First Annual Postgraduate Renaissance Symposium

First Annual Postgraduate Renaissance Symposium

Beyond the Frame: Portraits and Personal Experience in Renaissance Europe,  c.1400 – 1650

Call for Papers Deadline: 20 January 2012

Conference to take place:
Saturday 28 April 2012
The Courtauld Institute of Art

Saint Catherine of Bologna with three donors, Master of the Baroncelli Saint Catherine of Bologna with three donors, Master of the Baroncelli (c. 1470-1480) © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

In Renaissance art historical scholarship, the category of the portrait has provided a key framework for thinking about and discussing representations of the individual, an emphasis that has been echoed in a range of recent exhibitions celebrating Renaissance ‘faces’.

The inaugural Renaissance postgraduate symposium invites new scholars to explore the limits of this framework. It aims to encourage students of the Renaissance, in its broadest definition, to consider the domestic, devotional and urban environments of portraits. Contributors are invited to consider how the experience of viewing, commissioning and living with portraits affects our understanding of their meaning and function, situating the images within their historical contexts rather than within the museum’s exhibition space. Likewise, we invite participants to challenge the terminology of portraiture and to consider objects and images which do not fit into the conventional category of the ‘portrait’ but which nevertheless ‘portray’ individuals.

Topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-fashioning
  • Portraiture and problems of terminology
  • Public and private spaces for portraits
  • Portraiture and its relationship to literature, music & architecture
  • Fashion, make-up and adornment
  • Experience of the domestic space
  • Mimesis
  • The role of the patron
  • New media: engravings, woodcuts, etchings
  • The relationship between portrait and narrative
  • Author portraits and book illustrations
  • Funerary monuments
  • Exhibiting Renaissance portraiture
  • Collecting habits

The Renaissance Symposium offers the opportunity for research students at all levels from universities in the UK and abroad to present their research and receive feedback in a friendly and constructive environment. We cannot offer travel subsidies for speakers, and therefore students from outside London are encouraged to apply to their institutions for funding to attend the symposium.
Please send proposals of 250 words for papers of 20 minutes, and a short biography to: by 20 January 2012
Organised by Emily Gray and Harriette Peel (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

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