Conference: Beyond the Frame: Portraits and Personal Experience in Renaissance Europe, c.1400 – 1650

Saint Catherine of Bologna with three donors, Master of the Baroncelli (c. 1470-1480) © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, 09.30 – 17.45, Saturday 28 April 2012 (with registration from 09.00). Admission free, all welcome – No booking is necessary

In Renaissance art historical scholarship, the category of the portrait has provided a key framework for thinking about and discussing representations of the individual, an emphasis that has been echoed in a range of recent exhibitions celebrating Renaissance ‘faces’. This inaugural Renaissance postgraduate symposium at the Courtauld Institute of Art invites new scholars to explore the limits of this framework. It aims to encourage students of the Renaissance, in its broadest definition, to consider the domestic, devotional and urban environments of portraits. Contributors are invited to consider how the experience of viewing, commissioning and living with portraits affects our understanding of their meaning and function, situating the images within their historical contexts rather than within the museum’s exhibition space. Likewise, we invite participants to challenge the terminology of portraiture and to consider objects and images which do not fit into the conventional category of the ‘portrait’ but which nevertheless ‘portray’ individuals.


09.00 – 09.30: Registration

09.30 – 09.40: Welcome and Introduction – Emily Gray and Harriette Peel (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

9.40 – 11.20: SESSION 1: Private Faces in Public Places – Chair: Elizabeth McDougall (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

09.40 – 10.00: Tomasz Grusiecki (McGill University, Montreal): Portraits of the Impostor Tsarina Maryna Mniszech and the Politics of Public Imagery in Poland and Muscovy (1605-1606)

10.00 – 10.20: Emma Capron (Christie’s): Recontextualising the Perussis Altarpiece: the Political Portrayal of a Florentine Family Caught in the Turmoil of Fifteenth-Century Avignon

10.20 – 10.40: Irene Brook (independent scholar): Pietro Bembo’s Iconography Reconsidered

10.40 – 11.00: Eva Papoulia (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Gregory XII’s Architectural Programmes for Rome

11.00 – 11.20: Discussion

11.20 – 11.45: COFFEE/TEA BREAK

11.45 – 13.00: SESSION 2: Up Close and Personal – Chair: John Renner (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

11.45 – 12.05: Anna Koopstra (The Courtauld Institute of Art): The Donor’s Portrait within the Convent: Jean Bellegambe’s Flines Diptych

12.05 – 12.25: Ruthie Ezra (University of Cambridge): Framing a Funerary Fantasy: an Account of Ambiguity in the Twins Clara and Albert de Bray

12.25 – 12.45: Jacqueline Spicer (University of Edinburgh): Making Up Faces: Cosmetics and Portraiture in the Italian Renaissance

12.45 – 13.00: Discussion

13.00 – 14.00: BREAK FOR LUNCH (not provided)

14.00 – 15.40: SESSION 3: Reflections on Reality – Chair: Jim Harris (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

14.00 – 14.20: Nicholas Herman (Institute of Fine Art, New York University): Paint it Better: From Death Mask to Portrait in Renaissance France

14.20 – 14.40: Geoff Nuttall (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Sacred and Profane Likenesses: Images of the Patron in an Early Fifteenth-Century Funeral Chapel

14.40 – 15.00: Maya Corry (University of Oxford): An Androgynous Ideal? The Casio ‘Portraits’ of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio

15.00 – 15.20: Jeongho Park (Institute of Fine Art, New York University): El Greco’s Concept of Portraiture in Religious Paintings

15.20 – 15.40: Discussion

15.40 – 16.15: COFFEE/TEA BREAK

16.15 – 17.30: SESSION 4: Performing Identity – Chair: Per Rumberg (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

16.15 – 16.35: Catherine Lofthouse (University College London): Venetian Renaissance Artists Fashioned as Performers

16.35 – 16.55: Albert Godycki (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris): Portraiture, Shared Experience and the Construction of Communal Identity in Jan Van Scorel’s Jerusalem Pilgrim Portraits

16.55 – 17.15: Mary Camp (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Reading into Friendship: Pontormo’s Portrait of Two Friends c.1524

17.15 – 17.30: Discussion

Concluding Remarks: Scott Nethersole (The Courtauld Institute of Art)


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