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Self-Fashioning and Re-fashioning the Renaissance

Posted By Imogen Tedbury, Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Every major artistic, political, and ecclesiastical figure of the Renaissance consciously manipulated their public image, intentionally fashioning how diverse audiences in different contexts would perceive them. The creation of these personae rendered both identifying features and historical narratives malleable. This practice often extended beyond the self, with lineages traced to fantastic origins, remembered ancestors glorified through manipulated memory, and the narrative of historical events rewritten. Since the Renaissance, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century scholarship has created new mythologies around these same Renaissance figures, sometimes derived from their original personae but often re-fashioned from more recent conceptions of history, patronage, art, or literature. In some instances, Renaissance self-fashioning has become obscured by the re-fashioned mythologies of scholarship.

At forty years’ distance from Stephen Greenblatt’s Renaissance Self-Fashioning and in light of recent research re-examining the reception of Renaissance art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this panel seeks to interrogate the relationship between Renaissance and modern mythologies. It aims to reconsider present-day conceptions of major artistic, political, and ecclesiastical individuals based on (or contrasting with) the crafting of identity in the Renaissance period, alongside mythologies now recognized as modern lore. We welcome proposals that explore the Renaissance self-fashioning and modern re-fashioning of figures from 1300-1700 throughout Europe. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

       Case studies and Comparisons: The reassessment of a Renaissance figure (artistic, political, ecclesiastical, etc.) and their contemporary or modern mythology; a discussion of an understudied individual who has remained overlooked; the examination of a figure who has had a cyclical resurgence of scholarship over the past centuries

       Reception Networks: The investigation of the relationship between patron, artist/writer, public, and/or scholar in the development of both modern and Renaissance myths

       Sources and Resources: Parallels and/or disjunctions between the art, literature, etc. that contributed to a figure's public image, the archival sources that fueled nineteenth or twentieth-century scholarship, and/or contemporary conceptions of an individual, including political, geographical, and personal agendas

Papers are welcome from multiple fields (art history, history, literature, sociology, etc.). Please send 150-word abstracts and a brief CV (see RSA guidelines here) to Alexander J. Noelle (alexander.noelle@courtauld.ac.uk) and Imogen Tedbury (imogen.tedbury@courtauld.ac.uk) by Sunday 4th June 2017.

Tags:  Historiography  identity  private  public sphere  reception  Renaissance  self-conception 

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