2015 Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Berlin
IAS-Sponsored Session

Reception, Reuse, and Repurposing in Italian Renaissance Art I: Architectural Revival and Reinterpretation

Hegelplatz, Dorotheenstrasse 24/1, 1.103
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 2:00-3:30pm

Organizer and Chair: Kirstin Noreen, Loyola Marymount University

Abstract for the linked sessions:
These two sessions will examine the reception, reuse, and reworking of earlier art during the Italian Renaissance in order to explore how the active reframing of an object, site or structure develops new layers of meaning and redefines the original liturgical, political or social function.  In the first session, papers will consider how ancient structures, spolia, and grotteschi have been integrated and reinterpreted in Renaissance Rome; the memory of sites, the reception of reused objects, and the repurposing of decorative elements in diverse media will be of special interest.  In the second session, the reinvention and re-framing of representations of the Virgin and Christ will be examined to explore how contemporary devotional practice shaped the installation of venerable images, serving to reinterpret their original functions; the themes of physical, mental, and spiritual pilgrimage will link the three papers.


Gregor Kalas, University of Tennessee
"The Displaced Identities of the Curia Senatus and the Secretarium Senatus in Rome"

The late antique Senate House (Curia Senatus) and the adjoined Secretarium Senatus were both converted into the churches of Sant’Adriano and Santa Martina respectively during the seventh century with minimal interventions.  During the sixteenth century, the location of an ancient triumphal arch of Marcus Aurelius outside of Santa Martina and the trajectory of the Via Sacra proceeding toward it had embedded these churches in a cityscape featuring such civic activities as liturgical processions proceeding along the same terrain as ancient civic rituals.  This paper argues that the submersion of the city under rising, silt-laden strata both displaced the once-contextualized identities of these monuments and also set up the conditions for the partial masking of the Senate House by Martino Longhi the Younger and the near total loss of the Secretarium Senatus to make way for a church by Pietro da Cortona.

Dale Kinney, Bryn Mawr College

The medieval churches of Rome are well known for their reuse of columns, capitals and other ancient artifacts for structural or ornamental purposes.  These elements are rarely mentioned in medieval written sources and never as antiques, although age is implicit in adjectives denoting their size, fine craftsmanship, and precious materials.  A change of perception occurred in the 15th century, such that beginning around 1500 architectural elements appear in a new form of literature as anticaglie (antiquities), spoglie, and “marvelous things.”  This paper explores the 15th-century context for this change in reception as well as its consequences for the design of new churches.

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