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Art History CFPs for RSA 2018 New Orleans
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This blog is for CFPs for sessions in art history for RSA 2018 New Orleans. Members may post CFPs here: sign in to RSA and select "add new post" to do so. Your post should include a title, and the CFP itself should be no longer than 250 words. Adding tags (key words) to your post will help others find your CFP. Make sure the CFP includes the organizer's name, email address or mail-to link for email address, and a deadline for proposals. Non-members may email to post a CFP. Please use the email address of the session organizer posted in the CFP to submit a paper proposal. CFPs are posted in order of receipt, with the newest postings appearing at the top of the blog. Members may subscribe to the blog to be notified when new CFPs are posted: click on the word Subscribe next to the green checkmark above.


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Top tags: Art history  early modern  Art  Renaissance  Italy  materiality  Historiography  sculpture  architecture  body  devotion  Early Modernity  image and text  New Approaches  painting  Netherlandish  patronage  Artistic practice  Baroque  senses  sensory experience  technologies  Visual Culture  Americas  antiquarianism  artistic process  Book History  fashion  Geography  History of Science 

Materiality of Early Modern Alchemy: Objects, Materials, and Art Practices

Posted By Ivana Horacek, Thursday, June 1, 2017

Alchemy has recently become an important concept through which to consider various interconnected early modern practices—ranging from magical to medical, philosophical to Christological, artistic to technological—that prominently feature processes of transformation, conversion, and renovation. An entangled concept that relates to different social, political, and religious aspects of early modern knowledge making, alchemy has as some scholars have suggested come to mean too many things. Rather than reversing the productive conceptualization of alchemy as a symbolic, ideological, and theoretical concept, this panel seeks to utilize the extended understanding of its complex traditions and interdisciplinary approaches to probe its association with materials, technologies, and objects. As a physical and technological process that brings into being purified materials and objects, alchemy offered its practitioners a new understanding of creation, and the act of making. We are thus particularly interested in considering the materiality of early modern alchemy.

Probing into the materiality of alchemy, we invite papers that consider specific modes in which alchemy intersected with art practices. These might for example reflect on the following questions: What did alchemy as practice and concept offer to early modern artists and theorists? What materials and objects, connected to alchemy found their ways into artworks, artists’ workshops, and collections? Were these derived alchemically or simply appropriated to become part of art making? Did patronage and collecting of objects considered to have been derived from alchemical technologies prescribe or influence artistic, aesthetic, or epistemological value?

Please send 150-word abstracts, with a title page and keywords, and a 300-word CV to Ivana Vranic ( and Ivana Horacek (
by June 5, 2017. 

Tags:  alchemy; science; materiality; transformation; mat 

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Visions and the Reliability of Sight, 1500–1700 [Deadline Extended - June 5, 2017]

Posted By Marsha Libina, Thursday, June 1, 2017

During the Reformation, a period in which claims to religious truths were highly contested, attitudes toward vision and visionary experience became a vital topic of debate among religious thinkers, reformers, image-makers, and art theorists. Phenomena such as apparitions, revelations, prophecies, and dreams were thought to be grounded in sensory perception, but the fallibility of the senses raised serious concerns regarding the veracity and authenticity of visionary accounts, as well as the capacity of the religious image to transmit these accounts to a broader audience. What is more, the risk of demonic spirits infiltrating the artist’s imagination – itself conceived of as a visual process – called into question the reliability of image-makers as mediators of the divine. Representations and accounts of visions thus reinforced and disseminated authorized narratives about proper Christian belief and practice, on the one hand, and opened up a space for uncontrolled and potentially heterodox thinking, on the other.

This panel seeks to open up conversation about Early Modern anxieties surrounding visionary experience, the miraculous, and the reliability of sight, as these play out in the art of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe and the colonial Americas. In particular, it aims to investigate how visions, and the discourses surrounding them, challenged artists to invent a new visual language capable of representing a wide range of visionary experiences. We welcome papers that take a global and interdisciplinary approach.

We invite paper proposals that address such topics as:

  • Corporeal, imaginary, and intellectual vision; the role of the artistic image in facilitating contemplation of the divine
  • The artist’s imagination
  • The incorporation of scientific and theological literature on spiritual discernment into discourses on art making
  • The role of socially marginalized groups in reshaping traditional theological narratives through visionary experiences
  • The representation of visions and visionaries
  • The mobilization of images to authenticate visionary experiences
  • Issues of false or deceptive vision in art
  • Pictorial engagements with concerns about the reliability, objectivity, and certainty of vision
  • Local cults and miraculous images that brought about visions of the divine or whose foundations had visionary origins
  • The importation of European iconographies of visionary experience to the Americas

These themes are meant to serve as starting points for possible investigations. Papers that go beyond these topics are welcome.

Please submit your paper proposal by June 5, 2017 to Marsha Libina ( and Alexandra Letvin ( Your proposal should include the following:

  • Name, affiliation, email address
  • Paper title (max. 15 words)
  • Abstract (max. 150 words)
  • Keywords
  • A brief CV (max. 300 words, in ordinary CV format)

Tags:  Americas  art history  devotion  discernment  Europe  imagination  invisible  miraculous  senses  sight  vision 

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Representing Adultery in the Early Modern Netherlands [DEADLINE EXTENDED JUNE 2]

Posted By Barbara A. Kaminska, Saturday, May 27, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This session is sponsored by Historians of Netherlandish Art.

In the Institution of Christian Matrimony (1526), Erasmus lamented: “Why is it necessary to have certain stories depicted in church at all? Why a youth and a girl lying in the same bed? Why David watching Bathsheba from his window and summoning her to be defiled, or embracing the Shunammite who was sent to him?” Despite being deemed inappropriate, stories of adulterous encounters and their aftermath were common in early modern Netherlandish art – but they were rarely understood as negative examples of sexual transgressions only. Rather, as scholars in recent years have shown, these images connoted a variety of meanings within religious and art theoretical discourses. In the sixteenth century, adultery began to be associated with idolatry and viewers’ susceptibility to the “seduction of sight,” and artists’ experiments with different pictorial idioms and traditions were described – as we learn from Karel van Mander – in terms of “committing adultery.” In theological and devotional texts, the focus of themes such as Christ and the adulterous woman shifted from the sins of the flesh to much graver sins of the heart. Following these new approaches, this panel seeks to investigate the understanding of adultery in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century art and culture. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

·       Depictions of biblical and mythological stories of adultery

·       Collecting and display of images of adultery

·       Adultery in vernacular plays of the rhetoricians

·       Discussion of adultery in catechisms, sermons, and devotional literature

·       Adultery as a metaphor in the art theoretical discourse

Please send your proposal including your contact information, the paper’s title (max. 15 words), an abstract (max. 150 words), keywords, and a brief CV (max. 300 words) to Dr. Barbara Kaminska ( by Friday, June 2, 2017

Tags:  adultery  art practice and theory  early modern  HNA  idolatry  image and text  Netherlandish 


CFP: El Greco, State of the Field

Posted By Rebecca J. Long, Thursday, May 25, 2017

El Greco: State of the Field

Following the many projects related to El Greco that were undertaken for the artist’s anniversary year in 2014, this panel seeks new and innovative scholarship drawing upon recent discoveries and reconsiderations of El Greco and his artistic environment, in advance of a major exhibition planned for 2019-2020. Of particular interest are studies related to the development of El Greco’s career in Venice/Rome and his early years in Toledo, as well as the artist’s patronage, workshop practice (including his use of drawings and sculpture), and intellectual milieu.

Proposals should include a working title, abstract of 150 words or less, and a curriculum vitae, and should be submitted to Rebecca Long at by Sunday, June 4. 

Tags:  El Greco  Italy  patronage  Rome  Spain  theory  Toledo  Venice 

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CFP Confraternities In Public and In Private (DEADLINE EXTENDED - 1 JUNE 2017)

Posted By Samantha J. Hughes-Johnson, Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Society for Confraternity Studies will sponsor a number of sessions at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (22 - 24 March 2018) in New Orleans, USA. We invite proposals for papers on the following theme:


Confraternities In Public and In Private


The term “Janus faced” has been employed to describe the sometimes incongruous nature of confraternal patronage and membership. While confraternities’ public and private life might have contrasted sharply, this did not always end in dissonance. Medieval and Renaissance lay companies the world over routinely consolidated public and private spheres (either consciously or unconsciously) to ensure the continuance of their various operations.  We invite papers that explore the balance and coherence between facets that were seemingly diametrically opposed. Papers might focus on:


Visible Activities and Output

·      Cultural productions (artworks, drama, poetry, music, architecture, regalia).

·      Festive nature (pageants, processions, feasting, theatrical tableau, field sports).

·      Use of shared urban spaces for ritual or devotion.

·      Philanthropic relationships with humankind (conspicuous acts of charity, artistic patronage and social auspice).


Clandestine Activities

·      Record keeping and other archival practices.

·      Private prayers, meals, meetings, voting and rituals.

·      Inconspicuous acts of charity.


Papers must concentrate on confraternal activities between 1400 and 1750 CE and may deal with groups of any race, denomination or faith in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East or Asia. We are particularly interested in papers dealing with Franco-American, Luso-American, Meso-American and slave confraternities.


Proposals should include the presenter’s name, academic affiliation, postal address, email, telephone, the paper title (no longer than 15 words), the abstract of the paper (no longer than 150 words), a brief academic C.V. (not longer than 300 words), and a series of key-words that suit the presentation. Please be sure all nine (9) categories of information are clearly provided.

Please submit your proposal to Dr Samantha J.C. Hughes-Johnson at by 1 June 2017.


Tags:  archives.Art history  Art history  artistic patronage  charity  confraternity  cultural production  devotional space  lay company  pageants  ritual space  sodality  Works of Corporal Mercy 

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Following the Paper Trail? Complexities, Implications and Problems in Interpreting Primary Sources for Artistic Production

Posted By Costanza L. Beltrami, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Following the Paper Trail? Complexities, Implications and Problems in Interpreting Primary Sources for Artistic Production

Organised by: Maggie Crosland, Saida Bondini and Costanza Beltrami, The Courtauld Institute of Art

As (art) historians we often use documents as evidence. Indeed, what could offer us more direct information about an object, artwork or building than the records of the material used to construct it, or the payments for its labor?

And yet, the mechanisms through which uniquely useful documents such as inventories, contracts and payment accounts are produced are not always transparent. In fact, these are formulaic documents written within tight conventions, for specific economic or legal ends. In this session, we aim to investigate how these records came to be, how they relate to the objects they purportedly explain and how they influence our perception, analysis and conclusions on the past and its relics.

In proposing this session, we are interested in uncovering what documents hide. For example, a contract must often be the final product of a long and multiple discussion. As such, this document reduces the interaction of several people — masters, family members, advisors, apprentices etc. to the legal agreement between just two, effacing all the other voices as well as the temporal dimension of reflection, creation, and changes of mind.

A goal of this session is to provide a platform through which scholars of different media and geographic location can discuss the complexities and implications of relying on and using primary documents. As such, we are interested in paper proposals that engage with such documents from a range of standpoints. Suggested topics include:

-       The temporal and plural vision of the past as revealed or hidden by documents

-       Establishing patron-artist networks through primary sources

-       Implications of agency and patronage 

-       The bureaucratic nature of artist contracts and payment accounts

-       Missing conversations – how to look beyond the one-to-one relationship suggested by contracts and payment accounts

-       Reconstructing the lost/missing archive

-       Early modern and modern historiography on the use of primary sources

-       What information remains hidden in the archive, and what is published and promoted instead? What does this tell us about our changing perception and efforts to shape the past?

To be considered for our panel, please email with:

  • The title of your proposed paper (15-word maximum)
  • Abstract (150-word maximum)
  • Keywords
  • A very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum), formatted to the RSA’s standards.

Please note that the deadline for submitting your paper proposal to the organizers is June 4, 2017.


Tags:  archive  Art History  documents  historiography  interdisciplinary  interpretation  networks  paper trail  primary sources 

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Particularities of Place: Collecting Early Modern European Art in the Southern United States

Posted By Alexis R. Culotta, Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Particularities of Place: Collecting Early Modern European Art in the Southern United States 


The history of early modern European art collections in the American south offers a complex yet compelling narrative. In the spirit of this year's host city of New Orleans, this session aims to examine the history of early modern holdings across the southern United States and the extent to which cultural and/or sociological connections informed the development of these collections.


This session invites submissions from all art historical and museological disciplines on any form of artistic production dating to the early modern era (roughly 1400-1750) provided it bears connection the general geographic footprint of the southern United States. Paper topics can range from individual art work case studies to larger surveys, and those that look to the driving forces behind these collections – such as collector's or curator's personalities; finding a place in history; or a passion for education – are particularly encouraged. 


Please send an abstract of 150 words, a one-page CV, and contact information by email attachment to Alexis Culotta ( and Vanessa Schmid ( no later than 3 June 2017. 

Tags:  Art  Art history  Baroque  collecting culture  construction  early modern  Netherlandish  reception  Renaissance  Spanish and Italian Renaissance  Visual Culture 

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The Golden Legend: The Many Afterlives of Jacobus de Varagine (d. 1298)

Posted By Alison K. Frazier, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Golden Legend:

The Many Afterlives of Jacobus de Varagine (d.1298)

The Hagiography Society invites abstracts addressing the persistence of the thirteenth-century Legenda aurea into the age of print and global Catholicism. Compiled by Genoese Dominican Jacobus de Varagine, the Golden Legend enjoyed medieval popularity proven by hundreds of manuscripts and artistic programs. Much less explored is the renaissance success of the compilation, which continued to be printed right across the sixteenth century, even in the homages of imitators. What was the role of printed images in its evolution? What can we learn from the printing history of this work? What part did the Counterreformation play in its success? To what extent did the Golden Legend enter the global market? What local translations, adaptations, illustrations, reframings, additions, reworkings, and extractions kept these saints’ stories alive for new audiences, even as emerging intellectual currents undercut their theological and epistemological status?

Contact with your titled abstract of not more than 150 words. Deadline 5 June 2017.

More information about procedures:


Tags:  Book History  Golden Legend  Martyrs  Relics  Saints  Shrines 

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Alonso Berruguete and His Time: Art between Italy and Spain

Posted By Alison K. Frazier, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Alonso Berruguete and his Time: Art between Italy and Spain

Alonso Berruguete (1488-1561) is one of the most celebrated artists of the Spanish Renaissance. After spending his formative years in Italy, he returned to Spain in 1518, where he developed a style of daring modernity. Yet his place in Art History continues to be diminished, especially in the United States. In 2019, the National Gallery of Art in Washington will offer an important corrective by hosting the first exhibition of Berruguete’s work outside Spain. The American Academy in Rome is pleased to sponsor this panel, which looks forward to that exhibition: we seek papers that treat aspects of sculpture in Spain during the age of Berruguete.

We are particularly interested in contributions on:

- Berruguete as multi-media artist—sculptor, draftsman, painter

- Berruguete and the dilemma of connoisseurship—new and old attributions

- Spanish artists in Italy; Italian artists in Spain

- The broader artistic and cultural environment in which Berruguete and his Spanish contemporaries worked  

Abstracts for 20-minute papers are due by 3 June 2017. Include title, abstract of no more than 150 words, at least two keywords, and a short bio of no more than 300 words.

Please send your submission to C.D. Dickerson ( and Fernando Loffredo ( Applicants will be notified by June 5.  

Sponsored by American Academy in Rome—Society of Fellows

Tags:  Berruguete  Italy  National Gallery  Spain 

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The Aesthetics of Suffering in Early Modern Europe

Posted By Sarah R. Kyle, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Boccaccio described Florence in 1348 as a living tomb riddled with fear and hypocrisy where “the multitude of the deaths . . . was such that those who heard the tale . . . were struck dumb with amazement.”  His account of the incomprehensibility of the Black Death roughly coincides with the beginning of a seismic shift in the conceptualization of suffering.  Pre-modern European sensibilities generally regarded suffering, even its most extreme forms, as part of an inalterable divine order of redemption—nowhere more evident than in the ubiquitous image of the Crucifixion.  However, by the time of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 philosophers like Voltaire found it impossible to make sense of “evil” with reference to the plan of God.  Between the Black Death and the Lisbon earthquake, the human ability and responsibility to reshape nature radically increased, even though the response to suffering was still unstably compounded with the pious acceptance of suffering.  From “dance” or “triumph” of death imagery to illustrated parables, humanist iconographies of “soul care,” and physicians' regimens of physical and mental health, artists, writers, and philosophers navigated the space between meaningless and meaningful tragedy, depicting suffering in ways that reflected and shaped the shifting cultural ground that would eventually consolidate the modern concepts of nature, pain, and medicine. This session invites papers that explore questions of how visual art created an aesthetics of suffering to explore the spaces between meaningless and meaningful tragedy.

Please send your proposal (150-word maximum), paper title, and a brief CV (300-word maximum) to Sarah Kyle ( and Scott Samuelson ( by Friday, June 2, 2017.

Tags:  Art History  Devotion  early modern  history of medicine  humanism  interdisciplinary  magic  poetry and painting  punishment  Religion  ritualized responses  sensory experience 

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