Friday 3 May 2019
1:45 pm – 6:00 pm

with registration from 1.15 pm

Lecture Theatre 1, first floor, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, Kings Cross, London , WC1X 9EW

More information:

Screenshot 2019-04-26 at 12.05.41.png

Even today, the history of art is largely dominated by narratives that are for the most part style-based. They tell a story that is teleological, ever-progressive, and structured around influential artistic centres. Within this framework, the role of individual objects shifts depending on how they fit into the broader narrative that they articulate visually. By focusing on the objects and their potential to fashion and dictate stories, a different narrative is likely to emerge.

This conference seeks to identify individual objects, or small sets of objects, which have the potential to destabilise canonical art-historical narratives of Italian art. We are not looking for an alternative Renaissance — instead, we want to ask whether a different story can be told for the same, old things. In the last few decades, art historians have reevaluated  the position of understudied works of art in an increasingly de-centred, non-linear history of art. Certain interpretative frameworks, such as queer or feminist approaches, that laudably seek to interrupt conventional readings of objects, have had modest consequences for their placement within a historical narrative, often because they seek to disrupt that narrative in the first place. Sometimes objects themselves show the insufficiency of traditional critical tools to do them justice. But seldom have newly-developed critical tools been used to renegotiate the historical framing of those objects that have long stood at the core of the Western canon.

Having long questioned the exceptionality granted Italian Renaissance art by the founding fathers of art history, academia has not yet modified radically the way we tell the story of the cornerstones of any Western museum. As a consequence, academic discourse has grown increasingly distant from museum spaces. On the whole, museums have not rejected the comforting principles of order inherent in traditional narratives, of which they are sometimes the unyielding outposts. Arguably, they also struggle to balance object-based displays with the disruption of narrative frameworks typical of recent academic discourse. As a result, celebratory, unwavering views of the Italian Renaissance have proved remarkably resilient among the general public.


1.15- 1.45pm: Registration

1.45- 2.00pm: Welcome

2.00 – 3.00pm: Session 1: Material Continuity or Byzantine Legacy? The Case of Early-Fifteenth-Century Venice
Chair: Lucy West, University of Leeds, The National Gallery and The Bowes Museum AHRC-funded Collaborative PhD candidate

Harry Prance (Courtauld Institute of Art, London): ‘Modern Taxonomies, Medieval Coherences – Byzantine Materiality and Gentile Bellini’

John Witty (Anne Poulet Fellow at The Frick Collection, New York): ‘Alternatives to Cultural Influence and Pictorial Style: an Object-Based Reassessment of Paolo Veneziano’s Workshop’

3.00-4.00pm: Session 2: New Light on the Renaissance Body
Chair: Giosué Fabiano, PhD Candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art

Gerd Mathias Micheluzzi (University of Vienna): ‘Un’invenzione dantesca, dai trecentisti non voluta intendere?Cast Shadows in Early Modern Painting. An Attempt in Deconstructing the General Narrative’

Geoffrey Nuttall (Courtauld Institute of Art, London): ‘Re-telling Ilaria

4.00-4.30pm: Tea/Coffee Break

4.30- 5.30pm: Session 3: Rome: Negotiating the Past and Future
Chair: TBC

Robert Brennan (Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence): ‘The Future Behind, the Past Ahead: Raphael and Michelangelo at the Church of Santa Maria Della Pace in Rome’

Lorne Darnell (Courtauld Institute of Art, London): ‘The Barberini Landscape: A Flemish Hoax at the Heart of Baroque Rome?’

5.30- 5.45pm: Concluding remarks from Dr Scott Nethersole

6.00-7.00pm: Drinks reception

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *