Conferences & Lectures


The Italian Renaissance in China: New Research by Chinese Scholars
24-25 October. Harvard Center, Shanghai. Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (Florence) sponsored the first scholarly conference in China to address the field of Italian Renaissance Studies. This event presented recent research by Chinese scholars who teach topics relating to the Renaissance and aimed to help create a community of scholars in Greater China who can collaborate and exchange ideas about their related interests.. For more information, including abstracts of all papers, see the program.

Italian Renaissance and Baroque Sculpture: Material, Manufacture, Meaning, and Movement
18 October, The University of Vermont, Burlington. The focus of the symposium was the processes, materials, difficulties and risks of production and shipment, and the various meanings and intentions of Italian Renaissance and Baroque sculpture. Scholars of Early Modern sculpture and a renowned contemporary sculptor discussed these issues in a glorious Vermont setting (peak leaf season!). The symposium was organized by Prof. Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Vermont, and generously funded by the Mollie Ruprecht Fund for the Visual Arts, the Lattie F. Coor Award in the Humanities and Fine Arts, and a History of Art grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. For further information, please contact Prof. Helmstutler Di Dio or Jordan Lovejoy, Lattie F. Coor Research Assistant. Papers: “Ghiberti, Materials, and an Image of Transport,” Amy R. Bloch, Assistant Professor, SUNY Albany; “The High Altar at the Santo: Materials, Movement, and Meaning,” Sarah Blake McHam, Professor, Rutgers University; “Camillo Mariani and the Nobility of Stucco,” C. D. Dickerson III, Curator of European Art, Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort  Worth; “Alessandro Vittoria and the Art of Marble Carving,” Victoria Avery, Keeper, Applied Arts, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK; “The Sculptural Stones of Venice: the selection, supply and cost of marble and stone in the sixteenth century,” Emma Jones, PhD candidate, Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge; “Francesco Mochi, Stone and Scale,” Michael Cole, Columbia University; “An Impossible Task,” William E. Wallace, Washington University; “Passage: Shaping Stone in Modern Times,” Richard Erdman, sculptor

Early Modern Rome 2 (1341-1667)
10-12 October, Rome. In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the “Rome Through the Ages” program of the University of California Education Abroad Program, Rome, Italy. Early modern Rome was contradictory and complex; its vernacular and high culture animated and rich. From Petrarch’s crowning as Poet Laureate on the Capitoline in 1341 to the pontificate of Alexander VII Chigi in 1667, this conference aims to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines—history, art and architectural history, literature, music, dance, religious studies, food studies, philosophy, history of medicine or science, and others—to investigate the city and the campagna romana through a variety of different approaches and methods. The resounding response to the first conference in May 2010—76 papers from researchers from 9 different countries over 3 days—mirrored the complex mix of the city itself and the changing face of Renaissance studies. The organizers wish to bring together in a single venue those whose research focuses on the city of Rome and the Roman countryside to encourage scholars to venture outside of their own disciplinary parameters to enter into dialogue with others and explore concurrent forms of cultural production or social and political events. Please note that EMR 2 extended the confines of the city by organizing sessions on the campagna romana, in particular on the Orsini-Odescalchi Castle of Bracciano. As in the tradition of EMR, the panel(s) “Beyond Rome” aim to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines—history, art and architectural history, literature, music, dance, religious studies, philosophy, history of medicine or science, diplomacy, gender, and others—to investigate the Orsini-Odescalchi Castle and its inhabitants through a variety of approaches and methods. The articles selected for the Bracciano panels was re-examined after the conference by a special committee and published in two different texts: a scholarly book in English with an academic press and an abbreviated publication in Italian and English to illustrate the history, art and architecture of the Orsini-Odescalchi Castle. Questions should be directed to Julia L. Hairston.

Nun Artists in Early Modern Italy
4-5 October, Convento dei Frati Servi di Santa Maria (SS. Annunziata), Sala dell’Annunciazione, via Cesare Battisti 6, Florence. The Provincia Romana di S. Caterina da Siena, the Medici Archive Project’s Jane Fortune Research Program on Women Artists, and the Biblioteca Domenicana of Santa Maria Novella co-sponsored the conference, “Artiste nel Chiostro.” Twelve scholars from Italy, the United States, Israel, France, Switzerland, and Spain presented new research on nun artists and the conditions of artistic production in female monastic communities from the early Renaissance through the eighteenth century, in Italy as well as abroad. The conference took place in the “Sala dell’Annunciazione,” Convento dei Frati Servi di Santa Maria (SS. Annunziata), via Cesare Battisti 6. For information, visit

Friday, 4 October, 15:00-18:30: Gabriella ZARRI, Culture nel chiostro: tra arte e vita; Rosanna MIRIELLO, Lo scriptorium del monastero del Paradiso di Firenze; Loretta VANDI, Suor Eufrasia Burlamacchi’s aesthetic theory; Panayota VOLTI, Les expressions artistiques des religieuses: une créativité déclinée au féminin; Mercedes PÉREZ VIDAL, The Art, Visual Culture and Liturgy of Dominican Nuns in Early Modern Castille; Tamar HERZIG, Nuns, Artists, and Baptized Jews; Denise ZARU, La cultura figurativa delle domenicane del Corpus Domini a Venezia durante il Quattrocento.

Saturday, 5 October, 9:30-12:45: Sharon STROCCHIA, Lectio Magistralis: Knowing Hands: Nuns’ Textile Artistry in Renaissance Florence; Adelina MODESTI, Nun Artisans, Needlecraft and Material Culture in the Early Modern Florentine Convent; Antonella CHIODO, Orsola Maddalena Caccia e la pratica pittorica nei monasteri delle orsoline del ducato gonzaghesco; Paola CARETTA, Orizzonti figurativi e riferimenti culturali nell’opera di Orsola Maddalena Caccia; Consuelo LOLLOBRIGIDA, Maria Luigia Raggi: pittrice monaca nel convento delle Turchine di Genova; Catherine TURRILL, The Frate’s Follower: Classifying and Collecting the Work of Plautilla Nelli in the 1800; Fausta NAVARRO, “I sospiri mi sono cibo, e le lagrime beveraggio…” Plautilla Nelli per Santa Caterina da Siena.

The Eternal Baroque: Studies in Honour of Jennifer Montagu
6-7 September 2013, The Wallace Collection, London. Dr. Jennifer Montagu, LVO, CBE, is a world-renowned art historian whose name has become synonymous with the study of Italian Baroque sculpture. In addition to her groundbreaking archival research about Alessandro Algardi, she has elevated the connoisseurship of Roman bronzes to an academic discipline and fundamentally changed the way art historians think about Baroque sculpture in general. Her approach to the organization of ateliers and to the complex relationships between patron, designer and craftsman has established a new standard for methodology, not only in Baroque sculpture but also for the study of all early-modern European sculpture. In honor of her immeasurable contribution, the foremost scholars in the field of Italian Baroque sculpture presented papers in her honor on 6–7 September 2013 at the Wallace Collection, London, Manchester Square, London: Friday, 6 September 2013, 10am–6pm; Saturday, 7 September 2013, 10am–5pm. Read more about the symposium in The Art Newspaper.

The Substance of Sacred Place: an Interdisciplinary Workshop on Locative Materiality
20-21 June 2013, Florence. Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence. The study of holy places has long been a central concern of not only the humanities, but also the social sciences. Much of this body of scholarship has focused on pilgrimage and sacred centers, either as theoretical constructions or as concrete places, such as Jerusalem, Mecca, or Benares. These subjects have been explored, on the one hand, through the study of ritual and liturgy, and on the other, through various modes of representation, be they architectural, cartographic, iconic, or textual. Complementary to these lines of inquiry, papers explored the material and tactile dimensions of locative sacrality across religious traditions. For questions and further information please contact conference organizers Annette Hoffmann and Laura Veneskey. Click here to see the program.

Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies
17-19 June 2013, St. Louis. The Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies at St. Louis University is a convenient summer venue in North America for scholars to present papers, organize sessions, participate in roundtables, and engage in interdisciplinary discussion. The goal of the Symposium is to promote serious scholarly investigation into all topics and in all disciplines of medieval and early modern studies. On-campus housing options include affordable, air-conditioned apartments as well as hotel accommodations. Inexpensive meal plans are available, and there is a wealth of restaurants, bars, and cultural venues within easy walking distance of campus. While attending the Annual Symposium participants are free to use the Vatican Film Library, the Rare Book and Manuscripts Collection, and the general collection at Saint Louis University’s Pius XII Memorial Library.  Some fellowships with housing are available to use the collection. For more information, visit symposium website.

Italia Illustrata
17 June, 2013. Florence. Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence. Italia Illustrata. Digital Mapping and Techniques of Visualizing the Pre-modern Italian City Workshop. An international workshop held to discuss strategies and methodologies of digitally excavating, mapping, and reconstructing the literary, social, artistic, and built remains of pre-modern Italian cities in order to develop novel ways of interpreting the past. Click here to see the program and more information.

Revision, Revival and Return: The Italian Renaissance in the Nineteenth-Century
5-7 June. Pisa & Florence, Italy. The object of this conference is the Renaissance revival as a Pan-European phenomenon of critique, commentary and re-shaping of a nineteenth-century present perceived as deeply problematic. Sweeping the humanistic disciplines—history, literature, music, art, architecture, collecting etc—it marked the oeuvre of as diverse a group of figures as Ingres and EM Forster, Geymüller and Hildebrand, Michelet and Burckhardt, HH Richardson and Rilke, Carducci and De Sanctis. Though some perceived it as a “Golden Age”, a model for the present, some cast it as a negative example, thus showing that the triumphalist model had its detractors and that the reaction to the Renaissance was more complex than it may at first appear. This three day event then proposes to recover some of the multi-dimensionality of the reaction to, transformation of and commentary on the Italian Renaissance and its ties to nineteenth-century modernity, as seen both from within (by Italians) and from without (by foreigners, expatriates,travelers etc). The conference was organized by Lina Bolzoni (Scuola Normale, Pisa) and Alina Payne (Harvard University) under the auspices of The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti and the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa. Click here to download conference program. Click here to read a review of the event.

The Medici and the Levant (1532-1743)
7 June 2013, Archivio di Stato, Florence. Conference website.

The Announcement: Annunciations and Beyond
2-4 May 2013, Florence. Interdisciplinary Conference at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence. The Annunciation is, first of all, a long tradition of representations of ‘the’ Annunciation, the one narrated in the Gospel of Luke: a ‘caesura’ in which everything changed, but also the fragment of time in which this change was made known. An announcement of a birth to come, of course, but also of death, resurrection and redemption. Daniel Arasse established the essential link between the evolution of this tradition in Renaissance Italy – its most famous homeland – and the parallel conceptualization and practice of linear perspective. And indeed, Annunciations, thanks to their ubiquity in Early Modern art and their narrative simplicity (two protagonists, a message, a single domestic space) were, and still are, a formidable laboratory of formal and visual thinking.This long series of representations is also the nodal point of several important philosophical issues that can be extended thematically, chronologically and geographically well beyond the literal, Christian theme of the Annunciation. Tracing the development of the Annunciation and the announcement is thus a useful way to narrate the changing views on numerous questions: the issue of ‘time’, first and foremost; the hardly conceivable simultaneity of the announcement, the acceptance, and its coming into effect; the fragment of time that is not anymore the ‘before’, but not yet the ‘after’; and the relation between a personal story and general History, with their different temporalities, here suddenly converging. Then, there is the question of the Word, of its transformation into material fact; the relation between announcer – the long-standing figure of the messenger – and recipient of the message, their inevitable epistemological difference here complicated by their ontological alterity, not to mention the gender aspect; and the various degrees of expectation and readiness that condition the reception of the message and its subsequent comprehension. Annunciations and announcements are therefore a conceptual archipelago worth discussion for art history, philosophy and politics in the early twenty-first century. Announcements – these sudden, often unexpected fulgurations that appear, in the midst of life, in our inboxes, at our doorsteps, even in our dreams – are a persistent phenomenon and an incessant challenge to the visual arts. It is thus the whole range of announcements – from the depictions of the angel’s speech to Mary to wholly secular artistic references to staggering political announcements, with any other visual treatment of the act of announcing in between, that the conference at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut was dedicated. The goal of the conference is to unite contributions addressing some of the above-mentioned aspects by art historians, philosophers and scholars of neighboring disciplines. Click here to see the program.

Renaissance Orientations: East and West, North and South
19 April 2013, Princeton. Annual Princeton Renaissance Studies Graduate Conference Princeton University. The cultural moment of the Renaissance can be characterized not only as a movement in time – as artists and writers looked back to and marked a new sense of temporal displacement from the cultural and political forms of classical antiquity – but also as a set of real and imagined passages through space. These geographical transits often seem to fall along the lines of the compass rose: we might think here of the movement from East to West of Greek art, texts and intellectuals and its mythic-historical corollary in the translatio imperii; or of the spread of cultural forms and discourses northward from Florence, Venice, and Rome through the period. “Renaissance Orientations: East and West, North and South” aims to bring together graduate students from across the disciplines to explore and interrogate the usefulness and importance of these conceptual axes for the study of Renaissance cultural space, broadly conceived and at any scale, from the local to the global. We welcome papers offering new perspectives on traditional lines of interaction, as well as those which expand or destabilize prevailing structures of Renaissance cultural geography. Any questions can be directed to Leon Grek or Robyn Radway.

Transformative Literacies: A Medieval and Early Modern Studies Interdisciplinary Conference
19-20 April 2013, College Park. The Graduate Field Committee in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park invites submissions that explore the topic of “Transformative Literacies” for a graduate student-faculty conference. This two-day interdisciplinary conference aims to foster insightful and vigorous conversation on this topic through an innovative format that includes paper panels, roundtables, and plenary sessions that explore the ways in which written and visual materials transformed the medieval and early modern world, including but not limited to: the creation, collection, and use of illuminated manuscripts; the history of the book; the history of the printing press and various printing techniques; technological advances related to literacy; the role of the print, both as a textual illustration and as a work of art; collecting practices for books and printed materials; the role and legacy of works of medieval and early modern literature; the influence of classical literary sources; access to literary and visual sources; the impact of theatrical performances; the role of literary institutions, including universities, libraries, and monasteries; the significance of written and visual materials in matters of religion and politics; textual and visual sources as propaganda; literacies in the non-Western world; myths about literacy; and the relationship between gender and literacies. Questions via email should indicate “Transformative Literacies 2013” in the subject line.

Présences Septentrionales en Lombardie Au Temps Des Sforza (1450-1535)
12-13 April, 2013, Geneva. Inscrit dans le Projet Sinergia du FNS “Constructing Identity: Visual, Spatial and Literary Cultures in Lombardy (14th-16th century)” des Universités de Genève, Lausanne et Zurich et de l’EPFL de Lausanne (, ce colloque est consacré à la présence d’œuvres et de personnalités septentrionales (musiciens, orfèvres, graveurs, peintres, etc.) en Lombardie entre le milieu du XVe et le début du XVIe siècle. Il s’attachera particulièrement à comprendre le rôle joué par la cour des Sforza. Visit the conference website for full details.

NYU Medieval and Renaissance Center, Annual Spring Conference: Charisma
29 March 2013, New York. The Medieval and Renaissance Study Center of New York University hosted its Annual Spring Conference on March 29, 2013 with keynote speaker Professor C. Stephen Jaeger, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a pre-conference address by Professor Paul Binski, Cambridge University. Papers address the topic of charisma in any of its multiple forms and cultural sites: from an attribute of an individual person–whether a god-given grace or personally cultivated aura–to a feature of a work of art that affords it the power to uplift or dazzle a beholder; and from the elite productions and practices of church and state–such as Gothic cathedrals and royal regalia and processions–to such cult objects of religion and secular art as icons, relics, stones, pilgrimage shrines, weapons, and portraits; and to such quasi-historical and literary characters as Lancelot of the Lake, Don Quixote, Mephistopheles, and Helen of Troy. While recent conferences and publications on the topic of charisma have focused on charismatic preaching and religious institutions, this conference aims to explore charisma as a quality or force that charms, persuades, enchants, and transforms, a force that may appear as a magical quality of human personalities, of works of art, of animals, and even of objects: in short, charisma no longer strictly in the sense of Max Weber’s studies of charismatic leadership, but in addition, charisma as it asserts itself in aesthetics, psychology, and anthropology. The Medieval and Renaissance Center offered assistance with travel and accommodation to conference participants living outside New York City. For more information please contact Martha Rust.

Exploring the Renaissance 2013: An International Conference
21-22 March 2013, Omaha. The 62nd annual South-Central Renaissance Conference was held in Omaha, Nebraska with papers by members of this interdisciplinary association of Renaissance scholars with membership drawn from North America and Europe. The 2013 Keynote Lecture was given by Norman LandUniversity of Missouri: “Pingo and Fingo: A Concise History of a Joke.” Nicholas von Maltzahn of the University of Ottawa presented the Louis L. Martz Lecture, “Andrew Marvell’s Paper Work: The Secretary-Poet;” and IAS member Liana De Girolami Cheney, University of Massachusetts Lowell, presented the William B. Hunter lecture, “Giorgio Vasari’s Vision: The Arts and the Belles Lettres.”

Leonardo on Nature
1-3 March 2013, Florence. An international conference hosted by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut to explore the concept of “Nature” in Leonardo’s works to contribute, in a wholly transdisciplinary way (literary, artistic, philosophical, technical-scientific) to the re-evaluation of questions that place Leonardo squarely at some of the most important intellectual crossroads of his time. Such an approach serves to dispel recurring myths and misconceptions, giving a solid basis for research on this topic and making it possible to resume, in a renewed and critical way, the study of “Leonardo’s philosophy”, his sources and, ultimately, also his “naturalism.” Program.

Discovering the Italian Trecento in the Nineteenth Century
1-2 March 2013, London and 15-16 November 2013, Venice. In contrast to earlier periods, the nineteenth century witnessed a considerable development of interest in the early Italian Renaissance, especially the Trecento.  The period became inspirational in a variety of areas – contemporary literature, the fine and applied arts as well as in religion.  Often its history and culture were seen as a way of ‘reshaping’ the present.  The life and work of famous men like Giotto, Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio excited the imaginations of countless nineteenth-century European and American artists, architects, designers, writers and thinkers; and acquiring the works of Trecento artists became important to the development of public and private collections as represented by the National Gallery in England or Pierpont Morgan and Isabella Stuart Gardiner in the United States. This conference brought together researchers from a range of disciplines with the aim of shedding light on the little studied subject of the reception and influence of the Trecento. The first half of the conference took place in London, on Friday and Saturday, 1-2 March 2013, at the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection respectively.  The study day at the National Gallery concentrated on the broad themes of the literary and visual responses of the nineteenth century to the Trecento and on its growing importance to collectors of that period. The day at the Wallace covered a variety of subjects including the different ways in which the Trecento was written about and discussed, and the manner in which reproductions of Trecento art were made and disseminated. To book one or both days in London, please visit the conference website. The second half of the conference was held in Venice, on Friday and Saturday, 15-16 November 2013, in partnership with the University of Warwick and the Scuola Dottorale Interateneo Storia delle Arti. Topics to be discussed there include nineteenth-century European responses to Trecento architecture and sculpture, music, history, connoisseurship and artistic techniques. For further information please contact Adriana Turpin.

Giornate Di Studio Su Lorenzo Bartolini
17-19 February, Florence. La Galleria dell’Accademia, in collaborazione con il Gabinetto G. P. Vieusseux, sta organizzando Giornate di studio Lorenzo BartoliniIl convegno nasce a seguito della mostra “Lorenzo Bartolini, scultore del bello naturale”, tenuta presso la Galleria dell’Accademia nel 2011, per approfondire nuove problematiche e argomenti più complessi, ad esempio il rapporto con Genova e Parma, che la mostra non ha potuto sviluppare.

La Sculpture À Florence Au Xve Siècle Et Ses Fonctions Dans L’espace Urbain
6-7 December. Paris, INHA et Auditorium du Louvre. À Florence, à partir du début du XVe siècle, la sculpture devient progressivement le vecteur de discours politiques et civiques, en occupant une place majeure au cœur de l’espace public. Ne remplissant pas seulement une fonction représentative du pouvoir politique ou religieux, elle affecte l’espace urbain et les relations sociales. Les statues ornent les places, les marchés, les églises, mais aussi les palais publics et privés, les édifices des corporations marchandes (Arti) et des confréries, les hôpitaux, contribuant à créer une nouvelle topographie des œuvres. Ce colloque est organisé en lien avec l’exposition « Printemps de la Renaissance. La sculpture à Florence 1401 – 1464 » (Palazzo Strozzi, Florence : 21 mars – 18 août 2013 ; Musée du Louvre, Hall Napoléon : 23 septembre 2013 – 6 janvier 2014). Entre autres, les principaux aspects qu’il s’agira de questionner sont: le contexte politique et social florentin et l’émulation entre villes; les lieux comme réceptacles d’un travail artistique et comme porteurs de sens pour la société urbaine; la réception des œuvres et leurs modes de présentation; les modalités de la commande et relations entre initiatives publiques et privées; l’humanisme et les réflexions sur la ville.

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