Appel à communication : Trois nouvelles sessions pour le Congrès de la RSA (Boston, 31 mars-2 avril 2016)

RSANewLogoTrois nouvelles sessions pour le congrès annuel de la RSA proposent un appel à communication :

1. Converging paths. Encounters between art and science
Deadline: June 6, 2015

Art and science encounter each other when they seek exactitude. (E.-J. Marey)

In spite of being very different research fields, with different goals and methodologies, art and science can interact in many ways and influence each other. Progress in scientific research can bring about progresses in art, as testified by the introduction of the perspective in Renaissance art, and technical discoveries, such as the invention of oil painting, can offer artists new expressive tools. Furthermore, science can also provide valuable tools for studying Cultural Heritage, e.g. the Infrared Reflectography. On the other hand, art can support science in different ways, for example as a visual aid for explanations (e.g. anatomical drawing) or as a tool to disseminate scientific knowledge (e.g. herbals).

This session aims at scrutinizing the most meaningful encounter occasions between art and science and is open to papers that explore the matter from different perspectives. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

– Scientific knowledge in the late Middle Ages and Modern Age (optics, botany, medicine, perspective, engineering, etc.) and their interaction with artistic culture;
– Different interactions among art and science (art as a support for research, art for scientific dissemination, science for Cultural Heritage studies, etc.);
– Artists with an eye on science (Cennino Cennini, Piero della Francesca, etc.) and scientists with an eye on art (Pietro d’Abano, Giovanni Dondi dell’Orologio, etc.);
– Materials and artistic techniques (painting, sculpture, illumination, etc.);
– Science as an artistic subject (representation of planets, constellations and zodiacal signs, of alchemical processes, etc.);
– The image and the birth of Modern science;
– Measuring and drawing the world: artists and engineers choreographies;
– Collecting science: measuring instruments (astrolabes, clocks, armillary spheres, etc.) and science images (maps, depictions of the world, science books and illuminated manuscripts, etc.) in courtly culture.

Proposals should include the author’s name, professional affiliation, and contact information, including email address; the paper’s title (15-word maximum); an abstract (150-word maximum); a brief CV (300-word maximum); and any applicable keywords. Please submit proposals to session organizer Chiara Ponchia ( by 6 June 2015.


2. What Goes Inside
Panel sponsored by the European Architectural History Network
Deadline: June 8, 2015

The study of Renaissance architecture, it might be said, centers on the façade. The classical canon of building orders – whether in early-modern interpretations of Vitruvius, the study of Roman ruins, or the development and dispersion of ancient building forms in prints and drawings – still dominates the scholarship. And so often, that which is not immediately present, lacks classical influence, and is not traditionally considered as “architecture,” is forgotten. This panel invites papers that explore the often-overlooked mechanical, decorative and utilitarian constructions “inside” early-modern architecture. This might include timepieces, intarsia paneling, fireplaces and furnaces, terrazzo flooring, fountains and plumbing systems, lamps and torches, locks, gates, and doors, but also windows, grates, and turn cabinets. Papers should explore how architectural “inserts” relate to the buildings that contain them. How did the facture of these elements fit within the greater construction process? And how, if at all, did such building components direct the building’s design? Beyond this, how did architectural inserts influence or enhance certain uses and perceptions of the building? Papers might also discuss the technical aspects involved in the production of such architectural extensions, the artistic background of their makers, and the professional communities that developed around these so often overlooked design trades.

Please submit a paper title (15-word maximum), abstract (150-word maximum), keywords, and a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum) to both Elizabeth Merrill ( and Nele de Raedt ( by no later than June 8, 2015.


3. Empowering Art. Artistic Education at Court  in a global Perspective, 1500-1700.
Deadline: June 9, 2015

An engraving realized by Stefano della Bella in 1656 shows the future Cosimo III de’ Medici drawing from life the imposing Medici vase, at the time still displayed in Rome, in the garden of Villa Medici. The young prince is portrayed holding a clapboard on which lays his drawing and a quilt. He seems very concentrated on reproducing some details of the marble vase on paper, following the teaching of his drawing master, Stefano della Bella himself.

As this image suggests, during the seventeenth century Medici princes were trained in drawing by well-established artists. A basic training in drawing, painting and even sculpting was common among European courts during the early modern period, as archival documents and contemporary historical accounts demonstrate. The canvases, colours, and chisels often listed in the inventories of the goods belonging to members of ruling families throughout Europe, both male and female, further confirm this practice. However, we still know very little about this important aspect of court education. On what theoretical grounds was manual training in an artistic activity considered to be beneficial for future rulers and for their perspective wives? Who was in charge of teaching them and what qualities did a good teacher need to possess? Were young princes encouraged to pursue some activities, like architectural drawings, more than others? Why?

While discussing the topic of court education, this panel also aims at investigating to what extent members of ruling families were competent as art practitioners and to what extent artistic connoisseurship was considered a sign of distinction. Papers that take a theoretical approach to the topic as well as those that consider specific case studies are welcome. We encourage submissions from scholars working on extra-European courts, which will allow us to highlight similarities and variances among diverse cultures and consider the role assigned to art in different political and cultural systems.

Please submit a 150 word max. abstract with paper title, along with a brief curriculum vitae of no more than 300 words and any applicable keywords to both organizers Barbara Furlotti ( and Frances Gage ( by June 9, 2015.


For RSA guidelines on paper proposals and other information about the conference, please consult the RSA website:

Congrès de la RSA, Boston,  31 mars-2 avril 2016 :



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