Tag: Art History

Exhibitions and Symposium | ‘Rome: Piranesi’s Vision’ at the SLV and ‘The Piranesi Effect’ at the Ian Potter

In February 2014 two exhibitions on the eighteenth-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi will open in Melbourne. The State Library of Victoria will host ‘Rome: Piranesi’s Vision’ – an exhibition of Piranesi’s prints, with a particular focus on his Vedute di Roma. This exhibition will draw on the collections of the State Library of Victoria and the University of Melbourne. It will also include illustrated books and paintings by his contemporaries. More information and details of related events on the SLV website. The exhibition is free and will run from Saturday 22 February 2014 – Sunday 22 June 2014 at the Keith Murdoch Gallery in the State Library of Victoria. The Ian Potter Museum at the University of Melbourne will host ‘The Piranesi Effect’. This exhibition will juxtapose Piranesi’s engravings with contemporary art. It will include objects from the Classics and Archaeology Collection…

Exhibition Review | ‘America: Painting a Nation’. Reviewed by Diane Kirkby.

America: Painting a Nation Diane Kirkby  America: Painting a Nation is at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 8th November 2013 – 9th February 2014. At a time when historians are increasingly displacing nation-building as the purpose for knowing the past, it could seem a retrograde step to make this the foundation principle through which to showcase important works of art. Nevertheless, an exhibition organised around the concept of Painting a Nation immediately provokes questions about meaning and definitions that may not have simple answers. Approaching the exhibition as a historian of the United States and its art, I was mindful of the question former Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes asked: ‘What can you learn about America by looking at its art?’ The answer found here is, unfortunately, nothing of depth. It is valuable to have these questions prompted:…

Lecture | Pat Simons ‘The Crone, the Witch and the Library in Renaissance Italy’

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The Crone, the Witch and the Library in Renaissance Italy Professor Pat Simons, University of Michigan This paper examines ways in which renewed attention to antiquity during the Renaissance re-invigorated misogynist stereotypes of old women as well as bringing new evidence to the emerging discourse about witches, hence shaping for the hag a vivid pictorial presence. Proof for the threatening female figure was drawn from the humanist’s library of classical authors, many cited in Giovanfrancesco Pico della Mirandola’s Stryx (1523), which stated that witches were ‘ancient in essence and new in accidents.’ Late medieval depictions of the crone were amalgamated with classical precedents to produce new or revised images such as the personification of Envy, which is a focus here, since Pico claimed it was the core motivation for demons. However, not all witches were conflated with the image of…

EVCS | Angelo Lo Conte, ‘Landscapes & Garlands of Flowers: an example of naturalistic Lombard devotion’.

Angelo Lo Conte Landscapes & Garlands of Flowers: an example of naturalistic Lombard devotion. This paper explores the invention and the development of the garland of flowers in European art, characterizing it as an example of mutual synergy between Italian philosophy and Flemish art. During the second half of the sixteenth century, Christian philosophy was strongly influenced by figures such as Filippo Neri, Agostino Valier and Federico Borromeo, who introduced a second wave of Counter-Reformational thought based on an innovative, optimistic idea of the world and of mankind’s role in it. According to this interpretation, all created things, animate and inanimate, had a positive value. Nature was thus seen as a manifestation of God’s goodness, and contemplation of nature became a way to establish a spiritual connection with God. Federico Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, explored this philosophical approach in the…

NGV Forum | How to look good naked – From Antiquity to the Renaissance

Forum: How to look good naked- From Antiquity to the Renaissance Sat 9 Nov, 1-3.30pm Ancient Greeks Looking Good: Nudity, Clothing and Antiquities at the NGV The ancient Greeks celebrated the body beautiful – which, for males at least, also meant the naked body. Men exercised and competed at athletic games in the nude, and their victories in both sport and war were commemorated with statues of idealised, perfectly formed nude bodies. Women in contrast were depicted clothed, until famously and scandalously the 4th century BC sculptor Praxiteles created the Aphrodite of Knidos, the first completely naked female sculpture. Painted vases show a similar obsession with idealised bodies, but also reveal a diversity of approaches to nudity: the comical side to nakedness, the ugliness as well as the erotic. This lecture places the NGV antiquities in their wider social context of…

EVCS | Felicity Harley-McGowan ‘Being Blunt: The art history ‘revolution’ in 1940s London′

  Felicity Harley-McGowan ‘Being Blunt’: The art history ‘revolution’ in 1940s London In 1940, London was home to a thriving network of scholarly activity in the discipline of art history. Three books published in that year have been seen within their own fields of research to epitomise the radical transformation of the discipline in the English-speaking world across the 1930s and 1940s. Concerning aspects of classical, medieval and Renaissance art and intellectual culture, each was published by a leading institution (The Courtauld Institute, British Museum, and The Warburg Institute), and authored by now-celebrated scholars (Anthony Blunt, Ernst Kitzinger, and Jean Seznec). This paper will examine aspects of the innovative pedagogical and research ideas epitomised by the books collectively; and with reference to the current state of the discipline, will reflect on the ways in which each was a catalyst for…

EVCS | Anne McComish ‘Myths and Reality: Mosaics from the Vatican Studio, 1900-32’

Anne McComish Myths and Reality: Mosaics from the Vatican Studio, 1900-32 The Vatican Mosaic Studio has been producing mosaic artworks of the highest quality since 1727. Some of its finest works take pride of place in the decorative-arts collections of the world’s major galleries, while others are regularly offered for sale by the world’s leading auction houses. Naturally, the finest works are the most valuable, and it is frequently also assumed that the finest works are necessarily the oldest. However, are all of the works on display or offered for sale as old as their gallery labels or sales catalogues suggest? And how many of them are from the Vatican Mosaic Studio at all? Attribution and dating are among the most challenging tasks for any art historian but in the case of mosaics from the Vatican Mosaic Studio the task…

Reminder | AAANZ call for papers closes this Friday 30th August

The call for papers for this year’s AAANZ conference ‘Inter-discipline’ (Melbourne, December 7-9) closes this Friday 30th August. Please see the CFP page for details, or download the call for papers as a PDF here AAANZ_Call_For_Papers (updated) Please note a few sessions have been updated since the original CFP was posted. There is an open session if you have a paper that fits the theme of the conference but doesn’t fit with any of the sessions. There is a list of Early Modern art history sessions here.

AAANZ 2013 PhD Graduate Prize | Entries invited

A new competition for recent PhD Graduates to be judged on Saturday 7 December 2013, prior to the Annual AAANZ conference in Melbourne.   The outstanding presentation will receive $1000 sponsored by Taylor and Francis the new publisher of the AAANZ journal. Eligibility • Candidates who have been awarded a PhD in 2012 • Candidates must be members of AAANZ Submission Candidates should submit their thesis abstract and, if appropriate, excerpts from their markers’ reports (2–3 page maximum). In addition, they will present their work to a judging panel in December, following the guidelines for the 3-minute thesis competition (details below). Rules 1) A single, static PowerPoint slide is permitted 2) No additional electronic media 3) No additional props 4) Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum – competitors exceeding 3 minutes will bedisqualified 5) The decision of the adjudicating…

EVCS 2013

After a brief hiatus, the European Visual Culture Seminar series returns with three papers of the second half of 2013. All three will be held in Room 205, Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville. Monday 23 September, 6:30pm Anne McComish, Myths and Reality: Mosaics from the Vatican Mosaic Studio, 1900-32. Monday 28 October, 6:30pm Felicity Harley-McGowan, Being Blunt: The Art History ‘Revolution’ in 1940s London. Monday 25 November, 6:30pm Angelo Lo Conte, Landscapes and Garlands of Flowers: An example of naturalistic Lombard devotion.

Call for Papers | The Early Modern Villa: The Senses and Perceptions versus Materiality

The Early Modern Villa: The Senses and Perceptions versus Materiality International Symposium, Wilanów Palace, Warsaw, October 15-17, 2014 Convenors: Barbara Arciszewska, Warsaw University | Paweł Jaskanis, Wilanów Palace Museum Enhanced interest in sensual perception was one of the mainstays of early modern culture. The development of new visual conventions (most notably the linear perspective) and ‘ocularcentric’ character of early modern science has long focused scholarly attention on the contemporary obsession with sight and optional illusion. Yet sight, although privileged as a nucleus of artistic theory and analytical instrument in natural philosophy, was but one of the senses which were to be attracted, and then gratified by the display of early modern art and architecture. The complex discourse of sensual perception and gratification embraced all senses, although their role depended on the comparative value assigned to the senses themselves, on their…

Seminar | ‘Magical Transparencies: Seeing the Divine in Glass’ Peter French

Magical Transparencies: Seeing the Divine in Glass Peter French This seminar examines key elements of the religious iconography of Australian contemporary glass artist, David Wright (b.1948). Following a brief introduction to the artist and the context in which the artist is working, especially concerning Australian religiosity in the latter part of the twentieth century, this seminar will use the artist’s representations of the three persons of the Trinity as a focal point for a deeper understanding of the artist’s iconographies and the influences behind such images. The Australian nature of such iconography will also be considered and the role of artist as visual exegete. David Wright was awarded an Order of Australia on Australia Day, 2013, for ‘services to the visual arts in the medium of stained glass.’ Peter French is a PhD candidate in the Art History Program, School…

Seminar | The Contexts of Early Christian Art: Basilicas, Space and Roma Christiana, 312-384 CE Lachlan Turnbull

The Contexts of Early Christian Art: Basilicas, Space and Roma Christiana, 312-384 CE Lachlan Turnbull | University of Melbourne (PhD Completion Seminar) Date: Wednesday 1 August |  1-2 pm Venue:  Old Physics G16 (Jim Potter room) The study of the art seen, used and commissioned by Christians in Rome during the fourth century poses complex and subtle problems. In the period 312 to 384 ce new iconographic themes emerged and novel spatial contexts were defined, contributing to the making of an identifiably Christian visual culture. My thesis suggests an approach to understanding the emergence of Christian art at Rome based upon methodological concerns for topography and space. As demonstrated by three key sites, new audiences for, themes in, and the media of Christian art in Rome were impelled by a growing network of Christian sites. This seminar is part of the ongoing…

News | Art history helps us understand our society and identity, so why is it under threat?

An article published today by Anthony White (Lecturer in Art history at The University of Melbourne and head of the Victorian chapter of AAANZ) in The Age addresses why it makes no sense for La Trobe to cut a department with healthy enrolments, strong postgrads and dedicated, high-achieving staff. THE recent proposal by La Trobe University to cut its humanities subjects has provoked vigorous criticism in Australia and internationally. Among the proposals to close disciplines (including linguistics, Indonesian, gender and religion studies), the plan to discontinue art history has drawn a particularly sharp response. The La Trobe University program has produced some of the finest art historians and curators in Australia. Many have gone on to successful careers at museums and universities that include the British Library, the Queensland Art Gallery and the University of Melbourne. Tony Ellwood, a La…

News | Why La Trobe needs to support cultural life in Australia

Joanna Mendelsshon (Program Director, Art Administration, School of Art History and Art Education at University of New South Wales) has written a fantastic article for The Conversation in which she succinctly lays out the reasons why universities, like La Trobe, need to teach art history. La Trobe university’s art history department is set to be abolished, with a consultation period over the changes to the university’s humanities program to end this month. While one art history department might not seem like much, the repercussions will be felt throughout academia and the art world. If it is cut, it will leave only one fully fledged art history department left in Victoria, limiting the choice for students and affecting the future of Australian galleries and museums. The Art Association of Australia and New Zealand (AAANZ) and the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) have both written in protest…