IAS at Renaissance Society of America (RSA)

See below for more information on currentupcoming, and past IAS participation at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting.

Current Conference

63rd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Chicago, 30 March – 1 April, 2017

2017 ITALIAN ART SOCIETY JOINT RECEPTION AT RSA: Please join the Italian Art Society, the Historians of Netherlandish Art, and the Bibliotheca Hertziana on Friday, 31 March from 7 to 9 PM for our reception held during the Renaissance Society of America annual meeting. The reception will be at the Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago. RSVP to rsvp@italianartsociety.org

This IAS sponsor the following sessions at RSA:

Altarpieces on the Move: Religious Art Redeployed in Early Modern Italy

Sat, April 1, 10:30am to 12:00pm, Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Burnham 1

Altarpieces for the Home: Tracing Shifting Collectors’ Tastes in Mid-Seventeenth-Century Rome

During the 1640s, Mattia Preti painted two large-scale, vertically oriented paintings with religious subjects that, given their format and subject matter, appeared to be altarpieces. Yet, the first, St. Catherine of Alexandria in Prison (1640-42), was documented in Don Maffeo Barberini’s collection by 1655. The second, Crucifixion of St. Peter (1645-46), entered Cristiana Duglioli Angelelli’s private picture gallery immediately upon completion. In short, these altarpiece-format paintings were never located in a chapel or church. Taking these canvases as case studies, this paper argues for a shift in seventeenth-century Roman collecting practices. I suggest that this new taste for large-scale, altarpiece-format pictures, which were commissioned for display in palaces, evolved from the earlier trend of collectors acquiring altarpieces from churches. Thus, this paper will demonstrate how the collection of altarpieces for the home profoundly altered trends in artistic production and the market for paintings by the middle of the seventeenth century. – Melissa Yuen, Rutgers University

The Rejection of Ludovico Carracci’s St. Sebastian and Forza as an Early Seicento Aesthetic Criterion

A letter from Maffeo Barberini to his brother in Rome provides the sole evidence for the decision to place Ludovico Carracci’s St. Sebastian Thrown into the Cloaca Maxima (1612) in Maffeo’s own collection rather than in the unrealized chapel within Sant’Andrea della Valle for which it was intended. Maffeo declared that the painting was a “ben rappresentazione di forza, ma non dà tanto devotione.” In the painting, Sebastian’s body is suspended precipitously—forcefully—over the sewers, threatening to invade the viewer’s space—a devotion disruption. This paper considers forza as an aesthetic descriptor in the early seicento, one in dialectical opposition to devotione. In the 1630s, Maffeo published several sonnets devoted to the concept of forza that shed light on his attitude toward the painting and, together with an analysis of other contemporary altarpieces and critics, allow a better understanding of the painting’s qualities that ultimately determined its fate. – Jeffrey Fraiman, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Absence and Presence: Correggio’s San Giorgio Altarpiece after its Acquisition by the Duke of Modena

Francesco I d’Este, as the Duke of Modena, appropriated dozens of altarpieces from religious institutions within his duchy. One of these was the Madonna di San Giorgio by Correggio, acquired from the Confraternità di San Pietro Martire. In exchange for the painting, the duke offered to commission a replacement and to provide funds to redecorate the altar. In this presentation, I will compare the reception of the original altarpiece in the duke’s gallery to its absence in the oratory, and, using archival sources, examine the details of the acquisition, particularly focusing on how the confratelli reacted to the removal of their altarpiece. The ways in which the brothers had previously protected their painting will also be examined to provide context for their dismay, which was initially caused by the loss of their painting, and intensified during the twenty years they were forced to spend with an uninspiring altar. –  Alyssa Abraham, Queen’s University Kingston

The Bifurcation of Art and Image: Displaced Altarpieces and Their Substitute Copies

Starting in the late sixteenth century, collectors throughout the Italian peninsula began extracting altarpieces from churches for display in private galleries where they were reconstituted as works of art. Often these collectors commissioned near-identical copies that would continue to perform the devotional and liturgical functions of the lost original. The aesthetic values and sacred meaning that had co-mingled in the original altarpiece were thus divided in real, physical terms for separate audiences in separate venues. This paper examines altarpieces and their substitute copies within the context of the mounting controversies surrounding religious art that culminated in the Tridentine decree on sacred images. I will consider how late sixteenth-century discourse on religious art, including texts by Gilio, Borghini, and Paleotti, laid the groundwork for the desacralization of altarpieces that had long been objects of aesthetic attention as well as how ecclesiastics responded to the removal of prized works in their custody. – Sandra Richards, Department of Canadian Heritage

Eternal Painting? The Meaning and Materiality of Copper Supports

Fri, March 31, 5:30 to 7:00pm, Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Clark 10

 Organizers

Alexander Noell, Courtauld Institute of Art

Sally Higgs, Courtauld Institute of Art

Chair

Sean Roberts, Vill I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies

Respondent

Sean Roberts, Vill I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies

Leonardo da Vinci, Paragone, and the Reifying Impetus for Painting on Metal- and Stone-Supports

Scholars like Isabel Horovitz generally link the phenomenon of early-modern, copper- supported paintings to their optical effects and their material novelty within the “display culture” of elite collecting practices. Alternatively, 16th-century painters chose metal and also stone supports in an attempt to synthesize sculpture’s physical durability and painting’s polychromatic verisimilitude — the most salient characteristics of each artistic medium — and thereby materialize their superiority vis-à-vis sculptors within the aesthetic debate known as the Paragone. Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Ginevra de’Benci from the 1470s reified this idea by depicting a faux stone slab of porphyry on its verso, thereby establishing an example of how painters could overcome the Paragone in their favor. In this context, copper plates represented a lighter, less expensive alternative to stone panels for deployment as painting supports, but shared with them an origin in the practice and theory of Leonardo, and a sustained relevance within the Paragone. – Brad Cavallo, Temple University

Eternal Painting, Ephemeral Condition: Masking, Disguising, and Dancing as an Equivalent of Painting on Copper?

Recent studies have demonstrated that painters utilized copper supports for more than their “eternal” durability, at times attempting to associate the physical support and the narrative subject conceptually. In the sixteenth century, certain paintings on copper presented images depicting the transformation of an individual, and this paper will focus on two such examples: The Coral Fishers by Jacopo Zucchi (Galleria Borghese, Rome) and The Peasant Dance by Jan Brueghel I (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux). The subject matter of both paintings relates to the transformation of the self, either through the masking of the prince or through the act of dancing. The links between the theory of elements related to the material of the supports and the theory of humors will be examined, as will the connections with English miniatures of portraits in masque. This discussion will lead to a better understanding of the motivations behind the use copper supports. – Julia Maillard, École des hautes études en sciences sociales

Lying in State: The Effigy in Early Modern Italian Funerary Art ca. 1400–1600 I

Sat, April 1, 8:30 to 10:00am, Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Burnham 4

 Organizer

Lara R. Langer, CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Chair

Sheryl E. Reiss, Independent Scholar
Saints Lying in State: Presentation versus Representation 

In fifteenth-century Italy fundamental changes in saints’ cults occurred: bodies of the novel venerated were no longer fragmented, but measures were taken to guarantee their integrity and incorruptibility. My paper explores visual strategies within funerary monuments for quattrocento saints, oscillating between reinterpretation and negation of the gisant. The wooden effigy of Angela of Foligno (1500), for example, was not simply the portrayal of the departed, but a life-size reliquary. By representing the deceased, Gabriele Ferretti’s tomb (1489) resembled wall monuments with an effigy, yet it permitted visual contact with the venerated body through an aperture in the sarcophagus. Bernardino of Siena’s mausoleum (1505) did not depict a gisant in the expected position, replacing it by the corpse itself displayed in large openings, thereby substituting representation with presentation. Bernardino’s presence addressed theories of “real presence” of divine virtus in relics as well as ostentatious pride in owning the entire saint’s body. ­ Pavla Langer, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut

Italian Renaissance Effigies Neither Dead Nor Alive

I will present—largely through my own unpublished photographs—a group of fifteenth and early sixteenth century Italian effigies showing the body at the point of death. Containing subtle traces of life, and being neither completely inert nor fully alert, these effigies describe ambiguous in-between conditions. This paper will focus on the climax and sudden falling away of this as yet unrecognized mode of representation. I have found no examples of the at-death effigy in Italy after 1529. The timing of its disappearance therefore correlates with Erwin Panofsky’s observations about the activation of the effigy in the early sixteenth century. I will suggest that these at-death effigies constitute a transitory stage between the “sleeping” and “awake” states. I will also discuss subtle similarities between this newly identified intermediate group and the decaying cadaver effigies popular north of the Alps because these similarities suggest continuity and challenge the notion of a sudden “awakening. – Katerina Harris, New York University

The Long Sleep: Andrea Sansovino and the Cardinal Effigies at Santa Maria del Popolo

Andrea Sansovino’s twin cardinal tombs at Santa Maria del Popolo, produced between 1505 and 1509 for Pope Julius II, stand facing each other in the main chapel as eloquent commemorative monuments of the deceased and as masterpieces of marble by the artist. The twin tombs mark a critical shift in the function of memorialization of ecclesiastical figures. Some scholars, such as Erwin Panofsky, argued that the cardinals’ effigies are the most innovative and distinguishing feature on the tombs. The effigies are displayed as demi gisants with their heads rested on their hands propped by an elbow as if to appear in a state of slumber. This paper seeks to address the possible motivations for Sansovino’s unusual cardinal effigies, which inspired copyists, and will suggest that their unique qualities could be related to Augustinian notions of the “restful soul” and man’s salvation, themes highlighted throughout the visual program of the chapel. – Lara R. Langer, CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Lying in State: The Effigy in Early Modern Italian Funerary Art ca. 1400–1600 II

Sat, April 1, 10:30am to 12:00pm, Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Burnham 4

 Organizer

Lara R. Langer, CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Chair

Lara R. Langer, CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Effigies are for Girls: Representing Women in Death in Quattrocento Italy

Jacopo della Quercia’s famous tomb of Ilaria del Caretto is typically considered the only notable—and sometimes even the lone—female effigy from fifteenth-century Italy. This paper looks beyond Ilaria to many other effigial tombs created for women in that century and examines how they were adapted to an array of biographical concerns and commemorative motivations. Although always “asleep,” the range of features presented in these effigies belies attempts to group them into a monolithic type. Specifically, this paper examines how these figures were dressed, their facial features—including whether they were youthfully ideal or virtuously wizened—and their attributes, such as dogs, prayer books, or empty hands. It concludes that these public portraits of women in death thoughtfully engaged varied commemorative modes, particularly regarding ideals of beauty and virtue. These strategic choices lay the groundwork for sixteenth-century changes, which included greater numbers and greater representational diversity in women’s effigies. – Brenna Graham, Independent Scholar.

Sienese Funeral Effigies: A Case Study in Cross-Cultural Exchange in Central Italy

Scholars often frame Siena as isolationist, yet from its beginning the republic was internationally vital, sending artists to work abroad and calling upon foreign artists to work in Siena. The diverse style of funeral effigies by Sienese sculptors, honoring patrons and high-ranking ecclesiastics, illustrates the cross-cultural transfer between Siena and Central Italy. Sienese Jacopo della Quercia’s unprecedented all’antica tomb for the Giunigi in Lucca, Ilaria del Carretto; Florentine Donatello’s groundbreaking perspectival effigy of Sienese Bishop Pecci; and, Sienese Giovanni di Stefano’s bronze naturalistic effigy of Venetian Cardinal Foscari for Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome demonstrate the demand for Sienese sculptors across Italy and the reception of foreign artists such as Donatello in Siena. Sienese sculptors assimilated elements derived from ancient Rome and humanist Florence, while retaining their native Sienese artistic traditions. In sum, I examine the overall importance of cross-cultural exchange in Sienese tomb design throughout the Italian peninsula. – Maria Lucca, The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Tomb of the Prince of Kleve: Medieval Iconography in a Counter-Reformation Monument

The kneeling effigy appears for the first time in Rome on the tomb of Karl Friedrich von Julich-Kleve-Berg (1577–79). The monument is an example of the revival of late medieval tomb types that often displayed the deceased multiple times; for example, as a reclining effigy and a kneeling supplicant. The display of neo-medieval features was part of Pope Gregory XIII’s propaganda to celebrate the Golden Age of Catholic doctrine. This paper will demonstrate how the imagery exhibited on the Kleve tomb celebrates the main tenets of the Counter-Reformation, particularly because much of the prince’s reign occurred during an intense period of strife between Catholics and Protestants. In addition, two concept drawings, attributed to Hans Speckaert, of the tomb’s relief work offer insight into the composition process, and demonstrate the possible collaboration between Speckaert, a well-known painter and draughtsman, and the Flemish workshop that produced the monument.  – Tancredi Farina, “Sapienza,” Università di Roma

Trecento Art Beyond Italy I

Sat, April 1, 8:30 to 10:00am, Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor, Indiana Room

Organizer

Amy E. Gillette, St. Joseph’s University

Chair

Amy E. Gillette, St. Joseph’s University

Art in a Cross-Confessional Context: A Trecento Icon at the Panagia Phanerōmenē in Kastoria

Often the images from the Early Modern era overlay earlier images hidden beneath. Such is the case with a remarkable icon of the Man of Sorrows at the Church of the Panagia Phanerōmenē in Kastoria in northwestern Greece. This icon presents a striking instance of a Western type refashioned to suit an Orthodox liturgical setting. Crafted at the acme of mendicant Italian missionary efforts in Byzantium, it affords insight into the reconceptualization of devotional images by artisans active in the fourteenth-century eastern Mediterranean sphere. This appropriative process was reciprocal, as analysis of other syncretistic images shows. Proceeding from questions of origin and identity traditionally asked of ‘hybrid’ works of art, this paper focuses on function: use-value and the devotional context in which the Phanerōmenē icon served. Embedded within this discussion are comments on the state of Crusader Art and a plea to extend its parameters to encompass Trecento Italian painting  – John Lansdowne, Princeton University

The Role of Genoa in the Arts of Trecento Constantinople

Assessing the impact the Genoese community had on the visual culture of the eastern Mediterranean is not an easy task. While the Genoese were important contributors to the economic, political, and religious environment of a number of cities in throughout the Mediterranean, including Constantinople and Famagusta, their contribution to the built environment is difficult to identify and complicated by an adoption and adaptation of various architectural and decorative forms. The fourteenth century, however, was a period in which Genoese political and religious players asserted themselves more visibly in cities like Famagusta and Constantinople. Using the architecture and decoration of the Arap Camii, the former Dominican church in Constantinople as a case study, his paper will explore the manner in which Genoese identity is expressed visually in this Mediterranean context. – Justine Andrews, University of New Mexico

New Evidence on Simone Martini at Avignon: Work, Network, and Reception

This paper elaborates on the recent discovery of a document that records a hitherto unknown work painted by Simone Martini during his final years in Avignon — effectively his last documented work: an altarpiece dated 1343 commissioned by a lay Florentine patron for the high altar of the Franciscan Church at Avignon. Unpublished evidence from the convent’s archives reveals that Simone’s employment by the Avignon Franciscans was hardly a coincidence, as the as their church was the beating heart of the Italian community in the papal city and counted among its benefactors a number of Simone’s most prestigious former patrons (for instance: Robert of Anjou, Sancia of Mallorca, Jacopo Stefaneshi and Napoleone Orsini). These new insights on Simone’s work and network at Avignon offer the opportunity to reconsider more broadly the impact of Sienese art on late medieval painting at Avignon and the city’s visual identity. – Emma Capron, The Frick Collection

The Trecento Madonna of Cambrai

For nearly a century, the painting venerated as Notre Dame de Grâce de Cambrai has been an exemplar in studies of artistic transmission between northwestern Europe and Byzantium. While scholars note in passing that the painting is Italian, little attention has been paid to the role played by its Trecento origins in shaping its unusual formal qualities and later celebration in the North. This paper first explores the panel’s interweaving of Tuscan, southern Italian and Balkan elements and their possible relationship to papal and Angevin projects previously elided through the simple sobriquet Italo-Byzantine. It then turns to the panel’s later French reception to suggest that parallels to Roman icons attributed to St. Luke, rather than perceived Byzantine origins, lay at the heart of the panel’s fifteenth-century cult. These moments reveal the blurred boundaries of medieval ‘Italy’ and the intersections of ritual and visual translation as interpretive modes. ­ – Christina Normore, Northwestern University

Upcoming Conferences

The 64th Annual Meeting of the RSA will take place 22-24 March 2018 in New Orleans. The 65th meeting is slated for 28-30 March 2019 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Traditionally, the IAS has been able to sponsor up to five sessions at the annual conference of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA). Sessions are typically comprised of three 20-minute papers on Italian Art c. 1300-1700. See our submission guidelines for eligibility requirements to propose a session for IAS at RSA. Please send abstracts of 250 words together with a 1 page cv to programs@italianartsociety.org.

Past IAS Sessions at RSA

2016 62nd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Boston
2015 61st Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Soceity of America, Berlin

2014 60th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, New York
2013 59th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, San Diego
2012 58th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Washington
2011 57th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Montreal
2010 56th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Venice