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News and Announcements: Calls for Papers

CfP: The Bounded Field: Landscape Models and Microcosms, CAA 2020 Chicago

Thursday, July 11, 2019   (0 Comments)

Session at CAA Annual Conference

February 12–15, 2020

CFP Deadline: July 23, 2019

The Bounded Field: Landscape Models and Microcosms

The groundbreaking 2014 exhibition, Silent Partners: Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish, brought renewed attention to the subject of the lay figure in Western art. The proposed panel will complement this and other recent scholarly contributions on artists’ models by considering how landscapes, rather than figures, were represented, miniaturized, and mocked-up in workshop settings.

According to Johann Neudörffer, the late-medieval sculptor Veit Stoss likely relied upon a topographical relief of mountains and rivers when carving scenery, and in the eighteenth century, the painter Thomas Gainsborough famously constructed a table-top landscape consisting of “cork and coal,” “sand and clay,” “bushes of mosses,” and “distant woods of broccoli.” As these cases suggest, the purview for the session will be broad, comprising examples drawn from a range of geographies and time periods. The ontological uncertainty of the model—tool? work of art? both?—will also inform a wider discussion of why there are so few independent landscapes in the Western sculptural tradition.

Topics explored may include naturalia and artificialia; the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm; dioramas and natural history; seriality; divisions of labor; and problems of scale. Finally, papers are also welcome on the subject of miniaturized landscapes not as models per se, but rather as they appear in the bases or backgrounds of finished sculpture.

In order to submit, gather the following and send via email to before July 23, 2019:

  • Completed proposal form (download at this link).
  • A shortened CV (close to 2 pages).
  • (Optional) Documentation of work when appropriate, limit to five images as a single PDF, especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their own practice.

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