Sydney Art History Lecture and Seminar | Alexander Nagel

alexander nagel lectureProfessor Alexander Nagel from New York University is giving a lecture and a special research workshop in Sydney next week.

Lecture | The Renaissance Elsewhere
10 March, 2016, 6-7.30pm

Co-presented by the Power Institute and Sydney Ideas

Italian art in the period between ca. 1300 and ca. 1500 – what is called the Renaissance – is characterized by its extraordinary openness to the world. The Renaissance represented items and ideas not only in direct proximity to artists of the time, but also distant peoples and places known to artists only through textual accounts, oral reports, drawings, imported objects and other images. Western Christian art was oriented elsewhere due to its unique position at a distinct remove from the origins of its religion, and far to the west of the centres of culture as Latin Christians understood it. It is difficult to think of another tradition of art more focused on depicting ‘elsewheres’.

Renaissance art was an art of naturalism, but it was also an art that relied to an unprecedented degree on data coming through other media. The  media-intensive nature of the art is critical to understanding the spectacular and improbable rise of painting in this period from a subordinate to a superintendent artform. Painting was vaulted to a new status because it was the medium most capable of taking in information from other media, and representing those other media (textiles, furnishings, books, metalware, ceramics, sculptures, buildings, etc.).

Professor Alexander Nagel is interested in how art is classified and reclassified over time, both through its practical handling and its theorization. Anachronism, antiquarianism, archaism, citation, and forgery have been consistently the focus of his work. Most recently, his work has turned to the question of orientation in Renaissance art. How do art works serve as means by which to orient oneself in the world? To try to answer this question for the art of the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance in the West is to open oneself to a world in which Europe was not at the center of the world but rather was looking eastward for its values, its image traditions, its sacred geography, as well as for its mythical origins.

He is author of Michelangelo and the Reform of Art (2000), Anachronic Renaissance (2010) co-authored with Christopher Wood, The Controversy of Renaissance Art (2011), and Medieval Modern: Art out of Time (2012).

POWER SEMINAR with Professor Alexander Nagel
11 March, 2016, 1.30-5pm

A special research workshop with the New York University Professor Alexander Nagel.

Juxtaposing images and ideas, the seminar opens a conversation around concepts proposed in the Power Lecture on Thursday March 10.

At its core, the seminar pursues questions fundamental to early modernity, primarily: how do the changes of European art in the sixteenth century relate to Europe’s growing cultural self-consciousness in that period? Please join us as we rethink the transformations in sixteenth-century art history, theory, and style.

Professor Nagel’s presentation looks to art and culture of the sixteenth century, wherein a reorientation of art becomes increasingly evident as Europe comes into cultural self-consciousness and projects for itself a central position in the world. It is through the lense of this timeframe, that Nagel asks: How does the orientation of earlier periods fall away?

How is this related to the emergence of a history and theory of art, as well as a consciousness of regional schools and of artistic style itself? Finally, how can it be seen in some basic characteristic of sixteenth-century painting? Please join us to discuss and explore questions pertinant to cultural transformations in sixteenth-century art history, theory and style, through the insights of our guest presenter Professor Nagel.

Date: 11th March 2016.

Register online at the Power Institute website.

Venue: CCANESA Boardroom Level 3, Madsen Building, Eastern Avenue, the University of Sydney

Contact: Ira Ferris Email: