Jacob Burckhardt’s The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860) has long been heralded as a pivotal moment for the rediscovery of the Renaissance. Throughout the long nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Renaissance ‘discoveries’ came to light that contradicted, shaped and informed the flourishing academic disciplines of history, art history and archaeology.
From archeological finds and archival revelations to ‘hidden’ art collections, discoveries come in many different forms. But as Francis Haskell and Ernst Gombrich have deftly demonstrated, ‘discoveries’ are also often ‘rediscoveries’ connected to taste, fashion and collecting; external events can act as a catalyst to perpetuate ‘discoveries’, or slow their widespread recognition; and ‘discoveries’ can make and break careers.
Leading on from these studies, this session proposes to explore the phenomenon of the ‘Discovery’ itself, as event, narrative, and academic moment, and as a cipher between this time and the discovered Renaissance past.
We invite case studies and historiographical approaches in the discovery and rediscovery of Renaissance objects, to explore how such objects have been received, revived, and recounted. We welcome discoveries in Western and non-Western contexts, from the early modern period until the present day, as well as papers that consider the paradoxes in the notion of discovery itself.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
§ Process and Method: What are the methods of discovery? Do structures differ for physical and ideological discoveries?
§ Event and Narrative: Why and how are objects discovered at particular moments? Are there social, political and theoretical implications for these discoveries? What charge does ‘the Renaissance’ hold as a subject of discovery?
§ People and Place: Who makes discoveries, and why? How are Renaissance discoveries used by their discoverers? What are the locations of discovery?
§ Language, Canon, Mythology: How do discoveries fit, challenge and shape the canon(s)? How are Renaissance objects mythologized on their discovery or rediscovery? How are discoveries written about and how is this language of discovery utilised elsewhere?
Please submit a paper title (15 word maximum), abstract (150-word maximum), key words, and a brief CV (300 words) to Imogen Tedbury, The Courtauld Institute of Art (Imogen.Tedbury@courtauld.ac.uk) and Thalia Allington-Wood, University College London (Thalia.Allington-Wood.firstname.lastname@example.org) by Thursday, June 2, 2016.