Session at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting 2020

In the early modern era, works of art seemingly came to life, paintings wept, statues spoke, reliquaries healed, and automata moved. In all these ways (and many others), art, ritual, and cult objects acted as lively things. This panel seeks to examine the blurred lines between beholders and objects in order to broaden our understanding of the interactions between people and material culture in early modern Italy.

Scholars invested in this question have been powerfully influenced by David Freedberg and Hans Belting who examined pre-modern images and sculptures that defied the category of the object by seemingly appearing as present and alive. Bissera Pentcheva, Elina Gertsman, Nino Zchomelidse, and Megan Holmes, to name a few, are shaping the field by taking up questions about the multi-sensory, performative, and liminal characteristics of medieval and early modern art and architecture. Additionally, the categorical boundaries defining humans and objects continue to be erased, questioned, and redrawn by scholars of actor network theory, performance theory, new materialism, and thing theory.

This panel welcomes studies of material and visual culture in early modern Italy, c. 1300-1650, that engage questions of enlivenment, agency, presence, and materiality.

Please send proposals to the organizer, Kelly Whitford ([email protected]), by Monday, July 8, 2019.
Paper proposals must include:

  • abstract (150 words max)
  • paper title (25 words max)
  • your full name, current affiliation, email address, and Ph.D. completion date (past or expected)
  • a brief c.v. (300 words max, and must be in list not narrative form)
  • a list of key words (8 max)

Panel Sponsored by the Italian Art Society at The Renaissance Society of America Conference 2020

Please note: Speakers must become RSA members by November 1st to speak at the conference. As this is a sponsored panel, all speakers must also be (or become) members of the Italian Art Society.