IAS at SCSC (Sixteenth Century Society & Conference)

Each year, the IAS seeks session proposals that address any issue relevant to Italian art and architecture during the long sixteenth century. The Sixteenth Century Society & Conference (SCSC) was founded to promote scholarship on the early modern era (c.1450-1600), actively encourages the participation of international scholars as well as the integration of younger colleagues into the academic community. See below for more information on currentupcoming, and past IAS participation at the Sixteenth Century Society Annual Conference.


Current Conference


Attendant to the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference this year, the Italian Art Society will host a cocktail reception from 16:30-18:00 on Friday, 18 October 2019  at: Trust 401 Pine Street, St. Louis MO
Trust is a craft cocktail bar located in the historic Mississippi Valley Trust Company building across from the conference hotel.
Our reception will be a cash bar with catered hors d’oeuvres from White Box Kitchen (vegetarian and pescatarian options available).
Space is limited, so please RSVP your attendance no later than Monday, October 15th to events@italianartsociety.org.

Sixteenth Century Society Conference
St. Louis, MO, 17-20 October 2019 

I. Session Title: Pope Clement VII, the World beyond Europe, and the Visual Arts: The New World and Africa
Session Chair: Sheryl E. Reiss, Newberry Library

In recent years, the interests of art historians working on early modern Italy have expanded significantly to include encounters with cultures beyond Europe. In the wake of this “global turn,” scholars have opened our eyes to cross-cultural exchange with the Americas, Africa and Asia, and to modes of representing non-European “Others.” Pope Clement VII (reg. 1523-1534), the focus of this paper, is well known for his vacillating relationships with European rulers including the Holy Roman emperor Charles V, the French king Francis I, and the English king Henry VIII. Less well known are his dealings with the world beyond Europe. This paper explores Giulio de’ Medici’s interactions—both as cardinal during the pontificate of Leo X and as pope—with the world beyond Europe. Along with Muslim cultures (especially that of the Ottoman Turks), these interactions were with the recently-encountered cultures of the western hemisphere and with Christian Africa. Particular emphasis will be placed upon how Clement’s engagement with the non-European world can be studied through visual representations and gifted objects. Works of art to be considered include the decorations of the Villa Madama in Rome and the Medici Villa at Poggio a Caiano outside Florence; the Mixtec manuscript Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus 1, the famed Cortés map of Teotihuacan, and other objects from the western hemisphere including turquoise masks; and gifts from Emperor Dawit II of Ethiopia.

Irene Backus, Oklahoma State University, “From Ming Deer to Ottoman Tulips: Medici Porcelain and the Migratory Ornament.”
Sheryl E. Reiss, Newberry Library and University of Chicago Graham School, “Pope Clement VII, the World beyond Europe, and the Visual Arts: The New World and Africa.”

Kelli Wood, University of Tennessee, “Conchology, Collecting, and the Crafting of Early Modern Nature.”


II. Session title: Fiat Lux: Giovanni Bellini and Andrea del Sarto on Art, Religion, and Science.
Session organizers: Steven J. Cody, Purdue University Fort Wayne and Eric R. Hupe, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts
Chair: Meredith J. Gill, University of Maryland, College Park

Light is essential to the visual arts and to vision itself. Over seventy years ago, Millard Meiss drew attention to the ethereal representation of light in fifteenth-century painting, arguing for it as “a major pictorial theme.” Indeed, Renaissance artists used the effects of light to engage with notions of divinity, sacred wisdom, and visual experience. But how does one talk, in any serious manner, about something that is fundamentally intangible? The ethereal nature of light presents a challenge for the artist who attempts to depict it, the beholder who attempts to appreciate it, and the art historian who attempts to study it. In focusing on two of Italy’s artistic luminaries, this panel serves as a forum for the exploration of light’s formal, symbolic, metaphoric, and scientific dimensions, as a step toward reconstructing the rich fifteenth-century context in which art, religion, and science found a common language in light.

Eric R. Hupe, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, “Standing in the Light of God: Giovanni Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert.”

Steven J. Cody, Purdue University Fort Wayne, “Andrea del Sarto and the Splendor of the Luco Pietà.”

Christine Zappella, The University of Chicago, “The Meta/Physics of Light, Confraternal Worship, and Andrea del Sarto’s Monochrome Life of St. John the Baptist.”


III. Session title: Why the Renaissance Matters: The Value of Renaissance Art History in the Modern and Contemporary World.
Session Organizer: Anne H. Muraoka, Old Dominion University
Chair: Marcia B. Hall, Tyler School of Art, Temple University

This panel addresses the significance of the Renaissance beyond the Renaissance era. Papers address the seminal role of Renaissance narrative painting on modern art and film; how the pulsating rhythms of modern art draw from Renaissance experiments in addressing and engaging the viewer; how a case study on the visually impaired in Renaissance Venice helps us understand the parallels between the Renaissance world and our own; and finally, how Renaissance artists and viewers shared the values of the millennial generation that we see in the classroom – interaction, collaboration, and active engagement. An elucidation of the relationship between the Renaissance and the modern and contemporary world can provide a better understanding of the past, as well as the present.

Peter Weller, Independent Art Historian, “Padua, St. Francis, and the Moving Picture.”

Javier Berzal de Dios, Western Washington University, “A Pulsating Rhythm: Learning from Modern Ruminations on Crivelli and Berruguete.”

Julia A. DeLancey, University of Mary Washington, “The Visual Culture of the Confraternity of the Blind in Early Modern Venice.”

Sarah M. Cadagin, Savannah College of Art and Design, “From One Millennial to Another: Teaching the Renaissance in the 21st Century.”