Symposium | The Emotions of Love in the Art of Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe | Melbourne

Sebald Beham, Venus (1539), from The Seven Planets series (1539). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1923. Accession number: 1278.582-3. and EMotion

Save the date for the upcoming symposium presented by The Centre for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne and the National Gallery of Victoria

The Emotions of Love in the Art of Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Date: Thursday 4 May – Saturday 6 May 2021

Venue: Thursday and Friday – University of Melbourne, Woodward Conference Centre, 10th floor, Melbourne Law (Building 106), 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

Venue: Saturday – The National Gallery of Victoria, Clemenger Auditorium, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Convenors: Charles Zika and Angela Hesson

Contact: Julie Davies (


Registrations: Opening soon!

Love in Medieval and Early Modern Europe was a complex emotion, a constellation of feelings shaped and reflected by artists, writers and thinkers that sought to give expression to human experience and also provide models for individual and group behavior. Notions of love took different forms and involved a range of emotions across time and space, under the influence of changing community norms, cultural practices, political institutions and social media. This symposium coincides with the exhibition Love: Art of Emotion 1400–1800 at the National Gallery of Victoria, 31 March–18 June, 2017, which draws on the NGV’s permanent collection of European art. The accompanying symposium will engage with and extend the themes presented in the exhibition primarily through visual art, but also through literature and music. It will explore how artists expressed and aroused feelings of love through gesture and facial expression, colour and shape, the context of place and narrative, the representation of bodies, and references to contemporary rituals and practices. It will examine the ways different forms of love, including affection, friendship, intimacy, erotic desire, jealousy and compassion were applied to various objects of love – such as family and kin, the divinity and saints, fatherlands and the self. It will consider how these representations created new understandings of love, which in turn influenced developments in the religious, political, cultural and domestic spheres.

Speakers will include: 

David Areford (University of Massachusetts, Art History), Katie Barclay (University of Adelaide, History), Lisa Beaven (University of Melbourne, Art History), Jane Davidson (University of Melbourne, Musicology), Dagmar Eichberger (University of Heidelberg, Art History), Vivien Gaston ( University of Melbourne, Art History), Katrina Grant (Australian National University, Art History), Angela Hesson (University of Melbourne, Art History), Sally Holloway (Royal Holloway, University of London, History), Petra Kayser (NGV, Prints & Drawings), Dale Kent (University of Melbourne, History), David Marshall (University of Melbourne, Art History), Sophie Mattheisson (NGV, Art History), Jennifer Milam (University of Sydney, Art History), Mark Nicholls (University of Melbourne, Cinema Studies), John Payne (NGV, Conservation), Mark Shepheard (University of Melbourne, Art History), Patricia Simons (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Art History), Miya Tokumitsu (University of Melbourne, Art History), Stephanie Trigg (University of Melbourne, Literature), Arvi Wattel (University of Western Australia, Art History), Anna Welch (State Library of Victoria, History) and Charles Zika (University of Melbourne, History).

This symposium is associated with the exhibition “Love: Art of Emotion 1400–1800” at NGV International, opening on the 31st March.

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