Appel à communication : « Court sculptor : a particular social status ? » (Berlin, mars 2015)

The Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Berlin, March 26‐ 28, 2015
Organizers : Kira d’Alburquerque, Daniele Rivoletti

BandinelliThis session will consider the social status of Early Modern sculptors active in European courts. It aims at concentrating on the figure of the court artist, his life conditions, his wealth and his social recognition.
Is the category of « court sculptor » a valid one? If yes, when and where does this close tie between the artist and one official patron begin to appear? How can we define the particular characteristics of « court sculptors »? Did they evolve during the Early Modern age?

Suggested topics might include but are not limited to the following questions:

–       Were court sculptors strictly linked to their patron or did they have the freedom to work for other commissioners?

–       What are the differences and the common features between private and official sculptors in the way they received commissions: in which cases were contracts established and what were the clauses? How were the sculptors paid? Did they receive salaries? Did sculptors active for a court enjoy more benefits (such as tax exemptions, housing or workshops) than civic artists?

–       Did the manner in which sculptors promoted themselves (e.g. signatures, writing theoretical treatises, showing off their wealth and titles as signs of success, etc.) change when working for a court? Are there examples in the Early Modern period of sculptors using their workshops as spaces for self-promotion?

–       Did the travels of « court sculptors » follow a specific geographic pattern? Were they travelling from one court to another? Did their patrons recommend them to other patrons?

–       Was it easier to access expensive materials (e.g. bronze or marble) when working for a court rather than for civic commissioners?

–       Can the analysis of sculptors’ particular characteristics modify our vision of the « court artist » traditionally regarded as a painter?

Please submit a 150-word proposal with paper title and one-page CV by June 8 to Kira d’Alburquerque, École pratique des hautes études ( and Daniele Rivoletti, Université de Pau (


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