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 2015 IAS/Kress Lecture in Italy will be in Naples. Interested speakers are encouraged to apply by 4 January 2015. More information.

2014 IAS/Kress Lecture, Pisa: Gipsoteca, San Paolo all’Orto; Photo credit: Cathleen Fleck
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 2013 IAS/Kress Lecture, Rome: Fondazione Marco Besso; Photo credit: Humberto Nicoletti Serra
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

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. See our submission guidelines for eligibility requirements and instructions.

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.

6-7 November 2014, Lugano. From 28 September 2014 to 11 January 2015 the Museo Cantonale d’Arte in Lugano will host a major exhibition consecrated to Bartolomeo Suardi, known as Bramantino. The exhibition will trace the artist’s entire cultural and expressive itinerary, from the onset of his career to his very last works. Works of Bramantino will be shown alongside paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculptures and goldsmith’s art which represent, in a tightly-knit web of exchanges and interferences, the most important Lombard figurative tendencies within the frame of the Italian Wars and the French rule of Lombardy (1499-1525). Since the exhibition will constitute an important opportunity to re-examine the works of Bramantino and of his contemporaries, the Museo Cantonale d’Arte promotes a two-day symposium to present and discuss the most recent studies of the researchers active in this field. The symposium will take place in Lugano from the 6th to the 7th of November 2014. The symposium aims at bringing together art historical presentations as well as technical and scientific investigations reports on specific works. The proceedings of the symposium will then be published in a volume of the series Biblioteca d’Arte Skira. Proposals in the form of an abstract of 2000 keystrokes for a contribution of max. 15-20 minutes should be sent with a brief CV by e-mail. Deadline: 31 July 2014.

7 May 2015, Florence, Italy. The 3rd annual Jane Fortune Conference organized by the Medici Archive Project and hosted by the British Institute in Florence will examine in depth the recent findings on baroque artist Artemisia Genitleschi. To participate with a 20-minute paper, send a 1-page paper proposal and CV to Sheila Barker:  Full information can be found on the conference website. Deadline 15 August 2014.

6-7 March 2015, Zürich, Cabaret Voltaire. Keynote speakers: Dr. Victor Buchli (University College London) Prof. Dr. Andrew Leach (Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia) Prof. Dr. Michael Osman (UCLA, Los Angeles). 
Against the background of a general revision and critical reflection of the history of architecture in its relation to theory and criticism, this conference aims at opening up a space of discussion on the contemporary nature and condition of architectural history. We propose to do so by referring to the legacy of Italian historian and theoretician Manfredo Tafuri (1935–1994), who may be seen as one of the most influential thinkers of the relationship between the history and theory of architecture of the contemporary period. Architecture is a shifting and elusive object whose nature remains difficult to define. It relates not only to buildings and projects, but also to written and oral sources, and is deeply embedded in social, economical, and political contexts. For this reason, architectural history seems to be predestinated to be interdisciplinary and calls for a multitude of historical narratives. Furthermore, the relatively weak disciplinary condition of architectural history leans on a long tradition of partial and subjective histories that have often been written by architects themselves. This leads to the question whether an “objective” history of architecture is possible, and to what extent architectural history is fundamentally linked to changing architectural trends. But while both “general” history and the history of art have performed a critical reframing of their claim for objectivity and have underscored the implicit theory and ideology beyond every form of historical narrative, architectural history, by contrast, has widely escaped such a critical reframing. And while in particular art history has reflected upon the history of theories that framed its discourse – the history of style, iconology, phenomenology, to name but a few – this kind of reflection seems to be yet missing for the history of architecture. The work of Manfredo Tafuri is an interesting starting point for such a reflection on the nature of the history of architecture. Tafuri’s position was mainly based on a questioning of what he called “operational critique,” which was put in the service of a particular architectural tendency. By contrast, he defined his own critical take as progetto storico, as a performative and self-reflexive questioning of the history of architecture. His work was strongly influenced by historical materialism, thus highlighting the socio-economic and political conditions in which architecture is embedded. We propose to understand Tafuri as a critical agent, for questioning both his own theory of history and the nature of architectural history today. We propose to do so in reference to cultural models underlying our current position, in particular the resurgence of Marxism and historical materialism in contemporary architecture. By undertaking a critical reevaluation of Tafuri’s legacy from a contemporary perspective, we not only aim to point at the inherent aporias in the Italian historian’s thinking, but also want to contribute towards a theoretical framing of the discipline of architectural history. The conference is divided into three sections:

1) The many styles of architectural history. If architectural history (like art history) has been determined by a sequence of different methodological foci (style, iconology, phenomenology, technology, social history, etc.), where do we situate Tafuri in this continuity and where do we situate ourselves in the current debates? Do historical methodologies represent a toolbox of possible heuristic approaches to chose from, or should these all coexist in any contemporary historical work? If we roughly distinguish between the (formal) description of projects/buildings and their political/cultural/economic contexts, and how can and should their relationship be defined?

2) Architectural history and the zeitgeist. What are the historical and theoretical narratives underlying our thinking today, and to what extent is it possible to abstract from them? Can and should we escape the cultural and political context in which we act? Regarding Tafuri, it is interesting to reflect upon his repeated but difficult to understand critique of deconstruction, and upon the strong influence of structuralism in his work, as well as the difficulty to combine it with Marxist thought.

3) Architectural history and contemporary architecture. To what extent should the architectural historian comment upon contemporary architecture? Would this be theory or criticism, and how may it be differentiated from the writing of history? While criticizing the critica operativa because of its engagement with contemporary architecture, Tafuri too referred frequently to contemporary architectural discourse and had many personal relationships with architects of his time, thus pointing at another contradiction in his theoretical and historical oeuvre.

We invite interested individuals from art and architectural history, history, and cultural studies, as well as related disciplines to send a 250-word abstract and short CV to Dr. Andri Gerber, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH, Zurich and Prof. Martino Stierli, Institute of Art History, University of Zurich. Confirmations will be sent out by end of October 2014. The definitive program will be communicated by the end of November 2014. The conference is co-organized by the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zurich, the Institute of Art History, University of Zurich, and the Center History of Knowledge. It is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Depending on funding, grants for travel and accommodation will be made available. Deadline 14 September 2014.

14-17 May 2015, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo. By the late medieval period, merchants formed an integral part of urban society; among their activities, they facilitated trade between city centers, participated in the governing of cities, and were patrons of churches and monasteries. At the same time, the wealth that they amassed and their sometimes morally dubious activities, such as money lending, often left merchants fearful of what the afterlife would bring, causing them to appeal directly to specific saints for intercession. This session seeks to explore the religious lives of these elite members of urban society, specifically considering the individual holy persons to whom merchants appealed for their earthly protection and heavenly salvation as well as the manner in which they made these appeals. As an interdisciplinary discussion of the relationship between merchants and their holy protectors, this session will invite papers examining evidence of specific relationships between merchants and the saints and/or Mary. Papers might consider merchant’s wills, tombs, artistic patronage, manuscript collections, and pilgrimage, as well as the religious practices of merchants’ confraternities and guilds. The session will welcome papers from all disciplines including, but not limited to, history, art history, literature, religious studies, and music. Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words and a participant information form by email to Emily Kelley. Deadline 15 September 2014.

9-11 April 2015. AAH Annual Conference, University of East Anglia, Norwich. In Trecento Italy Giotto di Bondone was working on major commissions in Florence whilst buying property and conducting complex business transactions in the rural Mugello. Michelangelo, as recently published documents show, also accumulated wealth from a variety of sources in addition to his art. In sixteenth century Northern Europe Dürer exemplified the spirit of commercial enterprise by employing agents to sell his engravings and find new markets for his works all over the Netherlands. Less commonly women artists made economic contributions to family workshops. The commercial astuteness of the engraver and printmaker Diana Scultori, who held a Papal Privilege allowing her to sign and market her work, is a notable example. Artists were ambitious and money mattered. The economic interaction between artists, patrons, institutions and ideologies in Europe 1300 -1600 is the focus of ongoing critical study, including recent exhibitions exploring the influence of bankers, merchants and international trade on art and artists. This session encourages a multidisciplinary approach to debate the idea of the artist as businessman or woman. It will consider the ways in which artists were developing and exploiting networks of wealthy patrons and producing works which engaged with changing and often controversial economic discourse. Papers will be welcomed which explore these issues. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words, and should be sent to the session organizers Jill Harrison and Vicky Ley along with a short CV (max 2 pages) and a biographical note. Deadline 10 November 2014.

29 Jan-1 Feb 2015, Athens, GA. The 2015 Southern Humanities Council Conference invites proposals for papers on the theme “Virtues and Vices; Desires, Devices.” The topic is interdisciplinary and invites proposals from all disciplines and areas of study, as well as creative pieces including but not limited to performance, music, art, and literature. (Please note that the name of our organization simply reflects its having been founded in the U.S. south; no presenter is expected to present anything “southern,” though southern topics are also welcomed. Conference attendees come from all over the United States and Canada.) Send proposals of 300-500 words by email to Mark Ledbetter or if sending by U.S. Postal Service, Mark Ledbetter, Executive Director, SHC, P.O. Box 2546, The College of St. Rose, 432 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203. If possible, send all proposals by email. Visit our website for more information. Topics are not limited to any one area and may integrate the theme in trans-disciplinary or interdisciplinary ways, that is, the paper may address Virtues and Vices; Desires, Devices from particular perspectives or a paper may address the integration of two or more dimensions of the theme. Deadline 15 December 2014.

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

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. For more information, please visit: Questions may be directed to Benjamin Eldredge (Bibliotheca Hertziana) and Bettina Morlang-Schardon (Bibliotheca Hertziana).

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.

12-13 September 2014. University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Recent scholarship in the history of information, art, and science has emphasized how knowledge and ideas flowed in varied ways and circulated between people of different social status with distinct levels of formal education and access to power. This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore in greater depth the ways that material spaces of the early modern city functioned to facilitate cultural encounters and the nature of these exchanges. Where did the exchange of knowledge take place (from workshops to streets to bridges to classrooms to marketplaces to churches, etc.)? Was the physical arrangement of these places conducive to interaction (e.g. openness to street; benches outside)? How open or closed were spaces to different kinds of people? What sort of information did city dwellers and travelers seek and why; what knowledge and information did they bring to these encounters and what did they receive? Were ideas shared openly and how was information demonstrated? How did visitors participate (did they simply watch or did they take part)? We hope to uncover cases of unexpected encounters (in terms of participants and information) by using creatively the surviving evidence (e.g. graffiti, architecture, marginalia, sketches, books of secrets, ricordanze, archival records, etc.). In addition we aim to illuminate the ways in which the activities and vocabulary of different spaces permeated multiple disciplines and discourses (e.g. politics, poetry, philosophy, etc.), often generating new ideas. Speakers: Niall Atkinson (Chicago), Christina Neilson (Oberlin College), Nick Terpstra (Toronto), Yvonne Elet (Vassar College), Nicoletta Marcelli (Macerata), Cecilia Hewlett (Monash), Roisin Cossar (Manitoba), Tom Cohen (York), Elizabeth Cohen (York), Dario Tessicini (Durham), Filippo De Vivo (Birkbeck). Click here for full program. Advanced registration for the conference is necessary. Please register online by September 1, including your name and institutional affiliation. Due to budgetary restrictions, lunches are open to presenters and discussants only. This conference is generously funded by The Lila Wallace – Reader’s Digest Special Project Grant from Villa I Tatti: The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and a Connection Grant from the Canadian Government’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Thanks also to the University of Manitoba’s Institute for the Humanities and Department of History.

25 – 27 September 2014. On the occasion of the exhibition Paolo Veronese. L’illusione della realtà (Verona, Palazzo della Gran Guardia, 5th July – 5th October 2014), curated by Paola Marini and Bernard Aikema, an international conference will take place to discuss the new points of view on Paolo Veronese as emerged during the two monographic exhibitions in London and Verona. A poster session will run simultaneously to the conference.

10-12 October 2014, MEWO Kunsthalle, Memmingen. Research in the history of collecting has often focused on the development and the uses of historical collections of art and artifacts, their composition and the choreography of display. Over the past decade, the international forum Collecting & Display has been investigating diverse aspects of Collecting History: female collectors, dynastic ambition, the role of nature, or the location of display rooms within the context of princely residences. To celebrate the first decade of our existence as well as the launch of a dedicated series of publications – “Collecting Histories” under the editorship of founding member Andrea Gáldy, PhD, FHistS – we will host a conference dedicated to new directions in the areas of collecting, display, visitor experience and the use of modern media in today’s museums that might or might not dispel with the need to engage with actual objects, and whether and how the engagement with the history of collections has influenced and modified contemporary museology. With this event we intend to look forward towards a future, which oftentimes looks bleak due to funding cuts but also offers exciting prospects as far as the diverse possibilities of display are concerned; not to forget the rising visitor numbers at many of the great museums worldwide. What is the mission of collections and museums? And, how does one balance the history of collections and the collections themselves against the need for outreach activities, the call for edutainment and popular access in conjunction with a sustainable use of collectibles? Is there a way in which the past of a collection may point the way towards the best practice in use and presentation of the exhibits? Questions may be directed to Dr. Andrea Gáldy and Dr. Axel Lapp. Memmingen is easy to reach by train via Munich or Stuttgart/Ulm as well as by plane to the Allgaeu Airport.

22–23 October 2014, Rome, Italy. 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.

19-22 October 2014, Athens, GA. The Nomadikon Center for the Visual Arts, Bergen, NO and The Center for the Ethics of Seeing, Albany, NY seeks abstracts for interdisciplinary conference. In his Theory of the Film (1952), Bela Balázs wrote that “[f]acial expression is the most subjective manifestation of man, more subjective than speech.” In the close-up, the Hungarian film theorist and writer saw an image unbound by time and space, thus identifying the point at which the film image could become a concept, a supremely expressive unit of signification closer than other types of images to thought. In contemporary visual culture, the visibility of the face is a given, and some would perhaps claim that its presence has become almost ubiquitous. Consider for instance that in 2013 Oxford Dictionaries named selfie the word of the year. Yet despite its cultural pervasiveness, the face remains a curiously overlooked subject of research in the humanities and social sciences. For this conference, we invite papers from any discipline that engage with faciality and the face as a phenomenological, social, cultural, aesthetic, visual, literary, philosophical, semiotic, historical, and textual object. Particularly welcome are discussions that explore the concept and materiality of the face in the arts, with their rich traditions for representing faciality – photography, cinema studies, art history, literature, dance, theatre and performance, and social media and the digital arts. As an aesthetic category spanning a range of different media, the face often seems potentially self-referential. When drawing attention to itself, the face may become a source of opacity which inhibits the hermeneutic flow, something which strips away all context until the only thing we are left with is its sheer material presence. The filmic face is also enigmatic. The film theorist Richard Rushton (2002) has observed that we tend to suppose that the face is hiding something, that it represents “a surface haunted by intimations of concealment, interiority and exteriority.” Taking the impenetrability of the face as its point of departure, then, this conference encourages submissions on a variety of topics relating to the face and faciality, including but in no way limited to the following: the close-up and its long history in the moving arts (i.e. Dreyer, Bergman, Warhol, Cassavetes, Leone, Godard, Pasolini, Tarkovsky, Egoyan, Assayas and Kiarostami, to name just a few); the face as a mask (the poker face or blackface, but also in Heidegger’s conception of the image—the Latin imago—as a death mask); the face as a site of ethical encounter in the philosophy of Levinas (face-to-face); Deleuze’s notion of the affection-image, or his study of the dismantling of face in the portrait paintings of Francis Bacon; the cinematic reaction shot; the culture of Facebook and the “selfie;” the portrait genre throughout art history; the face as pure surface or exteriority (the face of the earth); the face in relation to ethnicity/race/gender; the digital interface; the various permutations of the look/the gaze/the glance; the face and sexuality; the face of/face and disability; iconicity and the face; the face and ethics; the veiled face; the face and iconophobia – etc. The conference will be held at the Foundry Inn in downtown Athens. This conference is a continued partnership between the Nomadikon Center for Visual Culture, Bergen, Norway and The Center for the Ethics of Seeing, Albany, New York. The previous conference in this partnership was “The Ecologies of Seeing,” hosted in the fall of 2012 at The College of Saint Rose, Albany, New York. Registration for the conference is $130.00. For further information, contact organizers Mark Ledbetter, Susan Cumings, and Theresa Flanigan.

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. Questions may be directed to the organizers by email. The Acts of the Study-Day will be published in a monographic issue of the journal Arte lombarda.

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.

13-14 November 2014, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. An international conference organized by the Center for Italian Studies and the Music Department of the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Institute for Music of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Italy. For more on the theme of the conference, please see the conference website. Questions may be directed to Mauro Calcagno.  Organizing Committee: Fabio Finotti, Mauro Calcagno, Carlo Lanfossi, Marina Della Putta Johnston. Registration Fee: professionals $100; students $70; Closing Dinner: $50.

27-29 November 2014, Institute of Art History – Center Cvito Fiskovic in Split, Croatia. The Grand Tour, as an educational rite of passage, reached its peak in the 18th century, widening its traveling radius outside of Rome and Italy onto further parts of the Roman Empire, among which Dalmatia held a prominent position. The international interdisciplinary conference on architecture, urban planning, and architectural decoration aims to explore the role of Diocletian’s Palace in the work of Robert Adam, Charles-Louis Clérisseau, and Louis-François Cassas, as well as the influence of Diocletian’s palace on the development of European neoclassicism.

9-10 February 2015, The Center for Modern Italian Art, New York, conference and study day organized by Sharon Hecker and Marin R. Sullivan. Sponsored by CIMA and the Italian Art Society. 2015 marks the thirty-year anniversary of curator Germano Celant’s The Knot, the 1985 landmark exhibition held at PS1 in New York, which introduced contemporary Italian art to American audiences. Yet despite the interest it generated in its time, only recently have scholars in the United States begun to consider postwar Italian art as a subject for study. Today, thanks to shows like the Tate Modern/Walker Art Center’s Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972, scholars on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly turning their attention to study Italian art created after World War II. Italian archives are becoming more accessible, more primary texts have been translated into English, and a growing number of museum and gallery exhibitions, conferences and English publications in both the U.S. and the U.K. are beginning to fill the lacuna. With the passage of half a century, European and American scholars alike are using these venues to historicize and scrutinize the complex dichotomies that defined Italy during the period: from its dialogue with artistic and craft traditions of the past within the context of rapid industrialization, to the so-called “economic miracle” and the effects of American consumerism, to the mechanics of Italy’s desire to establish a particular kind of Italian Modernism that would also become internationally influential. The Italian national context that once appeared to Anglo-American scholars as provincial, homogenous, or retrograde is now considered a crucial art historical moment bursting with distinct artists, radical groups and tendencies, including Informale, Gruppo N, and Arte Povera, as well as artworks shaped by concurrent historical developments in science, industry, politics, literature, photography, architecture, design and film. A scholarly outlook on art created in Italy during the postwar period has now fully emerged in the U.K. and U.S., but its parameters and impact have yet to be assessed. This study day seeks to evaluate the current state of the field and to highlight alternative methodologies for future inquiry. Scheduled for February 10, 2015, the day prior to the opening of the College Art Association’s 103rd Annual Conference in New York, it will complement the IAS-sponsored session, “Di politica: Intersections of Italian Art and Politics since World War II,” chaired by Dr. Christopher Bennett and Dr. Elizabeth Mangini. Through brief paper presentations, ample discussion, and a respondent roundtable, the goal of the study day is to address and explore the most pressing issues, concerns, and questions driving postwar Italian art history on both sides of the Atlantic today. Are those concerns the same for Italian and non-Italian scholars of different generations? How do we take into account regional differences and, at the same time, questions of a unified national Italian identity? How did novel materials and the emergence of industrial design impact the visual arts in Italy and vice versa? What was new about art made in Italy during this time and what continued or was rephrased, reshaped and recycled (either critically or uncritically) from the immediate, Fascist or more distant past (for example, Futurism, or even further back, from the nineteenth century, the Renaissance, the Baroque, Medieval or Ancient periods)? While the primary focus of the conference is Italy and Italian artists between 1945 and 1975, we also welcome case studies—with an eye to methodology—that examine cross-cultural exchange, including the reception of Italian art internationally or the presence of foreign artists in Italy; the impact of international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale; or the influence of the postwar generation on art being produced around the world today. Click here to see the program of speakers.

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

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