Past IAS Travel Grant Winners
Jennifer Griffiths, Iowa State University College of Design, Rome and American Academy in Rome, “Savage Beauty: A Futurist Legacy of Self-Design” at the 103rd College Art Association Annual Conference, New York, 11-14 February 2015. Read abstract
In his founding manifesto F.T. Marinetti cast aside the delicate curves of the Victory of Samothrace and in her place he erected the hard angles of a “roaring motorcar.” Woman as Romantic icon, as symbol of art, beauty, and purity, was dethroned in favor of a beautiful machine subject whose divine birth heralded the death of time and space. Italian Futurism aspired to nothing less than a total aesthetic revolution that would remake mankind superhuman in the image of a mechanized world. Futurism’s violent rhetoric of machine optimism has consistently been seen as heralding right-wing despotism and patriarchy. Christine Poggi (Inventing Futurism 2008) and Roger Griffin (“Multiplication of Man” 2009) have seen Futurism’s “dreams of metallized flesh” as those of Italy’s New Man. Hal Foster has insisted, “Even more than creative or destructive, technology is phallic for Marinetti, and desire for phallic power governs not only his machinic fantasies, but his misogynist outbursts as well. This misogyny is more fundamental than either the absence of women in futurism or its attacks on feminism and femininity alike.” (Prosthetic Gods 2006: 120). Reading the movement through the lens of postwar politics, these scholars preemptively dismiss Futurism’s postmodern legacy, but in this paper I propose to explore how Futurism’s “radical irreverence” and “paradoxical feminism” (Lucia Re 1989) prefigured an alternatively progressive narrative, namely, that bodies are not fixed, but constructed, evolving, and expanding possibilities for self-design.
Speaking in February of 2009, almost exactly on the centennial anniversary of the publication of the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, Aimee Mullins delivered a talk in which she asserted, “People that society once considered disabled can now become the architects of their own identities… By combining cutting edge technology, robotics, bionics with the age-old poetry we are moving closer to understanding our collective humanity.” F.T. Marinetti’s metaphorical description of art as “the prolongation of the forest of our veins, which spreads outside the body, into the infinity of time and space,” (Technical Manifesto of Literature 1912) seems to presage this experience of biotechnology. In novels like Mafarka il futurista (1909/10) or manifestos like Extended Man and the Kingdom of the Machine (1915) Marinetti dreamt of a man/machine hybrid, imagining the day when man would “externalize his will.”
When Mullins, actress, model, paralympian and bi-lateral amputee, made her modeling debut on legs carved of ash designed by Alexander McQueen in his 1999 runway show, she embodied the hybrid identity that had been mere fantasy for the Futurist avant-garde. The legs and corresponding ensemble were subsequently shown at the Metropolitan Museum exhibition Savage Beauty in 2011 following McQueen’s suicide. Precisely for the ways that this runway encounter between art, technology and the body seem to be reversals of the patriarchal despotism of the Futurist superman, they ultimately reveal a surprising genealogy of materialism leading from the philosophy of Elizabeth Grosz or Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto (1985) to Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) and back to Futurism.
Andaleeb Banta, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, “Simultaneous Vision in Oberlin’s ‘Holy Family over Verona,'” to be presented in Italian Painting at the 61st Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Berlin, 26–28 March 2015. Read abstract
Since its arrival at the Allen Memorial Art Museum in 1961, “The Holy Family over Verona” has intrigued viewers and confounded interpretations of its unusual appearance. Two overlapping, semi-transparent compositions—a nocturnal view of the city of Verona and a depiction of the Holy Family in a garden—are concurrently joined and separated by the illusionistic rendering of a canvas rolling down to reveal the image beneath. A cartellino offers information about the work’s creation, but fails to reveal the artist’s name or its patron. Instead, it is just one of many illusionistic layers that destabilize a cohesive interpretation of the work, including its categorization as a trompe l’oeil. Rather than trick the eye, this work challenges the viewer to contemplate these interwoven, yet seemingly incompatible, images simultaneously. This paper will consider the work’s relation to simultaneous vision and the visual rhetoric of veiling and revelation in illusionistic Renaissance painting.
Francesca Borgo, Harvard University, “The Beast Within, the Beast Without: Animality and Hybridity in Early Modern Armor Ornamentation,” Presented in Armor as Art at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, New York, 27-29 March. Read abstract
Drawing from and accentuating classical motifs, the surfaces of all’antica armor are inhabited by grotesque heads and hybrid creatures such as harpies, medusas, and centaurs, as well as by an impressive variety of animal exuviae: leonine protomes and paws, ram’s horns, shells, tails, beaks, and wings. In pictorial and sculptural representations, and especially when depicted in battle scenes, such ornaments are often endowed with the appearance of autonomous life, becoming animated through color and movement. Interest in the apotropaic value of animal forms, as well as in the blurring of boundaries between species, finds radical expression in Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari, where the exercise of war leads to a metamorphosis of the warriors’ bodies. Bringing into focus early modern ideas about the behavioral and morphological proximity of living beings, this paper considers zoomorphic armor ornamentation as a space for exploring the intersections between human and animal, animate and inanimate forms.
Kristen Streahle, Cornell University, “TABIMUROLLI MUIDEM REP: PseudoKufic, Retrograde Latin, and the Crusades Remembered on the Chiaramonte Steri Ceiling,” Presented in the IAS-sponsored session “The multiethnic and multi religious environment,” 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 8-11 May. Read abstract
Adultery, beheadings, vendetta—the painted narratives, ornament, and inscriptions of the Great Hall ceiling, or Sala Magna, at the Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri compete with each other for the viewer’s attention. The reception room in Palermo, Sicily, generates multiple interpretations, a stunning monument of fourteenth-century baronial art in Italy. This paper addresses the abundant use of retrograde Latin and pseudo-Arabic inscriptions as meaningful decorative devices on the ceiling, uncovering the vast use of Arabic and pseudo-Arabic as an intellectual sign of conquest and faith in the context of fourteenth-century art and culture—even in a society that no longer spoke it. Demonstrating the complexity of text/image associations and highlighting the power of the visualized and culturally encoded word, I argue that these painted texts did not serve a marginal role in the program of the Sala Magna, but rather encoded the didactic messages of the painted narratives, which were consumed by a highly cultivated audience. Furthering Fedinando Bologna’s suggestion that these texts could be apotropaic, this paper uncovers the religio-magical properties inherent in foliated verses and both familiar and imagined alphabets. I will situate the inclusion of such texts within the surrounding pictorial narratives on the ceiling, focusing specifically on the graphic Crusader imagery and other demonstrations of, what I consider here, “noble violence.” The use of written Arabic and pseudo-Arabic as a powerful visual vehicle of meaning in southern Italian artistic productions has been well-documented for the Islamic, Norman, and Hohenstaufen periods (roughly late eighth—mid-thirteenth centuries). Additionally, the polyvalent meaning and use of Arabic is familiar to those studying quattrocento art, especially that of Florence. A vast lacuna exists, however, for the appropriation of pseudo-texts and their significance in the artistic and architectural commissions of fourteenth-century southern Italy and Sicily. Using the Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri as a case study, this paper helps remedy that lack.
Joanne Anderson, Visiting Lecturer, University of Warwick, “Coloring the Magdalene in the Early Renaissance,” 59th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, 2013, 4-6 April, San Diego.
Valentina Pugliano, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Max-Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin,“‘Subjects which painting may serve’: How Botany met Renaissance Art,” 59th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, 2013, 4-6 April, San Diego.
Karen Lloyd, Visiting Assistant Professor, Tulane University, “A New Samson, Scipione Borghese and the Representation of Nepotism in the Vatican Palace,” 100th College Art Association Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, 22-25 February
Kristin Huffman Lanzoni, Visiting Assistant Professor, Duke University, “Ducal Fraternity and Family Glory: Girolamo and Lorenzo Priuli’,” Renaissance Society of America, Washington, D.C., 22-24 March
Jasmine Cloud, Temple University, PhD Candidate, “Reviving the Heart (of the City): The Renovations of the Churches on the Roman Forum,” Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Montreal, 24-26 March
Rebekah Perry, University of Pittsburgh, PhD candidate; “Civic Landscape, Sacred Journey: Tivoli’s Savior Triptych and the August Procession of the ‘Inchinata,’” 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo
Zoë Willis, University of Warwick, PhD candidate; “Of Saints and Empire: Venice, Hungary and Dalmatian Zadar 1350-1450,” 98th College Art Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, 10-13 February
Jessica Richardson, Postdoctoral Research Associate, CASVA, National Gallery of Art; “Pilgrims, Prisoners and Holy Liberations: The North Portal of San Leonardo in Lama Volara (Apulia) and the Cult of Saint Leonard of Noblat in Twelfth-Century Italy,” 45th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo
Andrew Casper, Visiting Assistant Professor, Miami University of Ohio; “The ‘Greek Style’ in Italian Art and Theory of the Sixteenth Century,” 97th College Art Association Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, 25-28 February
Christopher Lakey, University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. candidate; “Practical and Theoretical Geometry in Medieval Art,” 44th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo
Alexandra Hoare, University of Toronto, Ph.D. candidate; “Fortitude, Fortune and Fame: The Celebration and Commemoration of Male Friendship in Two Works by Salvator Rosa,” 96th College Art Association Annual Meeting, Dallas-Fort Worth, 20-23 February
Meredith Fluke, Columbia University, Ph.D. candidate; “Religious Rebuilding and Liturgical Reform in Twelfth-century Verona,” 43rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo
Ittai Weinryb, Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D. candidate; “Present Progressive: Techniques for Meaning at San Zeno in Verona,” 42nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo
Ashley Elston, University of Kansas, Lawrence, PhD candidate, “Storing Sanctity: The Function and Iconography of Tuscan Painted Reliquary Cupboards,” 41st International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo
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