Art and Ideas on the Move, 1400-1600 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Art and Ideas on the Move, 1400-1600

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Conference, Research Forum

Art and Ideas on the Move, 1400-1600

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

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The Corselet Bearers’ from The Triumphs of Caesar, Andrea Mantegna, tempera on canvas, c.1484-92, Hampton Court Palace. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Organised by

  • Emily Markham - Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Peter Crack - Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Saida Bondini - Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Anna Merlini - Courtauld Institute of Art

The Annual Renaissance Postgraduate Symposium

‘[H]e who changes his country or place of habitation seems to change his nature, talents, character, and personal habits, insomuch that sometimes he seems to be not the same man but another, and all dazed and stupefied’  

Giorgio Vasari on Rosso Fiorentino, trans. Gaston du C. Vere (1909)

In tracing the patterns of movement of people in and through different geographic regions – whether as merchants, pilgrims, scholars, soldiers, vagrants or the like – the highly mobile nature of many communities from the medieval to the early modern period has come to the fore in recent scholarship with particular clarity. As part of this scholarly trend, art historians have increasingly adopted the term ‘mobility’ as a byword for the study of the cultural effects of not only the migration of people (most notably artists and patrons) but also the concomitant flow between different geographic locales of images, objects, artefacts, materials, techniques and ideas.

This symposium seeks to explore how modern perceptions of artistic practice and visual experience in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries have been, and continue to be, remapped according to this new academic topos of movement, restlessness and itinerancy. In particular, this symposium intends to address the following questions: what sits behind the label of ‘mobility’? Does the study of migration and movement simply reformulate age-old art-historical concerns or does it offer a new and profitable avenue for exploring the interplay between notions of artistic exchange, stylistic development and, above all, regional or cultural identity? Is it possible to explore the nature of artistic encounter within (or indeed without) Europe in these terms or is this question rooted in, and bound by, the very notions of cultural coherence and geographic fixity that the study of mobility challenges?



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