Call for Papers: Early Modern Intermediality, Stanford University, 2-3 March 2018.
This conference will broach the theme of “intermediality” in early modern art (c. 1400-1650). This neologism is absent from the early modern lexicon (as is “medium”). However, this conference is concerned with how communication across media became a newly self-conscious condition of art making, a means of expression and exchange.
From the fifteenth century on, the diversification of media and growing dialectic between modalities of art making catalyzed theorization of media. Successive themes included disegno vs. colore, the paragone, the bel composto, and others. Central to these theorizations was the role of disegno (“drawing”/”design”). By the mid-sixteenth century, Italian theorists upheld disegno as the parent of all the arts, and both the concept and practice subsumed all artistic creation into a single faculty.
The aim of the conference is to consider the medial consequences of this mindset. Key is the influence that the expanded role of preparatory drawings (in varying materials) across the arts. Yet, drawing was not the only medium. Clay and wax sketches were used by painters, sculptors, and architects in the design process, and prints were pervasive brokers of intermedial thinking. Revisions in thought provoked by one medium also might promote new resolutions in another. As each iteration of an idea brought with it the implications of the substance in which that idea had been formerly assayed, one outcome might be a “transferred materiality” in which the properties of one material or medium were transferred to another (e.g. to carve marble as though it were wax); or a “discursive mediality” in which artists put one medium in dialogue with another. The graduation of the idea through material metamorphosis might also imply a supramaterial medium (e.g. an “architecture of light,” or changeling substance) or even a fusion into new chimerical categories.
The conference organizers seek papers across early modern art production in Europe and the Americas, whether in painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, print, or textile. They are also interested to hear discussions of figures whose own production was intermedial or anti-intermedial; investigations of those moments in art theoretical literature where the intermedial is addressed; and especially those artworks in which artists visibly confronted the issue. Finally, they are eager to hear the voices of people who challenge this position, whether the argument or its periodization.
The conference proceedings will be published. All travel expenses, accommodation, and meals will be provided.
Please send abstracts of 250 words and a CV, by 15 July 2017, jointly to the below email addresses: