Tag Archives: Italy

Announcement: Society for the Study of the Church Interior

S.-Maria-gloriosa-dei-Frari-Title-page-1500-500.jpgWhat is the study of the church interior?

The church was a highly meaningful site for pre-Modern European society. As architectural sites accessible to all strata of society, church buildings provided contexts for interaction between social classes and genders, and settings for a wide variety of religious and non-religious activities. From an art-historical perspective, the vast majority of artworks produced in the medieval and Renaissance periods was intended for the many chapels, altars and screens in the church interior.

Yet, despite the obvious importance of these sites, the spatial dispositions of church interiors – and how they evolved over time – are still little-understood. Centuries of restorations and adaptations have radically transformed the appearance and usage of church interiors: screens have been removed; altars shifted position; new liturgical furnishings installed; fresco decoration whitewashed; and seating added or taken away.

Scholars studying the church interior seek to reconstruct the meaning, functions and visual appeal of these sacred spaces. The Society for the Study of the Church Interior seeks to promote this holistic and interdisciplinary approach to researching historic church buildings.

Who are we?

We are a group of scholars who are interested in the material culture, spatial dynamics and multifarious functions of the church interior in the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. We are mainly based in the US, Germany, Italy and the UK, but welcome members from around the world.

Primarily focused on pre-Modern Italy, we are interested in reconstructing aspects of individual churches, but also in broader issues associated with large-scale changes to architectural layouts generally associated with religious reform. In addition to purely art-historical inquiry, we investigate the religious, political or practical motivations behind transformation campaigns and the effects such changes had on the use of church buildings.

What do we do?

Studying the church interior presents complex challenges for the historian, given that documentary, archaeological and material sources can be fragmentary or even contradictory. Our research involves the analysis of several types of primary and secondary source material, which may include:

  • Original archival documentation such as payments, contracts, testaments, etc
  • Liturgical texts
  • Official records of Visitations conducted by bishops and other clergy
  • Historic ground plans
  • Antiquarian guidebooks
  • Modern restoration records
  • Material evidence of surviving architecture
  • Archaeological reports
  • Provenance of objects such as altarpieces and liturgical furnishings

What are the activities of the Society?

The Society promotes broader engagement with the study of the church interior, disseminates research findings and fosters an academic community of like-minded scholars.

In the future, we hope to organize sessions and meetings at major conferences such as the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting.

We are also in the process of establishing an online, collaborative database to collect data on the church interior. Initially concentrating on Italy, where the impact of the Counter Reformation was particularly strong, the database will reveal the broad patterns and chronologies which are currently beyond the grasp of the individual researcher. Members of the Society who wish to contribute to the database will receive a login to access it: please email Joanne or Michael if you are interested.

Sign up for the mailing list here.

CFP: Various Sessions @Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, May 11 – 14, 2017

Call for Papers: Various Sessions @Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, May 11 – 14, 2017
Deadline: Sep 15, 2016

The Stones Cry Out: Modes of Citation in Medieval Architecture
Light and Darkness in Medieval Art, 1200-1450. ICMA sponsored


Other Sessions:

Obscured by the Alps: Medieval Italian Architecture and the
European Canon
800px-cathedrale_de_sienne_28duomo_di_siena29Organizer: Erik Gustafson (edg218@nyu.edu)

The traditional canon of European architecture has been well established through both formal-stylistic aesthetics and periodized criteria, rooted ultimately in Hegelian notions of the underlying spirit of an age and Modern nationalist identities. Viewed from northern Europe, the canon’s trajectory moves fluidly from the halcyon
days of Greece and Rome to the stunted but ambitious Early Christian and Byzantine era, developing into the solidly reliable Romanesque
until the revolution of the transcendent Gothic is decapitated by the Renaissance counter-revolution and its florescent Baroque iteration, to
be overshadowed by the enlightened and reasoned Neoclassical age,
leading to the search for identity of the 19th century Historicist
styles and the return to the classically pure clarity of Modernism.
The contributions of the Italian peninsula are periodic, and are
generally defined within the canon by returns to classicism.  In recent
decades, architectural historians have begun to challenge the Italian
canon, expanding its geographic scope from the old Rome-Florence-Venice
vector while also undermining chronological waypoints such as the
Medieval-Renaissance divide.  The canon, however, remains infrangible,
still underwritten by the formalist priorities established at its

This session seeks to examine the utility of the European canon in
assessing the historical significance of Italian medieval architecture.
Is there more to Italian architectural history than recurrent bouts of
classicism?  How can Italian architecture be understood positively
within the European context, rather than in opposition or subjection to
the canonical narratives?  Possible avenues of inquiry might include
exploring the historiographical lacunae of the canon, considering
alternative criteria for structuring new canonical narratives,
examining socio-cultural phenomena otherwise elided by the canon, or
investigating other historically contingent trends which reflect
different scholarly treatments of Italy and the north.  Medieval
architectural history has been “rethought” several times in the past
decade, bringing “new approaches” to old questions.  Shifting the
discussion, this session seeks papers that ask broad new questions
about medieval architecture’s place in the history of European culture,
grounding such investigations in local Italian contexts. While Italy
has long been obscured by the Alps, this session seeks to begin new
conversations about medieval architecture driven by Italian challenges
to canonical understandings.

How to Submit: Please submit a paper proposal to the organizer, Erik Gustafson
Deadline: September 15, 2016
Please include the following materials in your application:
1) A one-page abstract
2) Completed Participant Information Form available at the website of
the Medieval Congress:
3) A one-page CV

tumblr_m2du3bavab1qkpbfc1The Matter of Ornament
Organizer: Ashley Jones, University of Florida

Ornament has long occupied a troubled position in the history of
western art. Subject to rising and falling fashions, it has been beset
from all sides. Derided as feminine and dismissed as superficial,
ornament has been defined against both classical and modern
austerities. Medieval ornament, like so much of medieval art, has acted
as foil in the grand narratives of the rise and fall of figuration and
abstraction. But broader trends in the history of art and material
culture have, in recent years, highlighted the role medieval objects,
with their simultaneously heightened physicality and spirituality, can
play in illuminating profound questions of the nature of matter and
representation. This panel seeks to add ornament – arguably a
fundamental mode of premodern abstraction – to that equation. It
invites papers drawn from both material and textual traditions that
investigate the intersections of materiality, representationality, and
ornamentality in medieval material culture. Possible topics include but
are not limited to questions of the way in which matter gives rise to
ornament; the way in which matter, such as sacred relics, is made
legible through ornamentation; and the ways in which medieval ornament
evokes both the matter of nature and the matter of the cosmos.

How to Submit:  Paper proposals should consist of the following:
– Abstract of proposed paper (no more than 350 words)
– Completed Participant Information Form – available on the conference
website here:
– CV with contact information.
Ashley Jones (ajones@arts.ufl.edu)

0cf1189eec15ef93a0058320d627e312The Schematization of time
This session proposes to investigate visual strategies used in
time-reckoning and calendar constructions. Medieval illustrations of
scientific works, computus treatises (including Bede’s De temporum
ratione), historical chronicles, almanacs and moral and theological
tracts, display a vast spectrum of images dealing with the natural and
divine causes of time phenomena, their manifestations, their various
effects on the world and their universal significations. These images
testify to a wide range of subjects and interests, from cosmological
and astronomical explanations, to practical considerations regarding
liturgy, astrology, medicine, divination, prognostication, to history
and geography, to practical and speculative mathematics, and to
symbolic devices working as visual exegesis of the creation. Given the
rich corpus of source material, how might the visualization of time
through schematization and volvelles help us understand the role of
time in medieval life and culture? How did schemata and diagrams
represent specific strategies of knowledge transmission through
geometrical relationships, color systems, and numerical and spatial
representations? Although modern medieval studies witness an increasing
interest in schemata and diagrams, the omnipresence and diversity of
visual reflexions on time in the Middle Ages contrasts with the small
number of case studies dedicated to the subject.

This session welcomes papers focused on, but not limited to: the
visualization of relationships between time, space and matter; the
schmatization of time in medical theory and practice; the depiction of
liturgical time; the correlation between time-reckoning and celestial
phenomena, either astronomical or astrological; the calculation of past
and future dates through images concerning chronology and eschatology.

How to Apply: The panel features 15-20 minutes papers. Please send an abstract (150
to 350 words), a short CV and completed Participant Information Form to
Arthur Hénaff (arthur.henaff@etu.ephe.fr) and Sarah Griffin
(sarah.griffin@kellogg.ox.ac.uk) by September 15, 2016

CFP: The Network of Cassinese Arts, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Florence, 16-18 Mar 2017

800px-abbey_of_saint_scholastica2c_subiacoCFP: The Network of Cassinese Arts, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Florence, 16-18 Mar 2017
Deadline: Oct 30, 2016

Organized by Alessandro Nova and Giancarla Periti

From the late fifteenth to the mid sixteenth century, an impressive
corpus of architecture, sculpture, and painting was created to
embellish monastic sites affiliated with the Benedictine Cassinese
Congregation of Italy. A religious order of humanistically trained
monks whose mobility among the network of Cassinese monasteries was
paramount to their spiritual reformed agenda, the Cassinese fruitfully
engaged with the most eminent artists and architects of the early
modern period, supporting the production of imagery and architecture
that was often highly experimental in nature. The Cassinese
Congregation constituted a spiritual infrastructure that spread across
the northern, central and southern regions of Italy, through which not
only monks but also works and models circulated, intersected, and
interacted. The mobility and flow of artists, materials, and motifs
tied together the reformed religious communities affiliated with the
Cassinese Congregation and simultaneously connected an antique with a
modern Christian artistic corpus. This system resulted in a virtual
continuum linking works of architecture, sculpture, and painting,
including the Byzantine church of San Vitale in Ravenna, the Norman
cloister of Monreale (Palermo), and Raphael’s Sistine Madonna in

Scholarship has presented the Cassinese monks principally as learned
patrons of ambitious but locally-inflected works created by credited
Renaissance masters. But such an approach has obscured the fact that
these modern instances of Cassinese Christian arts existed within a
larger cultural network and coexisted with others of differing value,
including the management of late antique buildings, the preservation of
Byzantine mosaics, and the custody of poorly made votive images in
popular shrines. Not only did these lesser-known episodes assure the
survival of late antique arts, and artifacts of limited aesthetic
appeal, but they also provided occasions for Renaissance masters active
in Cassinese communities to confront alternative forms of antiquity in
a dialogue among the arts for the reinvention of a modern Christianized

The present conference proposes itself as a forum for the task of
reconnecting various artistic episodes that were once Cassinese
initiatives in Renaissance Mediterranean Italy and of re-considering
the spatial monastic settings in which the artworks were originally
placed. Investigating the network of Cassinese arts therefore offers a
fresh occasion to gain new perspectives on a rich body of antique and
Renaissance artworks and their life across time, as well as their
makers’ approaches to past models, recipients’ modalities of viewing
and the pressures put on images as agents of religious reform.

Proposals engaging with all aspects of the network of Cassinese arts
are welcome, with a preference for investigations of little-explored
Cassinese works in southern Italy or new readings of major artworks and
their modes of functioning. Comparative approaches to cycles depicting
rebus-like art forms such as grotesques and hieroglyphs are also of
great interest, as are explorations of the social life of Renaissance
artists building on the evidence that some set up workshops within the
Cassinese precincts while working for the monks. Other topics could
include the appropriation and recycling of Early Christian and
Byzantine materials in Cassinese edifices, the ecological management of
built resources (for example, the transfer of antique columns from San
Vitale in Ravenna to the abbey of Santa Maria del Monte in Cesena) that
served to symbolically link Cassinese monasteries, and considerations
on the Cassinese visual network of the sacred, spreading throughout
Mediterranean Italy by means of copies of primary objects and the
mobility of monks, artists and forms.

How to Submit: Please send your proposal (maximum 400 words) and CV in English, German and/or Italian to Dott.ssa Mandy Richter: Richter@khi.fi.it.

CFP: New Tendences in research on the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance

1280px-san_miniato_intarsio_dei_12_segni_zodiacali_06CFP: Neue Tendenzen der Italienforschung Workshop, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence, November 7-9 2016
Deadline: May 31, 2016

Vom 7. bis 9. November 2016 findet am Kunsthistorischen Institut in
Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut der interdisziplinäre Workshop “Neue
Tendenzen der Italienforschung zu Mittelalter und Renaissance” für
Nachwuchswissenschaftlerinnen und Nachwuchswissenschaftler statt. Ziel
des Workshops ist es, die jüngeren Ansätze der Italienforschung in
Geschichte und Kunstgeschichte zusammenzubringen, zu kommentieren,
kritisch zu würdigen und vor allem die Italienforschung in Deutschland
durch den Austausch insgesamt zu stärken. Die Veranstaltung gibt
fortgeschrittenen Doktoranden/Doktorandinnen, Post-Docs und
Habilitanden/Habilitandinnen vor allem aus der Geschichte und
Kunstgeschichte des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit bis um 1600 die
Gelegenheit, ihre Projekte vorzustellen und diskutieren zu lassen.
Vertreter und Vertreterinnen beider Epochen, beider Disziplinen und
aller anschlussfähigen Nachbardisziplinen sind willkommen.

Der Call for papers richtet sich an Nachwuchswissenschaftler/innen, die
unter anderem zu folgenden Schwerpunktbereichen arbeiten: Raum- und
Stadtgeschichte, Kartographie und Weltbild, Mittelmeergeschichte,
Sakralität und Objekte, Kirchen-, Ordens- und Papstgeschichte,
Schriftlichkeit, Gender Studies, Kunsttheorie und Begriffsgeschichte.

Geplant ist die Einladung von ca. 15 ausgewählten Doktoranden/innen und
Habilitanden/innen, deren Arbeiten wechselweise kommentiert werden.
Dazu sollte eine Kurzform der jeweiligen Präsentationen bis spätestens
zum 30. Oktober eingereicht werden, um schon vor der Tagung
wechselweise gelesen zu werden. Im Workshop selbst steht die Diskussion
im Vordergrund. Die Betreuung erfolgt seitens der Geschichte durch
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Baumgärtner (Universität Kassel) und Prof. Dr. Klaus
Herbers (FAU Erlangen Nürnberg), seitens der Kunstgeschichte durch
Prof. Dr. Tanja Michalsky (BH Rom), Prof. Dr. Alessandro Nova (KHI
Florenz) und Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf (KHI Florenz).

Die Kosten für Reise und Unterbringung können anteilig übernommen
werden, wenn eine Finanzierung von anderer Seite nicht möglich ist.

How to submit: Bitte schicken Sie ein einseitiges Abstract für eine 20-25minütige
Präsentation sowie einen kurzen akademischen Lebenslauf auf Deutsch,
Englisch oder Italienisch an ibaum@uni-kassel.de und

Bei Rückfragen stehen wir gern zur Verfügung.

Veranstalter: Prof. Dr. Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel), Prof. Dr. Klaus
Herbers (Erlangen Nürnberg), Prof. Dr. Tanja Michalsky (Rom), Prof. Dr.
Alessandro Nova (Florenz) und Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf (Florenz)

CFP: From Prints to Paintings in Fifteenth-Century Northern Italy, Renaissance Society of America Conference

an00453037_001_lCall for Papers: Renaissance Society of America Conference, Chicago, March 30 – April 1,
Deadline: May 20, 2016

This session considers the impact of prints on fifteenth-century
Northern Italian painting. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

·      The use of prints as substitutes for workshop drawings
·      The transmission of Northern European visual culture via prints
·      The role of prints in the regional dissemination of artistic
·      The appropriation of specific motifs
·      Prints as sources of inspiration or points of departure

How to submit: By May 20, please send your paper title, abstract (150-word maximum),
keywords, and a brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum) to: Daniel
Wallace Maze (danielwallacemaze@gmail.com).

Call for Applications: 12 posts in the research group “Spanish Italy and the Iberian Americas”

deorbonovo_28129Call for Applications: 12 junior scholars to join the research group Spanish Italy and the Iberian Americas, from  June 2016 to October 2017.
Deadline: March 31, 2016

A Getty Foundation Connecting Art Histories Project
co-directed by Michael Cole and Alessandra Russo,
Columbia University

The co-directors of the Connecting Art History project “Spanish Italy
and the Iberian Americas” seek twelve junior scholars to join the
research group during the period June 2016 to October 2017. Project
participants will collaborate to discern the common dynamics and study
the artistic ties that developed between these two regions in the early
modern period, especially during the sixteenth-century. Moving beyond
the concerns of national heritage and microhistory, the project depends
on scholars interested in changing their conceptions about their “home”
fields of “Renaissance” Italian or “Colonial” Latin American art. The
project will unfold in multiple stages, centered on travel and
conversation. Throughout the project, the junior scholars and a group
of senior faculty will collaborate and communicate regularly, sharing
bibliographies and contributing monthly to a research blog. As a group,
participants will travel to Italy in January 2017 to visit and discuss
works in historically Spanish regions of Italy. Each member will be
responsible for introducing a series of works, engaging information
across multiple fields. Six months after the visits in Italy, in a
second phase of the project, participants will convene in New York City
for a workshop. Each scholar will present a paper responding to the
conversation and insights elicited during the trip, and considering how
those ideas might provide prospects for the study of arts in Iberian
Americas. While in New York, the group will also visit archives and
museums in the city. The project will cover travel expenses to Italy
and New York.

Eligibility: Recent PhDs to junior faculty members working on early modern Italian
or Latin American art are eligible to apply though preference will be
given to those who did degrees or are working in Italian and Latin
American universities. Candidates should submit a statement (maximum
three pages) explaining their interest in participating; a description
(maximum two pages) of a current project; a CV; two letters of
recommendation; and a writing sample.

How to apply: Application materials should be sent as a single PDF, clearly labeled,
to : connectingarthistories@columbia.edu  by March 31st, 2016.

Call for Papers: Andrew Ladis Trecento Conference (Tulane University, New Orleans, Nov 10-13 2016)


12439326_194880027531864_6327083374226155989_n[1]In the spirit of the tradition forged by the late Andrew Ladis and his colleagues at the University of Georgia, an international congress of Trecento specialists will congregate at Tulane University to share their research formally and informally in New Orleans, LA.

This call for papers invites scholars of all ages and stages to submit proposals for 20-minute discussions of specific art historical problems, issues, and ideas that focus on the arts of Italy during “the long fourteenth century” (late Dugento through early Quattrocento). MA students must provide a letter of support from a professor with whom they have taken a graduate level course.

Please submit paper proposal (500-word limit), and a CV by February 20, 2016 to: LadisTrecentoConference@gmail.com

The keynote speaker at the Tulane conference will be Marvin Trachtenberg, Edith Kitzmiller Professor of the History of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Thanks to the generous support of the Kress Foundation and other benefactors, we will not be charging any registration fees for this conference. Participants will be responsible for securing their own transportation and lodgings.
More information, including options for lodgings, will be posted soon on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LadisTrecentoConference/) as well as on a Tulane website.
Conference registration will be on Eventbrite beginning May 1

This will be the inaugural Andrew Ladis Memorial Trecento Conference and we are very excited! The plan is for the conference to be held every other year, with a new venue and host institution each time. The 2nd conference will be hosted by the University of Houston in Houston, TX, in fall 2018.