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RSA Dublin 2021 Calls for Papers
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This blog is a space for RSA members to post calls for papers and lightning talks for sessions in all disciplines to be held at RSA Dublin 2021. Papers could be solicited for a traditional panel or a seminar session which will have pre-circulated papers.

To post a CfP, log in to your RSA account and select the "Add New Post" link further down this page. Make sure to include the organizer's name, email address, and a deadline for proposals. The session organizer is responsible for uploading the finalized proposal to the RSA Dublin 2021 submission site.

The general submission deadline for RSA Dublin 2021 is 15 August 2020. For more details on the submission process, see the Submission Guidelines page.

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 and Architecture  Art History  Italian Renaissance Art  History  English Literature  Women and Gender  Book History  Italian Literature  Medicine and Science  Visual Studies  Classical Tradition  Comparative Literature  Philosophy  Humanism  Material Culture  Religious Studies  Literature  Performing Arts and Theater  Religion  Rhetoric  Legal and Political Thought  Neo-Latin Literature  Digital Humanities  Hispanic Literature  Associate Organizations  French Literature  history of science  interdiscplinary  Italy  Renaissance Architecture 


Posted By Samantha J. Hughes-Johnson, Monday, August 3, 2020


(Deadline: 10 August 2020)


The Society for Confraternity Studies will sponsor a number of sessions at the 67thAnnual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (7- 10 April 2021) in Dublin. Accordingly, it invites proposals for papers on the following theme:


Contagium: Exploring the Nexus Between Confraternity, Pandemic and Renaissance Society



Since global communities are currently experiencing the liminal stage of withdrawing from varying degrees of quarantine and social isolation, the Society for Confraternity Studies is keen to scrutinize how Renaissance lay charitable institutions and sodalities grappled with the corporeal, emotional and fiscal injuries caused by society’s exposure to pandemics and epidemics and how their various actions can inform our own social, economic and psychological recuperation. Accordingly, we invite papers that explore the breadth and impact of lay sodalities operating in affected geographical areas between 1300 and 1700. Papers might focus on, but are not limited to the following topics:

  • The impact of pandemics on the restrictions of goods and humans and how quarantines, social distancing and limitations on travel affected regular confraternity operations and in turn, touched recipients of charity.
  • Legacies and donations awarded to confraternities in light of the plague. Including comparative studies of bequests during times of epidemic and good fortune and those that juxtapose geographically disparate data for the purpose of analysis.
  • The orientation of medical science and spiritual doctrine during epidemics and lay charitable institutions’ roles in this co-ordination.
  • Artistic commissions of confraternities and other lay charitable institutions and how these reflected the various injuries caused to society by outbreaks of pestilence. 
  • The impact of post-plague art, architecture, drama, music and ephemera commissioned by confraternities on public spaces and/or the popular conscience.
  • The actual and notional value of prophylactic measures designed to protect the body and soul during outbreaks and to what extent these were taken up by lay brotherhoods.
  •  Confraternity membership and how this was affected by one or more of the following: fear of mass burial; church and oratory closure; fear of the afterlife; concerns regarding spiritual conduct in the face of imminent death. 
  • The personal toll of plague on those lay brothers and sisters entrusted with public service, healthcare and the custody of people or objects.
  • The influence of pestilence on public and private confraternal ritual. 


Papers should concentrate on confraternal activities between 1300 and 1700. We are however, also particularly interested in proposals that discuss the value of emerging confraternity studies focusing on historical pandemics and how their findings can inform our own twenty-first century recuperation following our recent encounter with Covid 19. 

Proposals should include the presenter’s name, academic affiliation, email, the paper title (no longer than 15 words), the abstract of the paper (no longer than 150 words), a short academic C.V. (between one and five pages), and a series of key-words that suit the presentation. Please be sure all seven (7) categories of information are clearly provided. 

Please submit your proposal to Dr Samantha J.C. Hughes-Johnson at by [10 August 2020].

Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  black death  bubonic plague  charity  confraternity  death and gender  Death studies  History  History of Medicine  history of science  hospitals  interdiscplinary  Italian Renaissance Art  lay sisterhoods  Material Studies  Medicine and Science  Performing Arts and Theater  piety  Religious Studies  Renaissance  renaissance medicine  ritual  Women and Gender 

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Renaissance Dialogue between Visual Art and Humanism

Posted By Anne H. Muraoka, Thursday, July 23, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

  The sweeping relevance of Leon Battista Alberti’s De pictura is that the treatise joins the two most conspicuous cultural developments of the early Renaissance, namely, humanism and visual art. With this avant-garde fusion, Alberti elevated the status of painting to parity of esteem with the liberal arts, thus transforming the standard of artisan into the archetype of artist — executor of personal vision — and essentially initiating the discipline of art criticism with the first ‘how-to’ book of the modern era. A persistent polemic, however, surrounds the influence of classical literature upon early Renaissance aesthetics. The primary debate regards the extent of mutual influence between humanism and the visual arts. Recent scholarship aims to correct the common notion that the two disciplines were intertwined during the early Quattrocento. Cennino Cennini’s instructional manual Il libro dell’arte, of the late 1300s, and Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Commentarii of 1450, are the other major surviving discourse on visual arts of the early Renaissance. However, these are not humanist texts. The absence of surviving humanist discourse, however, does not invalidate a possible bilateral influence of antique aesthetics that would further mutual awareness in humanists and artists. Art may have affected early humanists through aspects of antiquity’s visual history. On the other hand, humanists may have influenced the discussion of art and architecture. Accordingly, if antique art and its post-antique imitation impacted early humanist thinking — or vice versa — art and text would begin to interchange values, and the resulting conjunction would inform painting. This panel examines how the two disciplines — humanism and the visual arts — may have specifically intersected in the early Renaissance, bringing art and intellectual history into a more specific dialogue. 

Paper proposals must include the following: full name, current affiliation and e-mail address; PhD completion date (past or expected); brief CV (2-page maximum); paper title (15-word maximum); and abstract (150-word maximum).

Please submit proposals to Peter Weller ( and Anne H. Muraoka ( by 12 August 2020.



Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  Classical Tradition  Humanism  Italian Renaissance Art 

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Condottieri di Ventura nelle guerre d’Italia/Soldiers of Fortune in the Italian Wars

Posted By Milos Mitrovic, Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A proposal for a panel at RSA Dublin, 2021

Since its first publication more than forty years ago, Michael Mallett’s classic Mercenaries and Their Masters has remained the point of departure for study of mercenaries and Italian warfare in the period from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. In his revisionist interpretation of the French invasion of Italy in 1494, Mallett successfully debunked the myth fostered by Niccolò Machiavelli, who portrays mercenaries as “useless and dangerous” companies who ruined Italy. A large body of scholarship on this topic grew since then, focusing on mercenary soldiers themselves and their famous captains. However, most of this scholarship deals with trecento and quattrocento condottieri, while the period roughly between the battle of Fornovo and the emergence of Giovani delle Bande Nere remains surprisingly unexplored.

Inspired by some recent collections of essays, books, and research initiatives on Umbrian condottieri, this panel seeks to examine Italian soldiers of fortune not only from a modern prosopographical standpoint but also from the broader one of the political, cultural, and socioeconomic contexts for the period between 1494 and 1526. More specifically, this panel aims to interrogate condottieri’s: political aspirations and ambitions in this period, complex relationships with their paymasters in Italy and beyond the Alps, military prowess and innovativeness in battle, unwritten military code and camaraderie, rivalries and deceptions, portraits, weapons and arms, social bonds and patronage. Among the questions this panel will attempt to answer are: to what extent did the Italian Wars alter, for better or worse, the role condottieri played in Renaissance Italy? How do the 16th century condottieri differ from those at the time of John Hawkwood or Guidobaldo da Montefeltro? Were they more self-made opportunists than Italian patriots? What were the most common challenges all condottieri had to face in their relationship with their paymasters, soldiers, and amongst themselves? What is the connection between the 16th century condottieri and the organization of the territorial state, urban restructure and new artistic and intellectual schools? To answer those questions, we invite contributions from all disciplines and geographic regions.

The deadline for all RSA Dublin 2021 submission is August 15, 2020.

Proposals for 20-minute papers (no more than 150 words) – together with a CV (no more than 5 pages) – should be sent to the panel organizer Milos Mitrovic ( by August 8th 2020.

Tags:  Artillery  Condottieri  Florence  History  Italian Renaissance Art  Italy  Machiavelli  Renaissance  the Italian Wars  Warfare 

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Ways of Knowing: Re-evaluating Artistic Education in Early Modern Italy

Posted By Caroline E. Paganussi, Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The establishment of observation and experimentation as essential modes of knowledge formation in early modern Italy has been well-established in recent scholarship. Artists participated in this paradigm shift, using contemporary rhetorical strategies to forcefully and eloquently assert the nobility of their profession. Often without the benefit of advanced education, they drew on discourses such as the disputa delle arti to prove their intellectual credentials and, by extension, their proximity to the studia humanitatis. This last observation invites us to reevaluate the issue of artistic education. What did artists know in early modern Italy? How did they come to know it outside of traditional academic settings? What communities and interactions informed their practice? And how did less traditional modes of knowledge formation inform the cultivation of artistic identity?

We invite proposals that explore early modern artists and the acquisition and dissemination of rhetorical, philosophical, and theological knowledge. Topics may include (but are not limited to): the acquisition of religious, historical, poetic, and philosophical concepts expressed in artworks; repetition or re-use of knowledge in multiple projects; methods of knowledge transmission within the workshop, the confraternity, or court; and networks of learning.

Please send paper titles, abstracts (150 words), 3-5 keywords, and a curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages) to both Lindsay Dupertuis ( and Caroline Paganussi ( by August 1.

Tags:  Art History  Humanism  Intellectual History  Italian Renaissance Art  Networks  Rhetoric  Visual Studies 

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Seduction and Courtship Rituals in Renaissance Italy

Posted By Marlisa den Hartog, Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Temptation and seduction are somewhat gendered words. In the context of the premodern courtship ritual, the more passive temptation part, allowing oneself to be looked at, is mostly played by women, whereas the seduction part, actively doing something to seduce the other, such as following them around or serenading them, is mostly played by men.This is, however, not exclusively the case. Sometimes women use active seduction techniques such as sending letters and gifts (in Italian novella stories), or impressing the other with martial skill (in romance epics). Likewise, young men may sometimes be described as tempting others by means of their clothes and hairstyles (although this is mostly within a homosexual context).

The behavioral codes for love affairs appear to be gendered as well. The code of conduct for women prescribed them to resist their suitors for as long as they could, in order to test their lovers, turning sex into an instrument of power, but also in order to appear chaste and modest. Men on the other hand were advised that in order to be successful in love, they had to be persistent and resilient – eventually, their beloved would give in, and if all else failed they were allowed to use force. Gendered behavioral codes that may have given rise to what is now called a rape culture.

With this panel, I would like to invite fellow scholars to engage with this topic, and open mindedly discuss the gendered nature of seduction rituals in Renaissance Italy. Who took the initiative in these affairs? What type of techniques were women believed to use to “tempt” men, and what techniques did men use to “seduce” women? What behavioral codes existed for these rituals? Who took the initiative to have sex, and who was passive, and who was active during sex? And, finally, how much agency do we think men and women had in these affairs? Through these questions, this panel will engage with discussions on gender identity and agency, as well as issues of consent and the normalization of a rape culture.

The goal of this panel is to gather a diverse group of scholars working with different types of source material, including literary genres such as romance, theater plays, novella collections, treatises on love, pornography/erotica, but also visual sources, personal correspondence and legal documents. It would be interesting to reconstruct and compareassumptions about the “sexual nature” of men and women (and how they were likely to behave), with behavioral codes about how men and women should behave, and, if possible, with examples of how men and women actually behaved. Of course, “men” and “ women”should not be seen as universals here. Much rather, it might be valuable to look for diversity in men and women of different ages, social classes, ethnicity, and within homo- as well as heterosexual relationships.  

Please send paper proposals to Marlisa den Hartog ( by 10 August 2020. The submissions must include:

  • paper title (15-word maximum);
  • abstract (150-word maximum);
  • curriculum vitae (.pdf or .doc, no longer than 5 pages);
  • PhD completion date (past or expected; as per the RSA guidelines, PhD students must be ABD);
  • full name, current affiliation, and email address.

Tags:  Italian Literature  Italian Renaissance Art  Sexuality  Women and Gender 

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‘Caught in the act’: the representation of action in early modern portraiture

Posted By Marije Osnabrugge, Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2020

organizers: Angela Benza (Université de Genève), Nicolas Bock (Université de Lausanne), Marije Osnabrugge (Université de Genève)

Early modern portraiture, far from being a clearly defined and static genre, is characterized by a progressive departure from strictly descriptive modes of representation. The portrait comes to life through the person’s dress, posture, and facial expression and by the setting and objects that surround them, as well as by its use, agency and performative qualities. As such, the depicted person’s action(s) and ‘acting’ (visual performance) are not limited to physical movement, but might imply a variety of other elements as well.

The increased significance of action is reflected in theoretical writings and humanist inquiries about the notion of self. From the fifteenth century onwards, the parameters that define persona, behavior and appearance underwent continuous scrutiny and were the object of fierce debate. The human self came to be understood as a versatile being, assuming different roles according to the specific context of performance. Looking at action in portraiture – whether drawn, painted, engraved, sculpted or written - allows us to grasp both the apparent as well as underlying structures of the early modern concept of selfhood.

In this panel, we would like to explore the notion of ‘action’ with regard to early modern portraiture in Europe. What does action mean and how does it affect the visual representation, the artistic practice of artists working in this genre, and the portrait’s reception?

Possible subjects include, but are not limited to:

  • the representation of a person's actions
  • the role of the background of portraits for action and narrative
  • the relation between materiality of the artwork and the suggestion of movement
  • hybridity of genres and/or subject-matters (portrait historié, allegorical portrait, tournament or masquerade portraits etc.) 
  • examples of the agency of portraits 
  • parallels between visual and literary portraits 
  • the interaction between word and image (emblematic portraiture and impresa), and how it generates movement and action in portraiture
  • engravings, paintings and sculpture of illustrious men, group portraits (guilds, military group etc.) as representing 'men and women of action'
  • the concept of motion and immobility in early modern portraiture
    practical guidelines

Please submit proposals to Angela Benza (, Nicolas Bock ( and Marije Osnabrugge ( ) by 10 August 2020.

They should include:
- a paper title (max. 15 words)
- an abstract (max. 150 words)
- relevant keywords
- a brief CV (max. one page, including your full name, affiliation, email address, and degree completion date, past or expected)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Art History  French art  Italian Renaissance Art  Netherlandish art  portraiture  Spanish art 

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Renaissance Bergamo: At the Edge of the Venetian Terraferma

Posted By Emanuela Vai, Friday, July 10, 2020

Present day Bergamo is bifurcated into an upper and lower portion of the city by the Venetian walls, built in 1561-1623 to discourage Milanese northward expansion, as well as to limit contraband trade. Bergamo was one of the most important of the strong points fortified by the Venetian state in the sixteenth century, through its position at the end of the chain in acting as the true shield of all the other cities, as one of its officials described. Resting among the foothills of the Bergamasque Alps, it lies a mere twenty-five miles northeast of the Spanish duchy of Milan. Under Venetian rule, Bergamo was the westernmost fortress town of the Venetian Republic’s terraferma empire. In addition to the Milan/Venice border, Bergamo sat at an important crossroads between the Venetian Republic, German lands north of the Alps, and other Italian city states. This begs the question, why is a location such as Bergamo, crucial as both an interregional communication point between the Venetian Republic and other parts of the Italian peninsula, largely side-lined in Renaissance and Early Modern studies?

Recent studies in Renaissance geopolitics have highlighted the important strategic role of liminal cities and their function in wider socio-political landscapes. To this end, this CFP invites paper proposals for a series of interdisciplinary panels from scholars working in musicology, art history, cultural history, book history and material and visual culture studies looking at Bergamo at the dawn of the early modern period. The aim is to rethink and reassess critical perspectives within Venetian Studies from the analysis of the Venetian state’s borders, with a view to an edited collection on the subject.

Topics could include/address, but are not limited to:

  • Architectural languages
  • Codicology
  • Confraternity studies
  • Education studies
  • Mediation and circulation of music
  • New technologies and historical research
  • Practices of patronage, collecting and selling art
  • Regionalism, mobility and cultural exchanges
  • War history
  • Women’s studies

As per RSA guidelines, proposals should be submitted in English and should include:

  • Paper title (15-word max)
  • Full name, current affiliation, and email address
  • Keywords (4 max)
  • Abstract (150-word max)
  • Short bio (150 words)
  • Short CV (2-page max)

Please send your proposal to Emanuela Vai (Worcester College, Oxford) and Jason Rosenholtz-Witt (Northwestern University, Chicago) by Wednesday, 5 August 2020:

Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  Book History  Italian Renaissance Art  Italy  lay brotherhoods  lay sisterhoods  Music  Religious Studies  Renaissance Architecture  Urban Studies  Veneto  Visual Studies 

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Reframing the Paragone: New Approaches to a Comparative Method of Artistic Analysis

Posted By Stefano Colombo, Thursday, July 9, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Scholars have dealt at great length with the notion of paragone from the early modern period onwards. In art criticism, paragone is a technical jargon generally used to refer to the similarity between two things (for example artistic media) through the act of comparison. Because it involves the analogy between one thing and another, paragone invokes a comparative meter through which artistic practice is judged or recognized. Significantly, art historians have often resorted to paragone to refer to the competition of the arts, most notably painting and sculpture or poetry and painting. Although this interpretation of paragone is not unsubstantiated, recent scholarship has clarified that the actual meaning of paragone is much broader (Dempsey 2009; van Gastel et al. 2014; Nygren 2017). Going beyond the quarrel over the nobility of the arts, paragone implies the dialogic mode of reasoning typical of a debate, where both sides of an argument are discussed by means of a disputation (Dempsey 2009). This interpretation, which traces its roots in classical rhetoric and was revived in the Renaissance, has reshaped the notion of paragone as the basis of formal academic debate which is fundamental to all the arts and sciences.

This panel invites to reflect on paragone as a comparative method of visual analysis in the early modern period (ca. 1300-1700). In what ways does the flexible meaning of paragone help us reconsider the sources that laid the foundations of paragone itself, such as Benedetto Varchi or Leonardo da Vinci? Is paragone a fabrication of historiography, or was it already in effect in the Renaissance? Especially welcomed are papers that address paragone during Mannerism and the Baroque period. This is the moment when paragone entered the artistic debate of accademie, the learned societies whose members were erudite of various disciplines encompassing the visual arts, literature, law and philosophy. How did paragone influence artistic discourse in the accademie? And how did the exchange of ideas among members of these accademie inform on the production and reception of different art forms?

Topics of interest might include but are not limited to: interaction among different media, in particular, sculpture, architecture and literature; ekphrasis and visual rhetoric; the extent to which artists (and their patrons) relied on technical, scientific or theological formulations and how these influenced the making and reception of artworks; or the analysis of the dialogic mode of paragone through the analogy between the liberal arts and other branches of knowledge, such as the natural sciences, medicine or theology.

Please send an abstract (150-word maximum), a paper title (15-word maximum), 3-5 keywords, academic affiliation, PhD completion date (past or expected), a brief curriculum vitae, and any audio/visual requirements to Stefano Colombo ( by August 8, 2020.

Tags:  Accademie  Art and Architecture  Art Theory  Classical Tradition  Ekphrasis  Italian Literature  Italian Renaissance Art  Literature  Paragone  Philosophy  Renaissance Architecture  Rhetoric  Sculpture  Transmediality 

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Experiencing Death in Early Modern Italy

Posted By Ariana Ellis, Thursday, July 9, 2020
Updated: Thursday, July 9, 2020

Death saturates early modern Italian culture, from Dance of Death artwork and religious scripture to elaborate execution processions and the scaffold literature they inspired. But what did it mean to experience death? How did it look, sound, and feel? Where did the boundaries between life and death truly lie?


This panel is seeking papers that explore what it meant to experience death in Italy at any point during the early modern period. Analytical perspectives including: the senses, the emotions, philosophy, memorial culture, death culture, and art history are all welcome.


Please send proposals to the organizer ( by July 27th. Paper proposals must include:


·      Abstract (150 word maximum)

·      Paper title (15 word maximum)

·      Full name, current affiliation, and email address

·      CV (.pdf or .doc; 5 page maximum)

·      Date of PhD or terminal degree completion

       (past or expected)


Selected applicants will be notified as soon as possible. Please note- you must renew or activate an RSA membership to participate in the conference.

Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  death and gender  Death studies  Digital Humanities  emotional history  Florence  Italian Literature  Italian Renaissance Art  Italy  Memory Studies  Performing Arts and Theater  Philosophy  Sensory history  Sound studies  Urban Studies  Venice 

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Theatres of Knowledge: On the Theatricalisation of Scientific Practices

Posted By Oscar Seip, Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Updated: Monday, July 20, 2020

Studying the intertwined history of the theatre and the sciences is crucial to understand the development of different styles and strategies that developed during the Early Modern Period for the discovery and presentation of knowledge. Indeed, previous scholarship has studied the importance of the locality of the theatre to understand how scientific practitioners acquired and disseminated knowledge. While this has focused on the anatomy theatre, its impact beyond the field of medicine has received relatively little consideration. In this panel, we explore the anatomy theatre in relation to a broader vision of the world as a theatre.

Bringing together case studies from various contexts allows us to explore our main question of how the anatomy theatre relates to a hypothesised radical shift towards the theatricalisation of scientific practices. Did it lead to a new genre of printed works? Was it a new tool and practice of observing the world? Were these observations recorded and transmitted in a new and unique way?  How is the theatre different from contemporary metaphors such as the mirror and the book of nature? How does the theatre relate to the concepts of performance and spectacle? In other words, is there a distinctly theatrical style and strategy for the discovery and presentation of knowledge?

Our aim is to compare case studies of the theatre’s use across different periods (from the Early Modern period to the Enlightenment), fields of science or subjects (e.g. geography, medicine, architecture, mathematics), and different kinds of knowledge (practical or theoretical) and the different styles and strategies that they employ to represent this knowledge (figural/pictorial or abstract and textual). Particular attention will be given in this to the translation from the (imaginative) mental and physical space of the theatre to the space of the page.

We invite speakers (including junior scholars) from literary studies as well as intellectual history and history of science to submit papers. Proposals for 20-minute papers (no more than 150 words), together with a short CV should be sent to by 31 July 2020. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions.


Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  Book History  Digital Humanities  Dissection  English Literature  European literature  History  History of Medicine  History of Science  Humanism  Italian Literature  Italian Renaissance Art  Material Culture  Medicine and Science  Neo-Latin Literature  Performing Arts and Theater  Renaissance  Visual Studies 

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The Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Courtier and the Formation of Modern Identity

Posted By Armando Maggi, Sunday, July 5, 2020
Updated: Sunday, July 5, 2020

The literature on the concept of 'courtier' in early-modern Europe is vast but also conventional. This session aims at revisiting this key concept by analyzing it diachronically, that is by bringing to the fore the essential elements that deviated from its hypothetical perfection. This session welcomes papers from French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish colleagues whose work may enlighten our understanding of the 'courtier' as a quintessential reflection of the dynamic reflection on the nature of self-understanding vis-à-vis its social, external challenges and interactions. Papers on classic authors such as Baltasar Gracián, Castiglione or Torquato Accetto are welcome, but contributions on much less familiar texts such as the Portuguese Corte na aldeia are especially welcome. Analyses of visual representations are welcome as well.

Interested panelists must send the following material: title, abstract (150 words) and updated C.V. to Prof. Armando Maggi ( no later than AUGUST 10.

Tags:  Art History  Baltasar Gracián  Baroque culture  Castiglione  French Literature  Italian literature  Italian Renaissance Art  Portuguese Literature  Spanish literature  the courtier  Torquato Accetto 

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Materials of the Body – Materials of the Painting

Posted By Maria F. Hansen, Thursday, July 2, 2020

Ideas of correspondences between the substances of the human body, the materials of the earth and cosmos can be traced back to ancient philosophy. In the early modern period, these affinities blurred the lines between doctors, alchemists and artists, who shared a capacity to expose, transform or improve matter. These parallels contributed to numerous analogical representations within the visual arts, where the practices and materials of the artist were associated with living matter and the creative forces of nature and life.

This panel addresses this exchange as it took place before modern scientific distinctions between objective explanations and artistic interpretations of the world and its materials. This also entails a collapse of any sharp distinction between organic and inorganic matter, which we instead invite to be seen as perceptually entangled. Recent developments in the understanding of the human body, matter and its embeddedness in the world strengthens the relevance of exploring these themes in the early modern period.

We welcome papers that explore the interpretations of materials and their consequence within visual culture. What were the intersections between representations used by artists and scientists? How did the exchange between alchemy, medical science and art take place? Can a historical perspective on art and science and a critical focus on the exchange between the disciplines shed new light on singular artworks or artists? Topics might include alchemical or scientific imagery; intersections between cosmetics and painting; alchemical and artistic practices; history and the understanding of paint and pigments; medical illustrations; artistic materials’ association with the body and its organs; artist’s handling of stone (painted marble, artificial grottoes, decorative art, etc).

Interested participants should send a paper title, abstract (150 words max), a short CV, and A/V requirements to the session organizers Maria Fabricius Hansen at, Signe Havsteen at, and Lejla Mrgan at All presenters must register for the Annual Renaissance Society of America Meeting. The deadline for submission of materials to this panel is July 29, 2020.

Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  Bodies  Cosmetics and Painting  Dissection  History of Science  Italian Renaissance Art  Magic  Materials and Materiality  Medicine and Science  Philosophy 

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Landscape and Italian Renaissance Books of Poetry

Posted By Jakub Koguciuk, Wednesday, July 1, 2020

This panel aims to bring a rarely considered set of material to the study of landscape : Renaissance books of poetry. The rise of independent landscape painting is a classic subject in the study of Renaissance art. The development of pictorial naturalism and single-point perspective, among others, led to vivid evocations of the visual world. In contrast, historians of the book such as Sachiko Kusukawa explore how books of the period engage with knowledge of nature in innovative ways. Italian poets of the period created new literary forms of conceptualizing nature: from experiments in the dolce stil novo to the revival of ancient pastoral. All of these forms of literature were presented to readers in the form of books.

This panel invites scholars working at the intersection of book history, literary studies and the history of art. Examples of “landscapes” featured in Renaissance books include but are not limited to full-page images such as frontispieces, designs in the margins, maps, city views, emblematic images and other figural representations of nature. We are also interested in how potential and imagined landscapes interact with the materiality of the book. Potential papers may focus on manuscripts as well as printed books within the long period of 1300 to 1600. We welcome all approaches to landscape, from studies rooted in the visual, the verbal and the codicological, as well as considerations rooted in environmental humanities and ecocriticism.

Interested participants should send a title, abstract of 250 words (with relevant images) and a CV to Zoe Langer, NEH Postdoctoral Fellow - The Digital Piranesi, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina ( and Jakub Koguciuk ( by July 21st, 2020.

Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  Book History  Comparative Literature  Italian Literature  Italian Renaissance Art  Italy  Visual Studies 

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Women Worth Remembering: Female Models from Antiquity in the Visual Arts, c. 1350-c. 1650

Posted By Claudia Daniotti, Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting

Dublin, 7-10 April 2021

Antiquity has long offered a repository of exemplary models to look at, stories of notable figures whose lives and deeds provided examples of good or bad moral behaviour, and therefore guidance as to what emulate or avoid. This is particularly true in the late medieval to the Renaissance and early modern period, when attention was first drawn to Famous Women – rather than to Illustrious Men alone – and a flourishing visual tradition established around them, stemming from Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris and Christine de Pizan’s Livre de la Cité des Dames. Figures as different as Penthesilea, Cleopatra, Lucretia, and Judith, among others, came to play particularly potent roles in European art from the mid-14th to the mid-17th century; their stories featured in a vast and varied corpus of paintings, manuscript and book illustrations, sculptures, tapestries, and a number of decorative objects in domestic interiors such as marriage chests and maiolica.

This panel seeks to explore the impact that these models from antiquity had on the developing notion of female identity between the late Middle Ages and the early modern period. It also aims to investigate more extensively the related iconographic tradition which, despite several recent scholarly publications and exhibitions, remains unevenly explored.

Proposals are invited to discuss examples of the visual reception of Famous Women in European art from c. 1350 to c. 1650, and to assess the kind of contribution these figures made to the formation of female identity in the period. While the panel focuses chiefly on figures from Greco-Roman myth and history, contributions on Famous Women from the Hebrew and Christian tradition (e.g., Biblical heroines and saints and martyrs) are also welcome. Paper topics might include but are not limited to: the visual tradition connected to collections of lives of women and educational treatises (e.g., Boccaccio, Christine de Pizan, Eustache Deschamps, Jacopo Filippo Foresti); case studies of medieval and Renaissance appropriations of Famous Women; the querelle des femmes; virtues and vices exemplified by representations of Famous Women.

Please submit proposals to Claudia Daniotti ( by 2 August 2020. They should include a paper title (max. 15 words), an abstract (max. 150 words), relevant keywords, a brief CV (max. one page, including your full name, affiliation, email address, and degree completion date, past or expected), and an indication of any audio/visual requirements you may have.

Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  Classical Tradition  Humanism  Italian Renaissance Art  Visual Studies  Women and Gender 

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Gardens and Academies in Early Modern Europe

Posted By Denis Ribouillault, Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The objective of this session or series of sessions is to explore the place and role of gardens in early modern academies. Although research on academies has expanded considerably in recent decades (Vagenheim et al., 2008), little has been written about the places where they met, including gardens, with the possible exception of the Bosco Parrasio in Rome (Grant, 2018). How did an academy choose its setting and why? How have literary and scientific activities and debates influenced the architectural, artistic and/or horticultural qualities of the chosen venue? In other words, can the iconography of gardens be linked to academic activities?  What role, for example, did the memory of Plato's Academy and Greek academies in general play in the development of early modern gardens (Ribouillault, 2018)? These questions demand that the garden be considered as a place of performance and require a multidisciplinary and intermedial approach. Articles on the use of gardens in scientific academies are particularly welcome.

Katrina Grant, «The Bosco Parrasio as a Site of Pleasure and of Sadness», Histoire culturelle de l'Europe 3 (2018) ; URL :

Denis Ribouillault, « Hortus academicus : les académies de la renaissance et le jardin », in Des jardins et des livres, Michael Jakob (ed.), Geneva: Mètis Press, 2018, p. 23-34 ; URL :

Ginette Vagenheim et al. (eds), Les Académies dans l’Europe humaniste. Idéaux et pratiques, Geneva: Droz, 2008.

Proposals of no more than 300 words with a title and a short bio (300 words max.) should be sent to and before July, 31, 2020. Please indicate « RSA 2021 » in the subject line.

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Tags:  Art and Architecture  Art History  Gardens  History of Science  History of Technology  Humanism  Italian Renaissance Art  Literature  Renaissance Architecture  social history  Villa 

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