CFP: Within and Without the Manuscript

Within and without the manuscript: interactions between illumination and the other arts

Université de Lausanne

October 22nd-23rd, 2020

Due April 19, 2020

Since at least the 1960s, book illumination has been fully recognized as an important sector of the arts and as an integral part of the historical studies of the book. The study of this branch takes place not only in libraries and archives, but also in universities, with dedicated chairs and specific journals, as well as its own research institutes and congresses. However, the increasing specialisation should not make us forget that this field of artistic production has never been isolated from the others.

Throughout the history of this technique the links between the arts of the book and other media have been deep, continuous and fruitful. Painters have often practiced equally on panel, fresco, parchment and glass. The composite and complex nature of the book has often encouraged artists working in its pages and on its binding (whether goldsmiths or ivory carvers) to inspire each other. Patrons of manuscripts and illuminators shared the same background as other patrons and artists; formal ideas, iconographic solutions, and compositions have thus circulated to and from codices. While there is no shortage of studies addressing these issues. Nonetheless, it seems valuable to create a collective discussion and reflection centered entirely on this issue.


The conference would thus like to explore the complexity of these multiple interactions from the medieval period to the Renaissance, across a broad geographical context, and their historiography. The conference organisers invite the submission of proposals for papers on significant aspects of these themes. Analyses may focus either on case studies or aim at reviewing aspects of the phenomena on a broader scale.


Proposals demonstrating exchanges between book illumination and other arts are especially solicited, but episodes of resistance or autonomy, with the art of the book adopting different solutions than other arts, for reasons to be identified, would be also be of interest. Finally, particular attention should be paid to moments of disruption, where a rebalancing between leading techniques, changes in the production and consumption patterns or in the demand may have induced shifts in the relations between illumination and the other visual arts.


Topics may include:


– The status, career, profession and organization of the work of the illuminators, showing their frequent versatility or explaining their possible isolation;
– The circulation of models between illumination and other arts; copies of art works and objects, transmission of iconographical schemes and stylistic or ornamental solutions between illumination and other arts;
– The use of illuminations outside the manuscripts, integrating them into other art works;
– The impact of the patronage and audience on the relationship between manuscript illumination and other arts;
– The history of the studies on the exchanges between illumination and the other arts considering its actors and actresses, modes, chronology, cultural and institutional frameworks.


Submissions will be considered in French, German, Italian and English. The conference will take place at the University of Lausanne on 22nd and 23rd October 2020. Financial support covering part of the travel and accommodation costs will be available to part of the participants; requests should be clearly specified in the application. Proposals not exceeding one page, accompanied by a five-line biography, must be sent not later than April 19th, 2020 to They will be reviewed by the scientific committee. Proceedings of the conference are foreseen.


Organization: Michele Tomasi (UNIL), with the collaboration of Melissa Nieto (UNIL)


Scientific Committee:
Laura Alidori Battaglia (independent scholar)
Luca Di Palma (UNIL)
Melissa Nieto (UNIL)
Nathalie Roman (UNIL)
Brigitte Roux (UNINE/e-codices)
Michele Tomasi (UNIL)
Sabine Utz (MCAH, Lausanne)

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