The Historiography of Early Modern Architecture
Renaissance Society of America 2017 — Chicago, The Palmer House Hilton, 30 March–1 April 2017
Since the Renaissance itself, the history of early-modern architecture has been a multifaceted discipline. Antonio Manetti established the biographic format in his Life of Brunelleschi, an approach that was later developed in Vasari’s Lives. In the same period, individuals like Giuliano da Sangallo and Francesco di Giorgio sought to elucidate architectural history through their discovery, or one might say reconstruction, of Roman antiquities. Similarly, the overwhelming interest in Vitruvius not only generated new histories of architecture, but also drove architectural practices and colored the way in which architects were perceived. The modes of scholarly inquiry initiated in the Renaissance have had long afterlives. The great interest in architectural proportions, based both on ancient models and long practiced building traditions, preoccupied theorists like Serlio and Palladio, and centuries later, was resumed by Erwin Panofsky, Rudolf Wittkower and Branko Mitrovic, among others. Correspondingly, the concern with prolonged building processes and the historical valuation of the resultant architecture has captured significant attention. The problems involved in “building-in-time” were outlined in Alberti’s theory of architecture, commented upon by Michelangelo, and in recent decades have been explored by Howard Burns and Marvin Trachtenberg.
This session invites papers that consider the historiography of Renaissance architecture – that is, the history of scholarly understandings of early-modern European architecture (c.1400 – 1700). What are the sources, techniques, and theoretical approaches that have directed the history of Renaissance architecture and what implications do they carry? How do regional or national traditions of early-modern architectural history vary? On what are these traditions based and what are their biases? Papers might also discuss architect-historians like Inigo Jones, Christopher Wren, John Webb, Jacques-François Blondel, and Tommaso Temanza, and how they translated the history of Renaissance architecture in practice. In a similar vein, papers might reflect on how Renaissance architectural history been taught. What is the training of the architectural historian and how does this impact the discipline? How have developments in digital technology redirected early-modern architectural history? And what might future developments bring?
Paper proposals that stem from original research should be submitted as a Word document or PDF to Saundra Weddle (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Elizabeth Merrill (email@example.com) by June 4, 2016. Please include the following information: presenter’s full name; academic affiliation and title; e-mail address; paper title (15-word maximum); paper abstract (150-word maximum); and a short bio (300-word maximum). For CV guidelines and models see: http://www.rsa.org/page/2017Chicago.
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