IAS at Renaissance Society of America (RSA)

See below for more information on currentupcoming, and past IAS participation at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting.

IAS-Sponsored Session Information

Renaissance Society of America (RSA) 2019 Conference

Toronto 17–19 March, 2019

Session:   “Mamluk Aesthetics and Renaissance Italians, Out from the Ottoman Shadow”

Session Organizers and Chairs:

Bradley Cavallo, Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Design, Marian University

Sharon C. Smith, Head of Distinctive Collections, Arizona State University 

When and Where:

Tuesday March 19, 11am

Sheraton Centre Toronto, Provincial South

Session Abstract:

Dealing with Islamic-Italian relations in the Mediterranean, early modern scholars have focused almost exclusively on the attitudes of the Venetians towards the Ottoman Turks. And yet, in contrast to the “barbaric” Turks, the Mamluks did not become the object of Christian Crusader rhetoric. If anything, the religion of the Mamluks seems to have mattered less than their economic stability and potential as allies against the Turks in the political-existential imaginations of Christians. As a result, a material reality of trade and admiration continuously apprised Italians of Mamluk aesthetics as seen in textiles, metalwares, palace designs, and ceramics from Egypt and Syria.

The purpose of this RSA 2019 session is to explore how and to what degree Renaissance Italians adopted and then adapted the aesthetics of power and elegance manifested in artworks and architecture created by Mamluk artisans and architects before the ultimate Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1516–1517.

Session Participants & Papers (2):

Speaker:  Vera-Simone Schulz, Kunsthistorisches Intitut in Florenz, Max–Planck–Institut

Title:  “Mamluk Aesthetics in and beyond Renaissance Italy. A Transcultural Approach towards the Global Itineraries of and Artistic Responses to Mamluk Art”

Speaker:  Karen Rose Mathews PhD, Dept. of Art and Art History, University of Miami

Title:  “Mamluks, Italians, and Mediterranean Visual Culture as a Marker of Difference”


IAS-Sponsored Session Information

Renaissance Society of America (RSA) 2019 Conference

Toronto 17–19 March, 2019

Sessions:  “Patterns of Knowledge Production in Early Modern Graphic Collections I & II”

Session Organizers and Chairs:

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Oy-Marra, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Dr. Irina Schmiedel, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

When and Where:

Sunday March 17, 9am & 11am

Sheraton Centre Toronto, Sheraton Hall C

Session Abstract:

The two linked panels will explore the practices of collecting and assembling drawings and prints in albums, portfolios as well as other forms of display. We will focus on early modern Italy (Vasari, Baldinucci, Resta, Bonola, et al.), taking into account the different interests and habits to handle the artworks themselves, developed by connoisseurs and collectors, theoreticians (writers) and practitioners (artists). Varying preconditions and aims led towards diverse ways of organizing the material, unveiling different types of image-text-relations both within the collections and beyond.

When considering the evidence, questions arise regarding the importance of graphic collections for the development of the disciplines of connoisseurship and art history. Do they reflect a changing attitude towards circulating biographical information on the relevant artists? This leads on to considering trends and traditions in other fields of knowledge, like natural history or antiquarian studies. Information was gathered and displayed by means of visual, textual and diagrammatic structures that can give us clues regarding the formation, conception and reception of such erudite collections as (possible) predecessors of the relevant disciplines.

Session I Participants & Papers (9am)

Speaker:  Genevieve Warwick, University of Edinburgh

Title:  “Housing the Early Modern Drawing Album: Between the Studio, the Library, and the Museum”

Speaker: Irina Schmiedel, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Title: “Organizing the History of Art and Nature. On the Compilation and Reception  of Early Modern Graphic Collections

Speaker: Katherine Reinhart, CRASSH, University of Cambridge

Title: “Collecting Art Producing Science: Graphic Collections in Early Modern Scientific Societies”

Session II Participants & Papers (11am)

Speaker:  Annkatrin Kaul, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Title:  “Procedures of Early Connoisseural Knowledge Production on the Pages of   Sebastiano Resta´s Galleria Portatile. A brief Introduction to their Sources and Origins”

Speaker: Natalia Keller, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago de Chile

Title: “Giorgio Bonola and the Codice Bonolaat the Museo Nacional de Bellas                 Artes in Santiago de Chile: History, Purpose and Ambitions”

Respondent:   Elisabeth Oy-Marra, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Paper Abstracts (both sessions):

Genevieve Warwick Paper Abstract:

The ontological status of the early modern drawing album is historically complex, being both a book of visual knowledge and an assemblage of art works; an artist’s preparatory instrument and a collectible in its own right. As Catherine Loisel has recently noted,

terms describing such objects – sketchbook, taccuinolivre de dessins – illustrate the conceptual range of its historical perception and the difficulties of classification: some were placed in libraries as books; others in museums as works of art.

This paper will analyse the changing functions of the early modern drawing album from artist’s studios to libraries, drawing cabinets, and museums. It will then draw on this history of institutional classification to interpret the forms of visual knowledge these albums were understood to represent.

Irina Schmiedel Paper Abstract:

This paper aims at a parallel consideration of connoisseurship – or ‘expert cultures’ – and collecting practices in the arts and natural history in the long 17thcentury. Starting from Father Resta’s drawing albums and some contemporary (mainly) graphic collections of different naturalists, I will scrutinize the underlying structures of order and patterns of knowledge production and transfer. By doing so the original purpose and further use of the relevant collections will be highlighted and analyzed as well as practices of systematization and epistemic values or meanings. On the basis of the presented material, I intend to showcase how collecting preceded (scientific) knowledge in different nascent disciplines and how these fields of knowledge possibly influenced each other at such an early stage of ‘scientification’.

Katherine Reinhart Paper Abstract:

Early scientific societies created and collected large quantities of prints and drawings in the course of their natural philosophical work. They collected and displayed these images in a variety of ways, sometimes hung in meeting rooms or bound in albums. How did these collections shape the knowledge produced by these institutions? And what does it mean for a scientific society to have an art collection?

This paper will consider these questions by investigating not only the collecting practices of early scientific institutions, but also how images circulated between them. To do so I will focus on three of the first and most influential scientific societies: the Accademia del Cimento in Florence, the Royal Society of London, and the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris. By comparing the graphic and collecting practices of these institutions, this paper aims to understand how image collecting aided the development of organized science in the early modern period.

Annkatrin Kaul Paper Abstract:

Sebastiano Resta´s Galleria Portatileincludes over 250 drawings and prints from various Italian schools. The Codice’s most outstanding particularity is Padre Resta’s handwriting on every montage in form of annotations, notes and genealogies. His remarks frame the drawings aesthetically as well as on a contextual level. At times his writings serve as arguments for his connoisseural attributions or educate the reader about biographical or stylistic facts of a certain artist.  Resta’s vast knowledge of art literature and stylistic particularities is displayed on the sheets. He arranges traditional knowledge in a new way trying to create evidence.

This paper aims to enlighten the procedures of materialising Padre Resta´s connoisseural knowledge on the pages of his most intact album – the Galleria Portatile. It will focus on the interaction of his textual and graphic sources as well as their origins and contextual transformation processes throughout the procedure of their compilation.

Natalia Keller Paper Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to present the so-called Codice Bonolaand its author, painter and writer Giorgio Bonola (1657–1700). The artist, hugely inspired by the works of Sebastiano Resta, in the end of the 17thcentury composed a historiographic album including drawings, commentaries and genealogies that presented the development of Italian artistic schools. Specifically, in my research I revise and analyze the pieces Bonola included in his album, the ways he organized the drawings and relations between the images and text he included on the sheets. As a result it is possible to describe the motives that encouraged him to compose the album and discover the ambitions of the collector. In conclusion, this project, by closely examining the collecting strategies of Bonola –both a theoretician and a practitioner– presents a precedent example of the development of modern disciplines such as connoisseurship and art history.

Paper Abstracts:

Vera-Simone Schulz Paper Abstract:

Petrarch, Vasari: though Mamluk artifacts were praised by the most renowned Italian authors, their appreciation has rarely been touched upon in art history. This paper will discuss the impact of Mamluk artifacts onto the art production in Renaissance Italy; it will show a major difference in the reception of Mamluk metalwork in comparison to Mamluk silk weavings in Italian painting; and it will discuss these dynamics in relation to Italian art theory of the time. But while this paper will thus show that Mamluk artifacts played a key role in Renaissance Italy, it will also problematize an emphasis on Italian art and art theory regarding Islamic art. Rather than incorporating Mamluk artifacts into an art history still often privileging Italy, this paper seeks to de-center the field around a Syrian and Egyptian center with Italy just being one of the many peripheries where Mamluk artifacts were held in high esteem.

Karen Rose Matthews Paper Abstract:

In the late Middle Ages, the Mamluks emulated Mediterranean visual culture in order to distinguish themselves from other Islamic dynasties to the east. The aesthetic they adopted at this time consisted of rich, encrusted architectural decoration replete with spoliaor appropriated objects from past and foreign cultures. The Mamluks emulated the spoliastyle that was omnipresent in Christian buildings throughout the Mediterranean to display their integration into culture, politics, and commerce across the sea. By the fifteenth century, however, the cultural tides had turned and the Mamluks were no longer the borrowers of pan-Mediterranean forms but arbiters of taste themselves, defining the cultural landscape with the export of metalwork, textiles, glass wares as well as architectural decorative styles to western Europe. The Venetians in particular enthusiastically adopted this “Mamluk visual mode” to connect themselves to a Muslim ally and trading partner and distance themselves from a feared enemy, the Ottomans.


IAS-Sponsored Session Information

Renaissance Society of America (RSA) 2019 Conference, Toronto

17–19 March, 2019

Session:   “Art Beyond Spanish Italy, 1500-1700”

 Session Organizers:

Emily Wood, Northwestern University

Emily Monty, Brown University

Chair: Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio, University of Vermont

When and Where:

Moday March 18, 4pm

Sheraton Centre Toronto, Civic Ballroom South

Session abstract:

By the end of the sixteenth century, the Spanish Crown controlled major regions of the Italian Peninsula, from the Kingdom of Naples to the Duchy of Milan. At the same time, areas outside of Spanish sovereignty, including the Italian Republics, Tuscany, Mantua, and the Papal States, felt the effects of Spain’s “soft” imperialism (Dandelet, 2001) in economic, social, and cultural spheres. This panel focuses on art-historical approaches that explore the question of Spanish cultural imperialism on the Italian Peninsula outside of the Spanish Empire. Papers explore topics including artistic patronage by agents of the Spanish Empire; the circulation of objects through diplomatic, commercial, or artistic networks; and the imperial image and visual memory of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, following his coronation in Bologna in 1530.

Session Participants & Papers

Speaker: Marcello Calogero, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

Title:  “Early Modern Multiples: New Findings on Charles V’s Portraits in Italy”

Speaker: Francesca Mavilla, independent scholar

Title: “Chiappino Vitelli as Cultural Diplomat between the Spanish and Florentine Courts”

Speaker: Maria Vittoria Spissu, University of Bologna

Title: “The Foreign Imperial Wave of Charles the Fifth on Bologna. Riding Legacy, Showing Off Power”

Paper Abstracts

 Marcello Calogero Paper Abstract

After his second journey to Italy, in April 1533 Charles V left from Genova bringing back to Spain a beautiful marble portrait of himself carved by the Ferrarese sculptor Alfonso Lombardi, who realized it in a famous competition with Titian. Lombardi’s bust is thought to be lost, but three copies of it were commissioned in Italy between 1533 and 1537: the importance of these sculptures went almost completely overlooked, but they were crucial for the early diffusion of the emperor’s image and political message at the courts of Florence and Mantua after his coronation in Bologna in 1530. Thanks to the rediscovery of a previously unknown bust and one unpublished letter to Cosimo I de’ Medici, it is now possible to shed light on the material history of these objects and compare their ‘multiplication’ to that of Leone Leoni’s imperial bronze portraits.

Francesca MavillaPaper Abstract

Gian Luigi Vitelli, known as Chiappino (1520-1575), typifies the interest in Italian art developed by the Spanish court in the latter 16th century. As commander for Cosimo I and Master of the General Field of the Spanish armies in Flanders, Vitelli was among the protagonists of the War in Flanders. From his letters we now know that he was also a promoter of the arts: he brought to Florence several medals and a portrait by Sofonisba Anguissola; and at the same time sent to Madrid portraits of the Medici family, and plants and seeds for the gardens of the king, and tried to bring works by Vasari and Bronzino. He was very close with people in the court, including Gabriel de Zayas, Cardinal Granvelle, the Duke of Alba, and Philip II himself. His role became that of a diplomat engaged in keeping firm relations between Tuscany and the Spanish monarchy.

Maria Vittoria SpissuPaper Abstract

The paper explores the impact of Charles V’s stay and coronation in Bologna in 1530: the spectacular ceremonial, the iconographic devices, the visual narratives, the ostensible goal and the real aim of the representatives of – imperial, municipal, papal – power, as well as the task of the Spanish entourage, and the manufacture of the image – recognizable, upright and feared – of Charles as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire above the Spanish Italy. The paper will also consider the role of frescoes – in private palaces and in public spaces – tapestries, portraits and engravings, commissioned for celebratory purposes and later with memorial intent, in order to signpost that Bologna had not been a second-best choice; likewise the paper will underscore the peculiarity of the event as recorded in images and historical sources, by highlighting where and how its cultural heritage and memory have been set out.


Past IAS Sessions at RSA

2018 64th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, New Orleans
2017 63rd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Chicago
2016 62nd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Boston
2015 61st Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Soceity of America, Berlin

2014 60th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, New York
2013 59th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, San Diego
2012 58th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Washington
2011 57th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Montreal
2010 56th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Venice