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Meet the 2023 CAA Annual Conference Kress Travel Grant Recipients
posted by CAA — Jan 30, 2023
Recognizing the value of the exchange of ideas and experience among art historians, the Kress Foundation is offering support for scholars participating as speakers at the 2023 CAA Annual Conference. The scholarly focus of the papers must be European art before 1830.
Samuel H. Kress Foundation CAA Annual Conference Travel Fellows 2023
Presentation: “Ordering the Ground: Ornamental Parterres and the Emergence of Academic Botany”
Session: Making Green Worlds (ca. 1450–1700)
Lauren Cannady, University of Maryland, College Park
Rather than the depiction of scholarly work taking place in Sébastien Leclerc’s engraved headpiece for Denis Dodart’s Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire naturelle des plantes (1676), it is a scene of the direct observation of nature glimpsed through a window that is most striking. Three men stand in an arabesque-patterned parterre to more closely examine the individual plants that compose the garden. One uses his walking cane to point out a specimen—literally embedded in the undulating scrollwork of the parterre—to his companions. This ornamental plantation—or manner of “ordering of the ground” as Francis Bacon lamented in his essay “Of Gardens” (1625)—reflects the dominant style of contemporary aristocratic pleasure and academic botanic gardens across northern Europe. Such impositions of formal, physical order on the natural world, however, belie the acknowledged chaos of seventeenth-century natural history. Bacon, among others, contended that empirical observation could best be used to make sense of the “many things in nature [that] have been laid open and discovered,” including organic material from around the world collected by Europeans in the name of colonialism. The renewed emphasis on empiricism did little, however, to rectify linguistic confusion and imprecise nomenclature, particularly pressing issues for the emerging field of botany. As a repository for nonnative flora and living laboratory for the production of naturalist knowledge, the patterned garden proved a visibly reliable way to order the natural world in early modern Europe.
Presentation: “’ A “New World” for Profit: Christopher Columbus’s Search for Gold on Genoese Silver”
Session: Making Green Worlds (ca. 1450–1700)
Jillian Laceste, Boston University
A seventeenth-century silver vase made by the Flemish silversmith Gio Aelbosca Belga for Agostino Pallavicino, the future doge of Genoa, depicts a moment of encounter between Christopher Columbus and Indigenous Americans. The vessel emphasizes a one-sided transaction by showing Indigenous figures greeting the explorer with gifts at the shore of the Atlantic. While painted Columbian artworks created in early modern Genoa treat the explorer’s arrival as a heroic maritime feat or moment of introduction of Christianity into the Americas, silver vessels such as Aelbosca’s differ because they depict Columbus’s journey for Cipangu—a land rich with gold—on the surface of silver, a precious metal crucial to Spanish colonization of the Americas. This paper will analyze the subject matter and material to address the presentation of Europe’s fertile “New World” contained within Aelbosca’s vessel. By connecting it to the history of the Americas—in particular Columbus’s failed search for gold but eventual outpouring of silver—I argue that this vase offers a view of the Americas that emphasizes not only its novelty and foreignness but also its utility for mining and profit.
Presentation: “Architectural Drawing, Information Management, and Early Modern Science: Wendel Dietterlin Drafts the Architectura (1593–98)”
Session: Drawing (New) Stories
Elizabeth Petcu, University of Edinburgh
This paper surveys the massive corpus of drawings associated with Wendel Dietterlin’s 1593–98 Architectura treatise to establish how architectural drawing in sixteenth-century Europe came to model practices for managing visual information in scientific research. To craft the Architectura drawings, Dietterlin and his assistants wielded tactics of annotation, bricolage, folding, and copying that had long aided architects in stimulating creativity, exposing problems, saving materials, enhancing productivity, facilitating communication, and documenting progress. I compare the 164 known Architectura drawings—among the largest surviving bodies of Renaissance architectural treatise drawings—to botanical and geological drawings in the collections of physician Felix Platter and natural historians Conrad Gessner and Ulisse Aldrovandi to show that natural philosophers (i.e. early modern scientists) came to derive similar benefits from such drawing techniques. I argue that Dietterlin’s tactics for orchestrating his Architectura’s wealth of visual information attests that, by 1600, techniques of visual research originating in architectural drawing circulated freely between makers of architectural drawings and natural philosophers. I thereby expose how makers of architectural drawings and natural philosophers in Europe began to exchange and codevelop parallel, empirical methods for forming knowledge.
Presentation: “Problematising the Notion of ‘Eastern European Art’: Two Case Studies of a Multiplicity”
Session: What is Eastern European Art?
Marta Zboralska, University of Oxford
Radek Przedpełski, Trinity College Dublin
This presentation aims to challenge the ontological assumption of there being a monolithic ontological entity such as “Eastern European art,” dialectically elaborated in its opposition to “Western art,” which then needs to be put on the map in an IRWIN-like gesture. We propose two case studies that problematize such an assumption, arguing instead that starting on the ground and unfolding an analysis from there might offer a more fruitful art-historical path of inquiry. We shall demonstrate that the model of a case study enfolds multiple frameworks of reference cutting across the East/West dichotomy, such as the immediately local or the regional on the one hand, or the long durée of the Anthropocene on the other.
The first case study will outline a media archaeology of Tatar timber mosques/minarets on the territories of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, showing how these under-researched media blend aniconism with local contexts and engage a continuum of artefacts and practices including muhir tableaux, hramotka (talismans), siufkanie (sorcery), and fał (divination). This case study argues that these architectural artworks explode the concept of “Eastern Europe(an art).” Instead, they open up a liminal space conjoining Islamicate architecture, Turkic animism, the “Long Baroque” of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as well as the vernacular regional traditions of timber building construction and ornamentation.
The second case study will zoom in on the ideas of Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz to consider the issue of regional artistic identity. As noted by literary scholar Anita Starosta, Gombrowicz refused the binary choice of either affirming Polishness or aspiring to Europeanness. Instead, it was within the periphery’s “not quite-ness” that the writer located the potential to “reveal Europe’s immaturity.” Looking at Diary by the American appropriation artist Sherrie Levine, a 2019 work inspired by Gombrowicz, this case study will argue for embracing the incompleteness of “Eastern Europe” as an area of art-historical enquiry.
Presentation: “‘Narrating’ the Landscape: Pictorial and Aesthetical Inventiveness to Portray the Essence of Nature”
Session: Eighteenth-Century Atmospheres: Science, Politics, Aesthetics
Marie Beaulieu Orna, France
Leaving the port of Naples for Sicily in 1777, the connoisseur Richard Payne Knight (1750–1824) wrote in his travel diary: “The infinite variety of tints were all harmonized together by that pearly hue, which is particular to that climate. (This tint very particularly marks Claude Lorraine’s Coloring). As we advanced into the open sea, the colours and forms seemed to sink into the Atmosphere and grow gradually indistinct, till at last the Sun withdrew its rays and left all in darkness.” Disclosing the term “atmosphere” in its literal meaning, Knight’s remark paradoxically reveals the fundamental role of optical theories and their interpretation in artistic practice in giving rise to the figurative essence of this same word, or to “spreading the tone” as Coleridge expressed it in Biographica Literaria (1817). Following Knight’s example, certain late eighteenth-century British landscapists aimed at conveying their personal impression felt upon observing the natural scenery, especially by handling color in travel sketches. Their Grand Tour became an artistic and aesthetical laboratory, into which they experimented with materials and processes in order to depict exotic landscapes with sensibility, intended for “polite” amateurs. The specific training these artists as well as these amateurs shared contributed to relate their mutual perception of nature and to develop this specific sense of “atmosphere.” This paper intends to demonstrate this artistic and aesthetical pivotal turn, embedded in the British contemporary scientific and philosophical context.
Presentation: “Imperial Materials: Extracting White Marble during the 18th and 19th Centuries”
Session: The Extractive Nineteenth Century
Amalie Skovmøller, University of Copenhagen
Since antiquity, white marble has been extracted from quarries centered in the Mediterranean, and transported to workshops to be crafted into sculpture and architectural decoration. While marble extracting activities declined following the collapse of the Roman Empire, they resumed with new intensity during the eighteenth century, peaking in nineteenth as quarries were sought out throughout Europe, Scandinavia, and in the US. Intertwined with Imperial policies, ideas about aesthetics and nation building, white marble assumed the role as prime material for high art and monumental embellishment. Traditionally studied as an omnipresent, abstract material with little regard to the complex infrastructures framing its extraction, the role of white marble consumption in relation to histories of colonialism remains peripherally explored. This paper centers on the intense marble extraction initiated by the Danish king Frederik V (1723–1766), when the Danish Empire included all of Norway. The king initiated expeditions into Norwegian territories to locate new sources of white marble, and the quarries established at Fauske, near Oslo, and in Hordaland secured the desired stones, which were extracted in thousands of blocks and shipped to Copenhagen. This paper explores the sculptures and architectural decoration in Copenhagen, deriving from the intense exploitation of Norwegian resources, as representing the Imperial ideologies, extractive capitalism, and colonial expansion politics of the Danish Empire during the latter eighteenth century. In doing so, the paper also touches upon the global economics and ideologies of marble extraction and circulation taking place throughout Europe and the US during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Presentation: “Byzantine Embroideries and the Entangled Visual Traditions of Eastern Europe”
Session: What is Eastern European Art?
Catherine Volmensky, The University of British Columbia
A late-Byzantine liturgical veil shows the recumbent figure of the dead Christ. Referred to as the aër-epitaphios of John of Skopje, this red silk textile is lavishly embroidered with gold, metallic, and silk threads. Similar types of embroidered veils were found in monasteries and churches throughout the Byzantine empire and its religious sphere. Drawing on a theory of line, this paper discusses the entangled artistic, religious, and economic networks of workshops and patrons shared between Thessaloniki, Mount Athos, and the regions of the Balkan Peninsula. Through this methodology, this paper traces the movement of images across spaces and media and provides a new approach to late and post-Byzantine textiles to demonstrate the vibrant and multifaceted connectivity between the regions of Eastern and Southern Europe. The role of the patron is also questioned in the context of the economic value of silk and gold-figure embroidery during the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, emphasizing the position of elite women patrons in the Balkans, and how they have been examined or overlooked in previous scholarship. Since the intersection of lines create networks, this methodology also emphasizes a nonhierarchical approach to works created within Byzantium’s religious sphere. The emphasis on communication and interconnected structures offers a grounded methodology with which to examine gold-figure embroidery created and used in religious spaces of the Balkan Peninsula, Thessaloniki, and Mount Athos.
Presentation: “Begarelli, Model for Algardi? Renaissance Clay Modelling as a Precedent of Baroque Marble Sculpting”
Session: The Essence of Things? Limits and Limitlessness in Early Modern Sculpture
Lucia Simonato, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy
In her monograph on Alessandro Algardi, Jennifer Montagu intuited the influence of Antonio Begarelli’s model on the works of art by the Bolognese Baroque sculptor. Yet, a systematic study of this possible relationship has not followed this intelligent opening. Begarelli was a sculptor who until his death in 1565 made monumental statues in Emilia and in Lombardy, using almost exclusively white-painted terracotta—a choice, according to Vasari, criticized by Michelangelo, who would have said in front of his works: “If this clay were to become marble, woe to the ancient statues!” Reassessing Begarelli as a model for Algardi poses not only an issue of intermediality in the transmission of formal solutions, but also a question on matter’s expressive possibilities. To what extent did the Renaissance terracotta, with its easier naturalistic adhesion and its dynamic spatial conception, offer a model to Baroque marble figuration? How did the dialogue with Begarelli shape Algardi’s use of terracotta modelling within his artistic process as compared, for example, to Bernini’s? This paper will focus on these issues.
In addition, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation has provided funds for alumni of the program to return and take part in our vast network of both international and North American scholars:
- Iro Katsaridou, Greece, 2022
- Tomasz Grusiecki, Canada, 2015
- Halyna Kohut, Ukraine, 2020
- Angeliki Pollali, Greece, 2014