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Art History CFPs for RSA 2018 New Orleans
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This blog is for CFPs for sessions in art history for RSA 2018 New Orleans. Members may post CFPs here: sign in to RSA and select "add new post" to do so. Your post should include a title, and the CFP itself should be no longer than 250 words. Adding tags (key words) to your post will help others find your CFP. Make sure the CFP includes the organizer's name, email address or mail-to link for email address, and a deadline for proposals. Non-members may email to post a CFP. Please use the email address of the session organizer posted in the CFP to submit a paper proposal. CFPs are posted in order of receipt, with the newest postings appearing at the top of the blog. Members may subscribe to the blog to be notified when new CFPs are posted: click on the word Subscribe next to the green checkmark above.


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Top tags: Art history  early modern  Art  Renaissance  Italy  materiality  Historiography  sculpture  architecture  body  devotion  Early Modernity  image and text  New Approaches  painting  Netherlandish  patronage  Artistic practice  Baroque  senses  sensory experience  technologies  Visual Culture  Americas  antiquarianism  artistic process  Book History  fashion  Geography  History of Science 

Grotesque heads in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy

Posted By Rebecca Norris, Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Although the history of caricatured heads can be traced back to Antiquity, as an independent genre, depictions of strange, fantastic, comical and repulsive heads arguably stem from the influence of Leonardo Da Vinci’s systematic and experimental teste caricate, which soon became widely known and copied. Less programmatically Michelangelo too experimented with the genre, both in quick sketches and more complete works. Later exponents of the genre, each of whom contributed his own vision to its development, were Annibale Carracci, Ribera, Guercino, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and, later, Carlo Maratti and Pier Leone Ghezzi, all of whom produced substantial bodies of graphic caricature.


This session seeks to explore the development of the grotesque head as an early modern genre and later influences. Participants are encouraged to put forward original readings of grotesque heads as depicted in drawings, paintings and prints, as well as those found in single and group portraits, and series. We hope to approach the subject from many angles and would welcome analyses of processes ranging from the ‘doodle’ to highly finished works; and discussions of the subject as a reflection of the human condition from socio-political stances, as well as the interaction between caricature and audience.


Please send proposals to Rebecca Norris and Lucia Tantardini by Wednesday, 31 May 2017.


As per RSA guidelines, proposals must include the following: paper title (15-word maximum), abstract (150-word maximum), keywords, and a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum). See

Tags:  caricature  drawing  early modern  grotesque  Italian  Italy  painting  print 

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Sight, Sound, and Self in Fifteenth-Century Commemorations

Posted By Jane Daphne Hatter, Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Death and commemoration were central to the devotions that filled the side chapels and altars of fifteenth-century churches with sacred harmonies, forms, and colors. This creative outpouring of musical and visual innovation was driven by the anxiety to be remembered after death on the part of the women and men who funded the sensorial embellishment of these spaces. While information about memorial objects and the soundscapes of the spaces they occupied are recorded together in the same kinds of sources, the connections between these two realms—the visual and aural—have only rarely been explored. This series of sessions seeks to foster an interdisciplinary exchange, welcoming papers by musicologists, art historians, and cultural or religious historians that explore connections between the sights (devotional art, wall-mounted memorials, altarpieces, etc.) and sounds (chant, improvised harmony, votive motets, cyclic Masses, etc.) of fifteenth-century commemorations, especially in but not limited to Northern France and the Burgundian Netherlands.

 If you are interested in being included in this series of sessions please submit the following to Dr. Jane Hatter ( by May 22, 2017:

  • a paper title (15-word maximum)
  • abstract (150-word maximum) 
  • keywords
  • a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum).
  • general disciplinary area of expertise

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Art History  Devotion  image and text  music  personal commemoration 

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Ekphrastic Image-making in Early Modern Europe and the Americas

Posted By Arthur J. DiFuria, Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Updated: Sunday, May 7, 2017

In epideictic oratory, ekphrasis is typically identified as an advanced rhetorical exercise that verbally reproduces the experience of viewing a person, place, or thing; more specifically, it often purports to replicate the experience of viewing a work of art.  Not only what was seen, but also how it was beheld, and the emotions attendant upon first viewing it, are implicitly construed as recoverable, indeed reproducible.  Ekphrasis describes the object of sight in vivid, imaginative, even hyperbolic terms, bodying it forth as something that having once been viewed, is now presently viewable or, better, visualizable, in the form of an image.  For this reason, the artisanal processes of drawing, painting, or sculpting were sometimes troped as instances of ekphrastic image-making; and conversely, ekphrasis could stand proxy for the making of images in various media.  This is to say that ekphrasis—as a rhetorical device, and as an analogue to a wide range of medially specific processes—operates complexly in the registers of time (making past experience present), affect (recovering and restaging affective experience), and mimesis (fashioning an image of something seen, or an image of a work of art).

 Ekphrasis was integral to the reception, discourse, and production of early modern art and poetry.  Amongst theoreticians and historians of art, Antonio di Tuccio di Manetti, Giorgio Vasari, Karel van Mander, Giovanni Pietro Bellori, Arnold Houbraken, to name but a few, deployed the ekphrastic mode to richly varied effects. Moreover, one could plausibly argue that many examples of early modern art operate ekphrastically: they claim to reconstitute works of art that solely survived in the textual form of an ekphrasis; or they invite the beholder to respond to a picture in the way he responds to a stirringly ekphrastic image; or they call attention to their status as an image, in the way that ekphrasis, as a rhetorical figure, makes one conscious of the process of image-making; or finally, they foreground the artist’s or the viewer’s agency, in the way that the rhetor or auditor is adduced as agent of the image being verbally produced. Specific examples abound: the smooth yet virtually haptic surface textures of paintings by Jan van Eyck, the drolleries of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, the impossible architecture of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, the anthropomorphic devices embedded in landscapes by Herri met de Bles, the antiquarian architectural fantasie of Maarten van Heemskerck and Hans Vredeman de Vries, or Francesco Borromini’s ‘moving’ concavities and convexities confronted viewers with visual and bodily experiences that call quotidian regimes of perception and cognition into question, challenging them to impose order by describing that novel experience in the form of an ekphrasis. In this particular sense, ekphrasis could operate as a normalizing instrument. Implicit in such uses of ekphrasis is the paragone of word and image, text and picture. Contrariwise, other kinds of picture or building proved resistant to ekphrastic manipulation, just as certain kinds of verbal image were neither visually nor spatially translatable.

 This session invites an expansive range of approaches to the ekphrastic tradition. Topics could include but are not limited to: the local origins of the ekphrastic tradition in various major artistic and literary centers such as Florence, Rome, Paris, and the Low Countries; the ekphrastic mode—be it visual or verbal—as courtly panegyric; ekphrastic responses to travel by artists and / or patrons, and in particular, ekphrastic responses to the new world; ekphrastic descriptions of buildings, ancient and modern, in architectural treatises; ekphrasis as an expression of antiquarianism and humanism both in text and in image; the visual functions of ekphrasis as an epideictic or probative instrument; ekphrastic accounts of historical events and the pictorial and sculptural images generated by these descriptions; the use of ekphrasis in the discourse and art of contemporary image debates; the relation of ekphrastic description to the use of topoi in early modern art writing; the human figure as a locus of ekphrastic display; landscape as an alternative locus for such display; ekphrasis in the service of the sacred; the role of ekphrasis in visual and textual exegesis; the operations of ekphrasis within patronage, collecting, and the art market; the form, function, and meaning of ekphrasis within various poetic-pictorial modes, such as the lyrical or the epic; ekphrasis as an emblematic device; and the intimacy of ekphrastic descriptions in epistolary writing.

Papers will be considered for publication in an anthology on the topic.

Send an abstract of no longer than 150 words and and CV to Arthur J. DiFuria ( and Walter S. Melion (

Deadline: June 2, 2017. 


Tags:  antiquarianism  Art History  artistic process  Early Modernity  ekphrasis  epideictic  hyperbole  image and text  making  mediality  reception  rhetoric  visualization 

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Sacred Geography

Posted By Jessica Weiss, Monday, April 24, 2017

Papers are invited for a session on sacred space at the Renaissance Society of America meeting in New Orleans from March 22-24, 2018. References to space and place abound during the Early Modern era, alongside changing ideas about theology and global geography. This session poses the questions: How did ideas about location, broadly defined, interact or intersect with notions of the sacred during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries? What can references, descriptions, depictions, or evocations of place through texts, images, and materials reveal about devotional ideas, practices, theological constructs, or belief systems? All papers related to place/space and spirituality will be considered, and proposals that push the boundaries of these categories are especially welcome.

Proposals for 20-minute papers should be sent to Jessica Weiss ( by May 25th and should include the author’s name, professional affiliation, and contact information; the paper title (15-word maximum); a brief abstract (150-word maximum); and a brief CV (300-word maximum).

Tags:  Devotion  Geography  Materiality  Religion  Space  Spirituality  Visual Culture 

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Renaissance Skin

Posted By Hannah Murphy, Monday, April 24, 2017
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017

We are seeking papers interrogating conceptions and practices of and around skin in early modern Europe. From Galen through to Mercurialis, medical writing on skin conceptualized it as a porous boundary to the body. Health depended on protecting skin, but also breaking it, and a wide range of cosmetic, fashion and medical practices converged on skin as a site of dangerous invasion, but also a site of important excretion, where waste, ill-humours and infections could leave the body. As a surface, skin was a site of diagnosis, but also artistic fascination and cultural preoccupation, while the relationship between hair, feathers and fur was a subject of great interest to natural historians and artists alike. Skin and the practices one should and could acceptably do it clarified links, but also differences between humans and animals.

Exploring skin by necessity cuts across disciplinary concerns and invites us to think across, rather than within, medicine, art and craft practices, as well as along political and religious lines. All papers relating to skin are welcome - we hope to collect and display new approaches to this subject, and better shape our understanding of its possibilities and its methodologies.

Anyone interested should submit a title, 150 word abstract and short CV (300 words) to the panel organizers Hannah Murphy and Evelyn Welch at by May 29th.

Tags:  anatomy  art  artisans  body  cosmetics  fashion  medicine  patients  recipes  skin  surgeons  technologies  touch 

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Revolution française? Celebrating the anniversaries of Damisch’s The Origin of Perspective and Marin’s To Destroy Painting

Posted By Itay Sapir, Sunday, April 23, 2017
Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017

As RSA is heading to La Nouvelle Orléans, this panel aims to take stock of two groundbreaking French art history texts currently celebrating, respectively, their 40th and 30th anniversary. Louis Marin’s To Destroy Painting and The Origin of Perspective by Hubert Damisch were both translated into English and other languages, and had considerable impact on art historical discussions around their topics.

The books address very different periods and questions – Damisch’s objects are situated close to RSA’s earlier chronological limit, whereas Marin’s study analyzes art from the last century of our Society’s temporal spectrum. Both, however, invented methods and ways of speaking about art that have been highly influential across early modern art historical scholarship. And both originated in the same scholarly milieu among whose heirs are prominent art historians such as Daniel Arasse, Georges Didi-Huberman and Giovanni Careri, among many others.

For this panel, we seek papers discussing one of these seminal books – or indeed both together – and the legacy of Damisch’s and Marin’s contributions to the discipline.  

Please send abstracts (up to 250 words) and short biographical notes to Itay Sapir,, by May 20, 2017.

This post has not been tagged.

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New Approaches to the Art of Spanish Naples

Posted By Jesse Locker, Sunday, April 23, 2017

Long overshadowed by Florence, Rome, Venice, and Bologna, in recent years, scholars have come to recognize that Naples—the largest city in early modern Italy—was a vibrant crossroads of cultural exchange that attracted artists, patrons, collectors, and connoisseurs from Madrid, Valencia, Palermo, Genoa, and Antwerp. However, scholarship on Neapolitan art still lags behind that of other Italian capitals, often bogged down by thorny issues of attribution, documentation, and chronology. This session aims to explore the artistic and architectural heritage of the city in light of its position as an international capital, situated between the Papal States and the broader Hispanic and Mediterranean worlds. New methodologies, innovative approaches to old problems, and interdisciplinary perspectives on Neapolitan art are especially encouraged.

Proposals for a 20-minute paper should include a preliminary title, an abstract of 150 words, a very brief curriculum vitae (300 words maximum), and keywords. Please send to Jesse Locker,, by Monday, May 22, 2017.

Tags:  Art History  Baroque  Early Modern  Italy  Naples  Renaissance 

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Gaming and Gambling: Time, Space, Material Culture 

Posted By Karen-edis Barzman, Sunday, April 23, 2017
Updated: Sunday, April 23, 2017

This CfP invites papers on the material culture of gaming and gambling (playing cards, dice, board games, etc.) and the impact of new media and markets on ludic practices, including the press and print markets. Also welcome are papers on the impact of this kind of adult play on the spatial dimensions and temporal rhythms of social life – from court life to tavern life and from time stolen or diverted in everyday practices in residential quarters and work spaces to “other” (heterotopic) spaces eventually regulated by the state (e.g., the Venetian ridotti) or the informal economy of the street (below the state's threshold of vision). The focus may include homosocial practices of play or games intended to engender and shore up feminine virtue as well as mixed-gender times and spaces in which leisure and labor were elided in transactions involving gaming paraphernalia and the wager. Geographic focus is unrestricted; temporal limits, c. 1300-1700.

Submissions Guidelines                                    
Proposals should be for 20-minute papers and should include

  • a preliminary title for the paper
  • an abstract of 150 words
  • a 1-page CV, including current institutional affiliation(s)
  • current contact information

Submit your proposal to by Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Subject line: “RSA – Gaming and Gambling.”

Tags:  board games  cards  dice  feminine  gambling  gaming  homosocial  labor  leisure  ludic  press  print  ridotti  space  state  street  time  virtue  wager 

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Imagining the Heretic: Visual Narratives

Posted By Lara R. Langer, Friday, April 21, 2017

CFP: RSA 2018

Imagining the Heretic: Visual Narratives


Religious and social strife in the Early Modern period gave rise to a host of “heretics,” including significant thinkers like Savonarola, Luther, Campanella, or Bruno and commoners accused of heretical acts. The religious reshaping of Europe led to massive groups of people being indiscriminately labelled “heretics” according to faith despite instances of nicodemism. While the famous cases got reasonable exposure, the lesser known examples could serve to further understand this multifaceted “geography of the heretic” in Early Modern Europe. This panel is interested in the process of historicizing, memorializing, and imagining the heretic. Papers may address issues related to images of heretics as incriminating, exonerating, or ambiguous statements of one’s orthodoxy. What does art tell us about the life, death, and burial practices of a heretic? How could a heretic navigate the tensions between group and individual identity? How was the notion of “heretic” contextualized beyond its European borders?


Please send an abstract of 150 words maximum, a title of 15 words maximum, and a brief CV of 300 words maximum to Silvia Tita at and to Lara Langer at by May 30, 2017.

Tags:  Art  Art History  Early Modernity  Heresy  Heretic  Medal  portraiture  Sculpture  Spanish and Italian Renaissance 

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Renaissance Medals

Posted By Tanja L. Jones, Friday, April 21, 2017


Proposals are invited for a session or sessions dedicated to Renaissance medals to be held at the annual Renaissance Society of America meeting in New Orleans, March 22-March 24, 2018. All proposals are welcome, but papers which deal with imagery on medals, and the political and social aspects of the creation, collection, and exchange of these objects are particularly encouraged. Please submit proposals to Arne Flaten [] and/or Tanja Jones [] by May 20, 2017. 

Tags:  antiquarianism  Medals  personal commemoration  politics  portraiture 

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