Appel à communication : « New ‘Istoria’: Sixteenth-Century Approaches to Narrative Convention » (Vancouver, octobre 2015)

Giulio Romano, Salle des Géants, 1533-1535, Mantoue, Palazzo TeWhen Michelangelo started work on the Last Judgment (1535), a hundred years had passed since Leon Battista Alberti’s Della pittura (1435-6) introduced the concept of istoria as the “greatest work of the artist.” Alberti’s prescriptive treatment of formal techniques, composition and color provided a period-specific aesthetic vocabulary that artists translated into their modes of narrative construction. Though Alberti’s istoria established a theoretical method for image-making in a new humanist style, by the mid-sixteenth century, the evolution of artistic style required new approaches to a Quattrocento principle.

This panel seeks to explore how artists working a century after Alberti’s treatise challenged, altered or re-interpreted istoria in their approach to narrative art. By using the keystone date of 1535, this panel will investigate whether a new period eye demanded a new conception of istoria. Looking across mediums and geographic boundaries, this panel examines the transformation of istoria in terms of formal, thematic and didactic purposes from the lens of those artists working shortly after the centennial of Alberti’s publication.

How did sixteenth-century artists recalibrate their narrative conventions? Did artists vary their strategies of istoria across mediums within their oeuvre? How did the followers of High Renaissance masters similarly attempt to perpetuate this process of new istoria in their artwork?

Please submit a 250 word abstract and a one-page CV to Tiffany Lynn Hunt ( and Erin Sutherland ( by 30 March 2015.

Call for Panel Papers, Sixteenth Century Society Conference (Vancouver, 22–25 October 2015)


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