regents, and his dynastic ambitions. Most importantly, they shed light on the intricate mechanism of court culture, which saw Cosimo I at the epicenter of his rule. In an effort to retrace Cosimo I’s personal dimensions, the Medici Archive Project and the Archivio di Stato of Florence are organizing a two-day conference. In addition to the topics mentioned above, the following themes will be addressed during this conference: • education and humanism • self-representation and identity • family and diplomatic networks • communication and information • collections and decorum • health and religion • decadence and domesticity • self-preservation and self-indulgence. Questions may be directed via email to Maurizio Arfaioli and Samuel M. Gallacher.

7 June, UCLA, Los Angeles CA. 58th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Conference of Southern California. Keynote Speaker Adam Knight Gilbert Director of the Early Music Program Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. The RCSC, a regional affiliate of the Renaissance Society of America, welcomes paper proposals on the full range of Renaissance disciplines (Art, Architecture, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Science). Questions may be sent by email to Martine van Elk.

12-14 June, Denver, CO. The Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association (RMMRA) will host Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Pilgrimage to Christian holy sites and shrines was a mainstay of western European life throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods, and the journeys to places such as Canterbury, Santiago de Compostela, Assisi, Rome, and Jerusalem informed a devotional tradition that encouraged participation from all social classes, evoked commentary by chroniclers, playwrights, and poets, and inspired artistic, iconographic, and literary expressions.  Even when the faith-based culture of the Middle Ages began to transform into the more empirical (and experiential) centuries of the Renaissance and Protestant Reformations, pilgrimages were still very much on the minds of writers and geographers as a source of both inspiration and criticism (Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Bunyan, Hakluyt, and Raleigh). Papers and panels will address the conference theme from disciplines within the late antique, medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation periods (c. 4th to 17th centuries) with historical, literary, scientific, archaeological, and anthropological inquiries of pilgrimage, especially in the following subject areas:  holy sites and shrines; cults of relics and saints; salvific aspects (healing, science, medicine); gender studies; geographical reckoning (faith-based vs. empirical); theological promotion, dissuasion, and contestation; mystical and philosophical beliefs (and criticism); internationality; secular vs. clerical approaches; considerations about (and representations of) space; relevant aspects of communitas and liminality; travel and communication; and, finally, intellectual history. Questions may be directed to the conference’s co-organizers: Kim Klimek and Todd Upton.

16-18 June, St. Louis, MO. The Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies  at Saint Louis University provides a convenient summer venue in North America for scholars in all disciplines to present papers, organize sessions, participate in roundtables, and engage in interdisciplinary discussion. The goal of the symposium is to promote serious scholarly investigation of the medieval and early modern worlds. Papers, sessions, and roundtables on medieval and early modern studies. The plenary speakers for 2014 will be John W.Baldwin, of Johns Hopkins University, and Robert Hillenbrand, of the University of Edinburgh.

18-19 June 2014, Parliament Hall, St. Andrews, Scotland. Keynote Speakers: Barbara Spackman (University of California, Berkeley); Kate Lowe (Queen Mary, University of London). At the end of the nineteenth century, Venetian glass-makers made many of the beads offered by Europeans to the inhabitants of the territories they were in the process of conquering. This lucrative trade thus implicated Italy in a colonial project which extended beyond discrete national boundaries. This small but resonant example of international entanglement suggests the direction which this interdisciplinary two-day conference, to be hosted by the Italian Department at the University of St Andrews, aims to follow. What does it mean to participate in a colonial or imperial enterprise which is not easily identified as a national project? What does it mean for a national culture to inhabit the imperial discourse of another? How do cultures and people move in, and out, of empire? By attempting to identify instances in which Italy came to participate in colonial or imperial projects, sometimes but not always its own, we will work towards an understanding of metropolitan imperial culture as a formation which stretches beyond borders. We are particularly interested in imperial cultures or discourses of power which remain concealed, or at least unacknowledged. The conference will explore the following topics: Economic Imperialism: Networks of cultural and economic exchange; Cultural and commercial markets: Visibility and distribution; Desire and gender; Language and power; Imagining Empire in popular culture; Blackness and Whiteness; Traces and residues. Questions should be directed to organizers Derek Duncan and Emma Bond.

26-27 June 2014, Victoria University, Toronto, Ontario. The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS) is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with a conference in honor of Edward Muir, whose innovative studies of Venetian politics and culture helped to establish cultural anthropology and ritual as major analytical frameworks for scholarship on early modern European history. Building from Muir’s contribution to the field, the conference will focus on the significance of the methodological changes that have characterized early modern research in history, literature, and art history over the last thirty years and to reflect upon how these changes have affected our understanding of the importance of the period. Topics will exemplify new directions of critical inquiry spurred by the methodological developments over this period, including the meaning of popular culture, the role of gender, micro-history, the discovery of the body, the importance of ritual, and how methodological innovations in early modern scholarship—particularly in recent years—have informed changes in the nature of humanities inquiry, broadly conceived. Questions should be directed to Mark Jurdjevic and Rolf Strom-Olsen.

4-6 July 2014. The University of Nottingham, Department of Art History. In theories of looking at art, spectators are usually assumed to be static, having arrived at a correct viewing position before a given work of art. Yet in our experiences of art, vision, and movement are inseparable. Travel is often a prerequisite to putting oneself in a position to be able to see something, or to see it properly; physical effort is required to address the object or image appropriately. Works of art usually inhabit spaces which necessitate adjustment of the viewer’s position. Institutions of art require active engagements such as entering, scanning, exploring, traversing, perusing, surveying, and other forms of behaviour or gestures. When such contingencies of viewing are acknowledged, the question arises as to whether the idea of a static viewer engaged in motionless contemplation is a Modernist, ocularcentric paradigm that fails to take into account movements of the body as a precondition to sight. This conference wishes to explore the role(s) of physical movement in creating an art viewer, among other questions. Is there a difference between ‘viewer’ and ‘spectator’? Does one term imply a more active or passive role than the other? Does either term imply motion? We welcome and encourage studies of all periods and locations. Suggested lines of inquiry include but are not limited to the following: The language of looking Correct positions: the ideology and practices of viewing positions Anamorphosis: the image as at once coded and controlling Narratives and itineraries of viewing art Instances, objects, structures that demand a viewer’s movement in order to see Sustained ways of seeing First impressions: the moment of encounter Glimpse versus gaze Modes of scanning and surveying Art History on the run: from biennales to pilgrimage The traversal of surfaces Mobility in digital terms Stasis and mobility in panoramic vision. Questions should be directed to Ting Chang and Richard Wrigley.

11-13 September, Brussels. At the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Academia Belgica Conference organized by the Academia Belgica (Rome), with the support of the Belgian Historical Institute in Rome, and the Princess Marie-José Foundation, an international conference with confirmed keynote speakers: Wim Blockmans (Leiden University), Christophe Imbert (University of Toulouse-Le Mirail), Martin Kohlrausch (KU Leuven), Christoph Schönberger (Konstanz University). Publication of the proceedings will take place after the selection and evaluation of the definitive papers. At the heart of the present conference will be the ‘reception’, ‘Nachleben’ or ‘permanence’ of the Roman Empire, of an idea and a historical paradigm which since Classical Antiquity has supported the most widespread claims to obtain and consolidate power. The focus will be on ‘culture’, this latter concept intended in a broad sense, i.e. including not only the arts, architecture, literature etc., but also philosophy, religion and, most importantly, discourse. As such, a wide array of themes will be subjected to academic scrutiny. Whereas the main focus will be on Europe and North America, this conference will also reach out towards non-Western contexts, whether or not directly related to the Roman example. A theoretical and sociological dimension will join, and ideally integrate, the discussion, by means of the involvement of methodological issues relevant to the conference theme. More specifically, the following question(s) will receive particular attention: what is our position as researchers, embedded in a contemporary, often Western, democratic and capitalist context; what about the notion of empire itself, its constituent elements and the kind of ideological prerogatives to which it is generally subjected; in other words, apart from the many historical variants and instances of reception of empire, through which filters can, and inevitably do we approach this topic? Because the world has changed ever more radically since the beginning of the 21st century: after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the events of September 11, 2001 have inaugurated a revivified American ‘imperialism’, whereas at about the same time an essentially economic variant, driven by ‘emerging’ powers such as China, has increasingly contested existing power structures. In light of such meta-historical awareness, the present conference will as much inform about the nature of the Roman Empire as it will about its historical legacy and, more importantly so, those who claim the latter inheritance throughout the most diverse epochs. Indeed, by discussing some highly contrasting views upon this topic, participants will explore issues that are of fundamental importance to the writing, creation and negotiation not only of cultural history, but also of history itself. The conference will consist of a series of thematic sessions, each of which will offer viewpoints originating from the most varied temporal and geographical contexts. Questions may be sent by e-mail.

  • Session °1: Rome and its heritage. The legacy of the Imperium Romanum in European culture from Classical Antiquity to the rise of the European superpowers (1st century-19th century CE) In ancient Rome, the idea of empire was carefully crafted in the late republican and early imperial period and it proved resilient throughout European (and later also American) history. Roman imperial performance became the cultural and political hallmark for the aspirations of medieval kings and emperors of the feudal era, for rising State power across the early modern period and for European colonial expansion from the sixteenth century onwards. Imagery and rhetoric mirrored the great classical authors and politicians. Roman architecture set the scene for demonstrations of power and ideology. If the renovatio imperii inspired early Western monarchs like Charlemagne, it was Roman law that catered for State centralization of the rising European States from the late Middle Ages onwards and laid the foundations for State power and the authority of the prince, as well as for the attitudes of kings and dukes during the Renaissance. But at the same time ideas of republicanism and resistance against power yielded by one level of authority also claimed descent from Rome. Indeed, as further exemplified by, most notably, the growing interest in the Roman Empire during the Enlightenment as well as under Napoleon I (see also Ingres etc.), the historical exemplum offered by the Roman Empire is of an extremely versatile and multifaceted nature, and its applicability cannot by any means be confined to one single interpretation.
  • Session °2: Radically changing perspectives on a historical category: the Roman Empire in the contemporary era Since the French Revolution, which, in a process of ‘nationalization of the masses’ (Mosse), posited the interests of the people at the core of political and societal debate, the heritage of ancient Rome has been the object of intense negotiation. In this period of high stake discussion concerning the boundaries and legitimacy of individual and collective power, nations and empires were created. Throughout the 19th and 20thcenturies, ancient Rome was a historical predecessor from which lessons could be learnt, examples drawn. Whereas on a sociological level, Roman republicanism inspired much fervour, arguably the idea of empire has subsequently been responsible for most of the key defining moments in world history: from instances of aggressive nationalist politics in the nineteenth century to the twentieth-century rise and fall of popular, fascist and communist power structures, from the definitive sanctification of the USA as the only real Western superpower in 1945 to its virtual omnipotence during recent years, from colonialism to post- and neo-colonialism, Roman imperialism has lost none of its relevance, whether as an historical exemplum or, alternatively, as an ominous caveat. This session intends to further explore the current, and indeed also future, fate of the Roman Empire, offering as it does various assessments of how contemporary civilizations have claimed, shaped and also radically rejected, the cultural heritage of Rome in their struggle for power and legitimacy.
  • Session °3: The imaginary empire. Performance and representation of power In the visual arts, the reference to the Roman Empire has always maintained a certain relevance, whereby the exaltation of imperialist-monarchic power has continued unabatedly in subsequent epochs, starting with the medieval Byzantine, Carolingian and Holy Roman Empires. At the same time, pagan figurative models were adapted in order to meet the ideological requirements of Christianity, a process which led to vociferous debate regarding the status of imagery, as well as, ultimately, to instances of iconoclasm. Consequently, the Renaissance has intensified the interest in Graeco-Roman antiquity, in search of a pureness which was often more the product of imagination than a tangible reality. Through a certain interpretation of Vitruvius, attempts were also made to rival with Roman imperial architecture, as a testimony and legitimisation of power and authority. Culminating in the so-called Querelle des anciens et des modernes, the appropriation of antiquity has indeed remained a core issue in art history throughout the centuries. Various explorations and transformations of the highly realistic formal language of Roman art, the sublimation of the arts by totalitarian States and Empires (from Charlemagne to Napoleon, from Stalin to Hitler and Mussolini), modern interpretations of artistic theories have been founded on the myth of Greek but also Roman antiquity. It is to the exploration of such themes that this session is dedicated, whereby participants will trace their presence in the visual arts, music, and literature.
  • Session °4: Empires without Rome? In contrast to European (and American) empires, the idea, and performance, of empire as inspired by ancient Rome was less obvious outside the Western world. Yet some imperial development in the Islamic world (the Ummayad and Abbasid caliphates in the Middle Ages and the Ottoman empire from the fifteenth century onwards) built on art, images and administrative concepts of the Imperium Romanum (and its direct successor in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Byzantine Empire). In other parts of the world, classical Rome was only heard from a great distance or was even a foreign concept. This session wants to explore how the idea of empire was lived in China, the Indian subcontinent, and in the Islamic World. Did Han, Tang, Sung, Ming or Qin China develop different concepts or performances of empire or were Mongol tribal organization or Mughal India with its Islamic foundations influenced, through their contacts with Abbasid, Fatimid, Mamluk or Ottoman empires, by older Roman ideas? And finally, when in the course of the 18th and 19th centuries European colonial power invaded these very different empires, did the European, and therefore Roman, concept of empire transpire in local culture, i.e. traditions of representing and performing imperial ideology? Alternatively, this session will also allow for discussion concerning empire ‘without empire’: in an era of unprecedented global economic crisis, in a world that has become a ‘global village’, globalization and international financial capitalism have been characterized as the most recent translations of empire, of the interplay between personified ‘financial markets’ which herald the advent of a reinvented kind of empire.

Rome, Italy, 22–23 October 2014. This International Conference is organized by Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in collaboration with Università degli Studi di Roma 2 “Tor Vergata.” The conference, to be held at Palazzo Carpegna, Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, is dedicated to the architect Carlo Fontana (Rancate 1638 – Roma 1714) on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of his death. The protagonist of Roman architecture as the Baroque was waning, Fontana, descending from a famous dynasty of Ticinese architects, organized the teaching and practice of architecture based on the exercise of drawing and geometry. His workshop thus prefigured modern design studios. The propagandistic usage of engravings and printed volumes illustrating and diffusing Fontana’s works and ideas constituted yet another factor of his modernity. In fact, Fontana understood perfectly the dimension of intellectual and creative freedom of the print, liberating himself from the dependence on patrons and from morphological and typological conventions of his time. The projects of Carlo Fontana range from artifacts of domestic use, interiors, civil, religious and military architecture to the most challenging urban and territorial infrastructures (ports, aqueducts, grain warehouses, etc.). These design and entrepreneurial features are comparable then to the great architectural studios of the 19th and 20th centuries, confirming Fontana’s actuality. Such an innovative workshop organization attracted students from all over Europe: Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, Nicodemus Tessin, Lucas von Hildebrandt, Filippo Juvarra, Francesco Specchi, and James Gibbs, to name a few. In Fontana’s studio students could learn innovative typologies, modern and experimental techniques, at the same time measuring themselves up to the great Roman construction tradition, both ancient and modern. Their direct contact with monuments was favored by the works Fontana executed on antique buildings to make them fit for new usages and new representations. Papers will encompass and explore, but by no means be limited to, the above mentioned aspects, always bearing in mind the cosmopolitan and European horizon that characterizes the production,  teaching, and  thought of architect Carlo Fontana. Questions may be sent by e-mail message.

6-7 November, Brussels. Augustus through the Ages: receptions, readings and appropriations of the historical figure of the first Roman emperor. Augusti Manes volitant per auras. In 2014, many academic institutions and museums will celebrate the bi-millennial of the death of Augustus with colloquiums, exhibitions, and publications. The life, the political ingenuity, and the era of the founder of the Roman Empire have not been honored or discussed in this manner since 1937-1938, when an exhibition, the Mostra augustea della Romanità, at the instigation of the Fascist regime, celebrated the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of the Emperor. Yet the outcome of the re-examinations in 2014 will not be complete if emphasis is not put on the enduring fame and fortune he experienced in the West, for this renowned figure created an empire which united, for the first time, the Mediterranean with the regions north of the Alps. The importance of this personage throughout our recorded cultural history makes a multidisciplinary approach essential. It is therefore, as diverse field and period specialists, that we wish to invite our Belgian and foreign university colleagues to bring together their skills and knowledge – in the distinct fields of history, cultural history, literature, art history, semiotics, etc. – to retrace the multiple interpretations and appropriations of Augustus from his death to the present days. This colloquium will bring together historians, philologists, archaeologists, and art historians of different periods to present papers on various topics in accordance with the following guidelines: Receptions of Augustan politics and ideology and their appropriations; Religious appropriations; Representations of Augustus in mixed media (e.g. comics, television series); Augustus in literature and the arts, or in movies and on the Web; Memory of Augustus as the “urban designer” who transformed Rome into a city of marble. Questions may be directed by e-mail to Marco Cavalieri. Organizing Committee: Pierre Assenmaker (F.R.S.-FNRS/UCLouvain) Mattia Cavagna (UCLouvain) Marco Cavalieri (UCLouvain/Università degli Studi di Firenze, SSBA) David Engels (ULB, Bruxelles) Costantino Maeder (UCLouvain).

13-14 November 2014, The Warburg Institute, London. Early modern Europe found new fascination in the classical past, but how that past was conceived varied widely. This conference will explore diverse notions of antiquity across Europe in the early modern era, challenging assumptions about a Greco-Roman past and a ‘Renaissance’ that were both universal and monolithic. It is already well known that multiple ‘antiquities’ informed the artistic and literary culture of Rome, Florence and Venice and much recent work has been done on the reception of antiquity in France, Germany and the Netherlands. Our conference will consider how this research has fundamentally changed the perception of European antiquarianism and further explore the reception of the classical past on the local and regional level. European communities considered local antiquities as living testaments to their antique origins, whether real or fictive. They looked not only to Greco-Roman antiquity, but also to the culture of pre-Roman, indigenous populations. Cities and regions shaped their notions of the ‘antique’ not only from a classical heritage but also that of more recent past, as when medieval objects or texts were believed to be ancient or purposely re-fashioned as such. Real or fictive ruins, inscriptions, or literary works could be used to demonstrate a particular idea of the ancient past or as a statement of civic pride. Described in poetry or other texts, antiquities were central to the literary traditions of local communities; works of art and architecture either redeployed spolia of recognizable local provenance or were characterized by a regional concept of the antique. Adopting an interdisciplinary and comparative method, the conference aims to investigate such issues. We seek abstracts for papers that explore local concepts of the antique in the form of archaeological excavations, works of art, architecture, or texts. How were local antiquities used to construct a sense of identity for civic bodies or individuals? How did imported modes of classical revival merge or clash with local idioms? How did local communities respond to or attempt to rival Rome and other heirs to antique traditions? Papers might address issues of competing ‘antiquities’, the character and priorities of local concepts of the antique, or relationships between concepts of antiquity in various regions. They might also consider wider aspects of the local reception of antiquity, such as patterns in myths of origins that recur in different areas of Europe. We would welcome any topic dealing with the impact of local concepts of antiquity in early modern literature, antiquarianism or the visual arts. This 2-day conference organized by Kathleen Christian (The Open University, Department of History of Art) and Bianca de Divitiis (ERC/HistAntArtSI project, University of Naples Federico II) will be held at the Warburg Institute in London on Thursday November 13–Friday November 14, 2014. Questions should be directed to Kathleen Christian and Bianca de Divitiis.

Past Conferences on Italian Topics
Conferences 2014
Conferences 2013
Conferences 2012
Conferences 2011
Conferences 2010

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