Call for Papers: ‘Alabaster as a Material for Medieval & Renaissance sculpture’, 8th Annual Ards Conference, Deadline 15 December 2020

The 8th ARDS annual colloquium, which celebrates new research in the field of renaissance and medieval sculpture will focus on alabaster as a material for European sculpture from the 14th until the 17th century.

Much research has been carried out on this subject over the past few decades in several European countries, both in universities and in laboratories, and in particular on the occasion of restorations carried out in museums and historic monuments. New analysis methods have improved our knowledge of the origin of alabaster and the quarries exploited during this period, supply and trade circuits – often long distance – have been brought to light, restorations have enabled to specify the implementation of the material. The results have been the subject of seminars, study days and major publications.

In order to present the general public with a summary of the current state of our knowledge, M Leuven and the Musée du Louvre have decided to jointly organize an international exhibition on this theme in 2022, showing how and why alabaster was used for sculpture in Western Europe during the late Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque period. This exhibition will bring together high-quality sculptures, small-format objects with monumental achievements, from the Louvre and M’s collections, as well as from numerous public and private collections. About a year before the exhibition, the Paris colloquium aims to bring together specialists in this material, whether they are geologists, restorers, historians or art historians. The scientific committee of the conference invites researchers to submit papers on:

  • Identifying the provenance of alabaster, quarries, quarrying and trade in alabaster
  • Recent restorations implementing new analysis methods and providing information on the use of alabaster (cutting and polishing, polychromy and surface treatments, framing, association with other materials, etc.)
  • Significant achievements in alabaster
  • The meaning of alabaster from the 14th to the 17th century

The conference committee consists of Sophie Jugie (Musée du Louvre), Peter Carpreau (M Leuven/Ards), Marjan Debaene (M Leuven/Ards), Pierre Yves le Pogam (Musée du Louvre)

Would you like to submit a paper for this conference?

Your proposal can be of an art-historical, historical as well as historiographical, technical or scientific in nature. Multidisciplinarity is encouraged. Case studies as well as papers providing a broader view and/or of a more reflective nature are welcomed. Priority will be given to speakers presenting new research findings and contributions relevant to the specific conference theme. Submissions that are not selected for presentation in plenum, can still be taken into consideration for a (digital) poster presentation. The organisation will publish acta colloquia in postprint after the conference.

How to submit your proposal?

  • Write an abstract in English in word or pdf; max. 500 words (excl. authors name(s) and contact details).
  • Include a short CV.
  • E-mail to Marjan Debaene via info(a)

Practical info

  • Call for papers Deadline: 15.12.20
  • Successful applicants will receive a notification by 31.01.21
  • The languages used during these days are French and English.
  • The lectures, illustrated by PowerPoint presentation, will last 20 minutes.
  • Discussion moments will be provided at the end of each session of 3 or 4 presentations.
  • Transport and / or accommodation costs are the responsibility of the selected communicators.

Organising committee : Sophie Jugie (Paris, Louvre Museum, Sculptures Department), Isabelle Haquet (Louvre Museum, Auditorium), Peter Carpreau (M Leuven / ARDS), Marjan Debaene (M Leuven / ARDS), Anne Liefsoens (M Leuven / ARDS)

Scientific committee: Peter Carpreau (M Leuven / ARDS), Marjan Debaene (M Leuven / ARDS), Sophie Jugie (Paris, Louvre Museum), Pierre-Yves Le Pogam (Paris, Louvre Museum), Lise Leroux (Paris, Historical Monuments Research Laboratory), Aleksandra Lipinska (Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians- University, Wolfram Klopmann (Orleans, Bureau of Geological and Mining Research), Carmen Morte Garcia (Zaragoza, University of Zaragoza), Kim Woods (London, Open University UK).

Questions or more information? Please contact Marjan Debaene via

Disclaimer: Should there arise problems or new restrictions regarding travel to Paris due to a possible new wave of COVID-19, the conference will be held online via webinar presentations (and if so unfortunately without the in situ visits).
Therefore the final program will only be compiled and communicated in the spring of 2021.


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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