Looking at the Trecento through the lens of current global paradigms and concerns in historical and art historical studies might seem hazardous, or even paradoxical and provocative at best. Very few other labels have the power to evoke both the glories, achievements and limitations of traditional ‘Western’, and namely Eurocentric, art history. As a matter of fact, using the Italian word Trecento to mean the ‘Fourteenth Century’ in the visual arts, music and potentially any area of human endeavour adumbrates a clear hierarchy–with Italy at its top. It is meaningful, and perhaps no coincidence, that the term Trecento came into use in English in the same years that mark the tumultuous expansion of the new discipline of art history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and its usage has grown exponentially ever since. While much has been done in recent decades to broaden our understanding of the period both geographically and philosophically, the Trecento remains primarily the century of Giotto and of the great Tuscan painters and sculptors. At this time of building national ‘walls’, it seems particularly appropriate to think that the seminal and transformative character of the Trecento owes much to artistic and cultural exchanges, movement of artists and patrons, circulation of models and ideas across Italy, Europe, the Mediterranean and beyond. Our aim is to bring into conversation recent research on these issues.
Papers may include (but are not limited to):
- The circulation, translation and reinterpretation of models across Europe and/or the Mediterranean and beyond.
- The importance of trade, especially maritime trade, as a trigger of cultural and artistic innovation.
- Travelling artists, craftsmen, and patrons.
- The commercialization, appropriation and use of artistic materials including stones, pigments, metals, etc., both sourced locally, and from afar.
- Far-reaching transcontinental cultural, diplomatic, commercial and artistic relationships (i.e. with China).
- ‘Transnational’ artistic patronage, either in a religious context (with particular emphasis on Papal patronage and that of the Mendicant orders) and in a secular context.
- New interpretations of patterns of exchange.
- Art theory, practice and aesthetics in the broader Trecento.
- The circulation of non-Italian and/or non-Western objects in Italy, with particular focus on how they were received, as well as perceived, used and reused.
- Hybrid Trecento artistic objects that challenge and/or defy national or regional categories and paradigms, i.e. from a multicultural perspective.
- Areas of Europe often neglected in Trecento studies (i.e. Bohemia, the territories of the eastern Adriatic shore, the Balkans, etc.), their relationships with the Italian penisula, as well as their mutual relationships.
We hope that the response might be sufficient for a number of linked sessions on this theme at the 2019 Leeds IMC, some of which may bear directly on the congress theme of ‘Materialities’. This theme is presented by the Leeds organizers as a way to understand ‘how conceptions of matter, and matter itself, shaped the creation of the material world, regimes of labour and supply, connectivity, entanglements, trade networks, movements of things and people, concepts of agency and network theory, and constructed notions of the sublime, of replication, and of ‘reality’, as an abstract concept and category during the Middle Ages’. Please note, however, that a relationship to this overall theme is not required for inclusion in the Congress.
Anyone interested in participating in the sessions ‘A Global Trecento: Objects, Artists and Ideas across Europe, the Mediterranean and Beyond’ should send a paper title and brief abstract (max 250 words) to the organizers, Claudia Bolgia (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Luca Palozzi (email@example.com), by 15 September. Please make sure you include your full contact details, including institutional affiliation and professional status.