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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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Mimesis and Fantasy in Early Modern Spanish Art

Posted By Elizabeth Gansen, Monday, May 22, 2017

We invite papers that offer new approaches to the study of the relationship between imitation and imagination in early modern Spanish artistic theory and practice.  Recent scholarship on Spanish artistic theory in general has revealed that, rather than slavishly following Italian examples, Spanish writers and artists produced nuanced and complex aesthetics.  While many authors and artists were undoubtedly interested in Italian developments, they were also invested in their own study of ancient ideas on the subject. Expanding beyond Plato’s definitions, Spanish visual and textual discourses on the uses of mimesis and fantasy suggest that the understanding of visual representation was both auspicious and problematic, extending beyond the artistic realm to encompass all human activity.

We seek contributions to the broadening understanding of these topics.  Papers may focus on a variety of issues and approaches, such as the elaboration of aesthetic ideas in textual or pictorial form, the impact of ideas in artistic practice, the influence of aesthetics on the development of new techniques or conventions, and the relationship of art to ideology.

Please email proposals to both Elizabeth Gansen ( and Alejandra Gimenez-Berger  ( by June 3rd, 2017. Proposals should adhere to RSA guidelines and include a paper title (15-word maximum), an abstract (150-word maximum), keywords, and a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum).

Tags:  Art history  Artistic practice  Artistic theory  Book history  Image and text  Spain 


Architect/Craftsman: Professional Identity and Skill in the Early Modern Era

Posted By Sarah W. Lynch, Thursday, May 11, 2017
Updated: Friday, May 12, 2017

What makes an architect an architect? What skills, knowledge or achievements separate an architect from a stonemason, engineer, craftsman, or simple builder? Plato divided each field of knowledge into practical and theoretical branches, valuing the theoretical (knowledge of truths) over manual skill. Architectural literature of antiquity and the early modern period generally observed this divide and asserted that “theoretical” knowledge separated the craftsman from the architect. Vitruvius stated that an architect possessed almost universal knowledge and that a carpenter was only a tool in his hands, thus establishing a clear hierarchy in the design and construction of a building. Alberti, Serlio and other fifteenth and sixteenth-century authors prioritized design over manual execution. Walther Ryff stated that a Baumeister could only become an Architekt by reading Vitruvius, thus suggesting that the distinction between the two categories lay in learned discourse. Yet other authors including Francesco di Giorgio emphasized the importance of training on a building site and manual skill for the architect-designer.

How do these discourses influence our interpretation of early modern architectural work today, and how much did they reflect the reality of architectural practice? Builders often made unauthorized changes to a design in the process of construction and architects who trained as painters and sculptors ran into conflicts with the skilled builders on their projects. These issues suggest that the responsibilities of architects and building professionals were not clearly defined and frequently overlapped. Further, modern concepts of authorship, in which a single designer is considered primarily responsible for the outcome of a building, may not apply in this environment.

This panel seeks to address the questions of the professional identity and responsibilities of architects and builders in the early modern era. Papers addressing all geographic areas and periods 1300-1700 are welcome. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):


What distinction was made in the early modern era between design and building?

How can we assess the meanings of different professional titles (architect, engineer, stonemason, Baumeister, provveditore, proto, etc.) and what distinguishes them?

Can economic factors such as pay scale be used to distinguish a clear hierarchy in the design and construction process? Are salaries related to professional titles?

To what extent do early modern texts about architecture reflect the lived experience of designing and building a structure? Do the ideal architects described by Vitruvius and others exist anywhere other than on the page?

In regions where masons’ guilds controlled building trades, what role did they play in determining titles and qualification for specialized roles and skills? Was it possible to work outside of these guild structures?

How did architects who trained as painters or sculptors interact with the builders on their projects?

How did architects, patrons, and viewers discuss authorship with regard to building projects?

Who was ultimately responsible for the outcome of a building project and how were the results evaluated? Is it possible to assess when or where builders made changes to the design in the process of construction?


Please send paper proposals to Sarah Lynch at before June 1. Proposals should be formatted according to RSA guidelines (found here) including title, an abstract of no more than 150 words, keywords, and a 300 word CV including your current affiliation (prose form not accepted).



Tags:  architecture  art literature  artistic practice  artistic process  construction  design  professions  skill 

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The Problem of Style in Fifteenth-Century Italian Art

Posted By David J. Drogin, Tuesday, May 9, 2017

This session examines artists and artworks that challenge conventional norms or narratives of style in fifteenth-century Italian art. Since the period itself, the quattrocento has been understood as a moment of stylistic revolution, in which new formal ideals replaced old. With the benefit of hindsight, art historians from Vasari onward have emphasized the innovations they saw as laying the foundations of academic art. Revolutions, however, are messy, and stylistic development in the fifteenth century was not as straightforward or unidimensional as such teleological narratives suggest.


We invite proposals for papers that explore the complexities of formal practices in quattrocento Italy and help define alternative narratives of style. Issues to be addressed might include:


  • rethinking the Renaissance vs. Gothic binary

  • rethinking the significance of textbook innovations, such as empirical naturalism, scientific perspective, or antiquity as formal model

  • rethinking the relationship between humanist conceptions of literary style and the visual arts

  • patronage and style; style and self-fashioning

  • style in regional traditions or in centers vs. peripheries

  • style in relation to medium and technique, subject matter, or site


Please email proposals to both Robert Glass ( and David Drogin ( by Friday, May 26.


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

Tags:  architecture  art  art history  artistic practice  early Renaissance  fifteenth century  Italian  Italy  painting  quattrocento  sculpture  style 


Bloodlines: Re-Framing Artists’ Families in the Early Modern Period

Posted By Francesco Freddolini, Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Family ties in early modern art history were ubiquitous, and crucial to establish career patterns. Although many artists received their training and conducted their activity within the context of a family, art historians have often examined individual families as isolated case studies. Especially in the field of Western art, families of artists such as the Della Robbia, Vecellio, Brueghel, Teniers, and many others, have been investigated in depth, but ultimately regarded as enclosed entities. Few scholars, in recent years (e.g. Koenraad Brosens, Leen Kelchetmans, and Katlijne Van der Stighelen on the Low Countries), have tackled the topic of the artists’ families as a field of inquiry in its own right, exploring its socio-economic values and the networks it established.

This panel aims to switch the focus from the micro-histories of individual families, to broader questions related to the intersection between family as a social institution and art practice in the early modern period. When we investigate families of artists as families—nodes of networks where the career of an individual was often part of broader group objectives—relevant questions arise: what strategies did inform career trajectories, and decisions? How did family politics contribute to the commercial success of artists? Which economic aspects regulated the operational routine of a family of artists? Did family members work independently, or did they contribute to common household objectives, especially in terms of financial achievements and social affirmation?

Furthermore, we propose to investigate the differences, similarities, and overlaps between family and workshop, and examine how training differed in a family, compared to a standard workshop, how family relations and networks influenced the organization of the work, and to what extent the roles within the household group tallied with the distribution of specific competences and responsibilities within the workshop.

We also aim to broaden the view and investigate the expansion of families, in relation to the workshop, for example through the adoption of pupils. Further topics could include: how family networks defined material and visual legacies (models, drawings), to be transferred to the offspring; how such networks influenced style, practice, transmission of knowledge and competences; how parents promoted the careers of their descendants; whether families of artists were different from families specialized in other businesses.

We invite papers from across disciplines that explore families of artists by focusing especially, but not exclusively, on the socio-economic aspects of their history, the mechanics of workshop organization, production system, and career development. We encourage, in particular, papers that cast light on lesser-known names, as well as on non-European contexts. Case studies as well as more theoretically driven papers are welcome.

Further topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Families of artists, compared to families in other trades/professions

  • Families of artists in non-European contexts

  • Family alliances

  • Adoptive sons vs. bloodline

  • Gender relationships

  • Professional relations and kinship relations: advantage or problem?

Please submit your paper proposals to Francesco Freddolini, Luther College, University of Regina ( and Giorgio Tagliaferro, University of Warwick ( by June 2, 2017. Proposal should include:

  • Name, affiliation, email address

  • Paper title (max. 15 words)

  • Abstract (max. 150 words)

  • Keywords

  • C.V. (max. 300 words; prose bios will not be accepted)

Tags:  arists' families  art market  artistic practice  family history  socio-economic history  workshop 

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