CFP: Collections in the Habsburg Court (Madrid, 27-28 May 2016)

International Congress
Display, Access to, and Contemplation of Collections in the Habsburg Court, 1516-1700
Museo Nacional del Prado, Auditorio Madrid, Spain, June 27 – 28, 2016
Deadline: May 1, 2016
Directed by: Miguel Falomir. Associate Director of Research and
Conservation, Museo Nacional del Prado
Organized by: Escuela del Prado
This congress approaches collecting in the Spanish Habsburg court from perspectives that have barely been explored before: the material
conditions in which artworks were exhibited (how high they were hung, on what surfaces, with what types of lighting, frames and possible
accompanying inscriptions), their accessibility (what could be seen by whom, when and in what circumstances; the existence of more and less
restricted settings and the norms governing visits, including the exchange of gifts and the acquisition of copies) and lastly, the criteria underlying the association and collecting of works, as well as the people charged with such activities.
The congress consists of four sections chaired by renowned specialists. Proposals for each of the four sections (please specify which) should be no longer than 20 lines and may be presented in English or Spanish. The deadline for submitting proposals is May 1, 2016.
I  Documentary Sources and Courtly Collecting. Review and New Perspectives
Chaired by: Fernando Checa. Complutense University of Madrid, Department of Art History II (Early Modern)
This section seeks to broaden knowledge and explore new, fundamentally methodological approaches to sources and documents associated with art from the Early Modern Era and its relations to the Spanish Monarchy, positing the latter as a vast intercontinental cultural setting that extended far beyond strictly Iberian or peninsular limits. This involves understanding not only the “treatises” and theoretical or historical sources customarily included in the traditional field of “Kunstliteratur,” but also a broader spectrum that runs from inventories and correspondence through descriptions of artworks, including travelogues, descriptions of celebratory events, etc., as well as poetical and creative literature.
II The Places of Collecting
Chaired by: Javier Portús. Museo Nacional del Prado
This section studies collecting in the Habsburg court from the perspective of where the artworks were actually exhibited. The emphasis is not so much on the physical characteristics of such spaces as on how their decoration was influenced by these characteristics and by the spaces’ use. Equally cogent will be the manner in which changes in the use of such spaces led to modifications in their decoration, and how a “rhetoric of place” was established in Habsburg palaces and other associated spaces.
III Access to, and Contemplation of the Royal Collections
Chaired by: Adolfo Carrasco. University of Valladolid, Department of Early Modern History
In this section, we are interested in who had access, and in what manner, to the collections of any sort of artworks at the royal seats, palaces, viceregal capitals, and even the homes of noble families (to the degree that they competed with or emulated royalty). We will also focus on the functional and formal organization of such visits, both as individual events and as part of other activities. In sum, this section delves into the regulation of the visibility and “reading” of artworks in the context of courtly culture, recognizing their role in projecting power (pomp and propaganda) and their evaluation (taste) during the 16th and 17th centuries.
IV Showing Art. The Display of the Royal Collections
Chaired by: Peter Cherry. Trinity College Dublin, Department of History of Art and Architecture
This section will examine the role of paintings in Habsburg interiors. Consideration will be given to physical circumstances of display and the factors which governed the arrangement of pictures in different spaces, such as their authorship, subject matter, size, visibility, and conditions of lighting. Particular attention will be paid to pictures as material objects, in terms of their support and medium, types of framing and coverings, and the relevance of inscriptions. Their relationships with other aspects of interior decoration and furnishings will also feature prominently in this inquiry.
Proposals should be sent by e-mail to: /
They will be evaluated by the organizing committee, which will contact candidates before the end of May, 2016.
Travel and lodging expenses will not be covered by the Museo Nacional del Prado and must be paid by participants.

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