62nd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America
Boston, 31 March–2 April 2016
Park Plaza Hotel and Hynes Convention Center
CFP: Beyond the Wanderjahr: Microhistories of artistic travel in Renaissance Europe
(Deadline: June 6, 2015)
Recent scholarship has emphasized the extent to which works of art circulated in fifteenth- and early-sixteenth-century Europe, but the movements of individual artists, less tangible and less easily categorized as an aggregate whole, bear witness to exchange and dialogue at a more localized level. Beyond the famous examples of individual travellers crossing the Alps (Fouquet, Dürer, Gossaert, Van Heemskerck), many lesser-known cases of peripatetic displacement occurred, motivated by a variety of concerns beyond the nebulous desire to explore new areas for proto-touristic or proto-art-historical reasons. The diplomatic excursions of Jan van Eyck to Portugal and Gentile Bellini to Istanbul are well-known, but how do the seemingly erratic circulations of Michel Sittow (from Tallinn to Flanders to Denmark to Toledo), Aristotile Fioravanti (from Bologna to Moscow) or Nicolò Brancaleon (from Venice to Ethiopia) confirm or challenge received notions of center versus periphery, heartland versus hinterland? Furthermore, how can physical evidence of artistic travel by anonymous craftsmen (masons, sculptors, weavers, armorers) be addressed by a discipline still deeply inflected by its commitment to Grand Tour geopolitics and the North/South divide? How did artists themselves perceive geographical and political boundaries, and how can lesser-known instances of individual travel across broader geographic distances be appreciated both as unique events and as indices of wider concerns? Returning to the individual narrative, this session seeks to “ask large questions in small places” by examining the lived realities of artists’ journeys in Renaissance Europe.
Proposals should include the paper title, a short abstract (150 word maximum), and a brief curriculum vitae (300 word maximum).