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The Colonna Palace in the Age of Lepanto: Baronial Art and Power in Rome, ca. 1550-1584

Posted By Denis Ribouillault, Saturday, May 14, 2016

Co-organizers:  Denis Ribouillault, Université de Montreal, and P. Renée Baernstein, Miami University

How did Roman barons in the great age of papal authority link urban domestic space with political power?  Scholarship since Patricia Waddy’s groundbreaking 1991 book has explored the use of physical space, including domestic interiors, to articulate and underline power relationships. Here we continue and broaden that approach to consider the Roman palace both as a subject and a platform, a vehicle or location for the articulation of baronial family politics. If Rome in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was the “gran teatro del mondo,” the baronial palaces furnished some of its greatest scenes. 

Using the case study of the Colonna family palace complex known as the Santi Apostoli (or Palazzo del Vaso or della Torre), this panel will approach the question from multidisciplinary perspectives.

The period 1560-1584 was particularly fraught for the Colonna family’s position in Rome and in the Spanish-Italian political landscape. After their return from exile in 1560, under the leadership of Giovanna d’Aragona (1500-1576), the family worked to consolidate its financial position, regain title and control of confiscated properties including the palace at Santi Apostoli, and remake itself in a new, more docile and courtier-like mode.  Giovanna’s son Marcantonio Colonna II (“Il Grande”, 1535-1584) continued this process after his mother’s death in 1576.  Both Giovanna and Marcantonio oversaw substantial renovations and expansions of the Roman palace complex.  How did their commissions operate in the context of efforts to position themselves in the new political landscape? How did the palace surroundings shape the experiences of its residents, visitors, servants, and others? How did the goals and circumstances of the commissioners affect decisions about room arrangements, paintings, building design, use of space?   

We invite papers on any aspect of Colonna involvement with the palace or its surrounding neighborhood, during this period or the surrounding ones.  Topics could include: Architecture and decoration; social and literary life of the palace; history of the family as it relates to the palace; neighborhood and landscape; religious and cultural engagements. Papers on other Colonna commissions during this period offering comparative perspectives are also welcome. 

Please submit an abstract (max. 150 words),  brief CV,  and keywords to Renée Baernstein at baernspr@miamioh.edu or Denis Ribouillault at denis.ribouillault@umontreal.ca  by 27 May 2016.  Please follow the formatting instructions of the RSA: http://www.rsa.org/page/2017Chicago#indiv

 

Tags:  palaces; Italy; nobility; papacy; Rome; Colonna fa 

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