Appel à communication : Allegory and topography in early modern period (16th – 18th centuries)

Jean Suau, Allégorie de la France libérant l'Amérique, 1784, huile sur toile, 135 x 186 cm, Blérancourt, Musée national de la Coopération Franco-américaine.
Jean Suau, Allégorie de la France libérant l’Amérique, 1784, huile sur toile, 135 x 186 cm, Blérancourt, Musée national de la Coopération Franco-américaine.

Type : Symposium international
Date limite pour envoyer une proposition : 10 février 2016
Date et lieu de la manifestation : 9 – 10 juin 2016, Paris
Organisation : Etienne Jollet and Antonella Fenech Kroke

The arts of the early modern period, from the Renaissance to the end of Eighteenth century, attach great importance to the allegory as a mode of visual evocation of the invisible universal – be it the Christian divine or the human values. Defined in this manner, the notion of allegory appears far removed from the understanding of topography intended as expression of the specificity of a ‘place’, all together visible, physical and particular.

However, this tension between the universal and the particular, the invisible and the visible, the intangible and the tangible, figure and place, meaning and representation, characterizes the culture and the arts of Early Modern. During this period, Western Europe thinks out a new order of the world and, at the same time, endeavors to describe it and to figure it through complex symbolic representations set in a significant space, which then is ‘place’.

Four major questions constitute the principal axes of this symposium.

  • The first one is the place of allegory. Allegory deploys its figures in a meaningful extension and in variable ways – for instance, in the tension between allegory and personification.
  • The second issue concerns allegory of ‘place’ (but also allegory of specific places): this dimension is especially important because of the constitution, since the Renaissance, of increasingly strong political entities gradually defining their boundaries, until the appearance of modern notion of borders at the end of the Eighteenth century.
  • The third point focuses on the relation and on the tension between allegory and the world. The early modern period is characterized by a renewal of comprehension of the world and by the discoveries of regions of the Earth still unknown to Europeans: in this particular context, how does allegory challenge the new topographical knowledge and, first and foremost the development of cartography? But beside this kind of issues, one can also question the links between allegory and other ‘worlds’, as those intangible of the soul which shape other visual forms of allegorical cartographies.
  • The fourth question concerns allegorical spaces, that is to say the space as a notion provided by different meaning but irreducible to a precise signification: mainly the landscape in which an allegorical meaning is just potentially to be found in natural features (for example, the entrance of a grotto, a waterfall, a volcano, etc.) allowing sometimes the representation of the nature’s sublime to emerge.

This call for papers is an invitation to all scholars working in the field in a plural and interdisciplinary perspective. We encourage to propose submissions for the conference, both emerging and established researchers.

Please send your proposal, in English or French (max. 500 words including a short bibliography) with a one-page curriculum vitae to the organizers:

The deadline for the call for paper is February 10, 2016.

The symposium is sponsored by the HiCSA, University Panthéon-Sorbonne and the Centre André Chastel (UMR 8150), University Paris-Sorbonne.

Appel en français :

Les arts de la période moderne, de la Renaissance à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, accordent une importance majeure à l’allégorie comme mode d’évocation visuelle d’un universel invisible – que ce soit le divin chrétien ou les valeurs humanistes. Ainsi définie, la pensée de l’allégorie apparaît bien éloignée de la topographie en tant que prise en considération de la spécificité du lieu, à la fois visible, matériel et singulier. Or cette tension entre l’universel et le singulier, le visible et l’invisible, l’immatériel et le matériel, la figure et le lieu, la signification et la présentation est caractéristique de la culture et de l’art de la première modernité. Pendant cette époque on voit la mise en place d’un ordre du monde en Europe occidentale qui conjointement se décrit et se prescrit au travers de représentations symboliques complexes placées dans l’espace significatif qu’est le lieu.

Quatre relations majeures apparaissent, qui constitueront les axes de ce colloque.

  • La première est celle définie par le lieu de l’allégorie : celle-ci déploie des figures dans une étendue elle-même signifiante, selon des modalités variables (notamment dans la tension entre allégorie et personnification).
  • La deuxième concerne l’allégorie du lieu : cette dimension est spécialement importante à l’époque moderne du fait de la constitution de plus en plus ferme d’entités politiques définies par leurs limites, jusqu’à l’apparition de la notion moderne de frontière à la fin du
    XVIIIe siècle.
  • La troisième porte sur l’allégorie et le monde, la période moderne étant caractérisée par le renouvellement des connaissances du monde et un mouvement de découverte de la planète : il s’agira de montrer comment s’articulent l’allégorie et les nouveaux savoirs topographiques, au premier rang desquels la cartographie. Mais aussi, au delà de cette question, on pourra aussi interroger le lien entre l’allégorie et la représentation d’autres ‘mondes’, ceux intangibles de l’âme qui donnent forme à d’autres cartographies allégoriques.
  • Le quatrième porte sur l’espace allégorique, c’est-à-dire l’espace en tant que porteur d’un sens pour autant irréductible à une signification précise : on pourrait citer en particulier le paysage qui logerait le sens allégorique dans ses composantes caractéristiques (l’entrée d’une grotte, une cascade, un volcan etc.) laissant surgit parfois la représentation du sublime de la nature.

    Cet appel à contribution s’adresse à tous ceux, jeunes chercheurs et chercheurs confirmés, dont les recherches portent sur les thématiques évoquées ; le colloque est ouvert aux approches interdisciplinaires.

Les propositions en français ou anglais (maximum 500 mots, courte bibliographie comprise) accompagnées d’un curriculum vitae (une page) sont à envoyer avant le 10 février 2016 aux organisateurs :

Appel à communication : Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period

Hyacinthe Rigaud, Louis XV, roi de France, 1730, huile sur toile, 271 x 194 cm, Versailles, Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon.
Hyacinthe Rigaud, Louis XV, roi de France, 1730, huile sur toile, 271 x 194 cm, Versailles, Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon.

Type : Colloque.
Date limite pour envoyer une proposition : 15 janvier 2016.
Date et lieu de la manifestation : 29 juin-2 juillet – Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia.

The position and status of art and artist changed considerably in Europe in the modern period, primarily with the formulation of the concept of artistic genius and the new division of labour that separated artists from artisans. Those dealing with art were looked upon as individuals possessing an extraordinary talent that transcended mere skill. Regardless of this new individuality, artistic genius cannot be equated with complete autonomy. Although no longer dependent upon brotherhoods and gilds, artistic practice was nevertheless tied to a wider social context. Political circumstances have always influenced artistic production to a greater or lesser extent. However, in the modern period, an increased significance was given to political bodies and legislative frameworks which introduced changes to social structures bringing thereby the need for artists to adapt to new situations. In addition to newly formed bourgeoisie, aristocracy and the church(es) which remained influential in the course of the 19th century, various political elites, and political bodies on both national and local levels, gradually assumed an important role as investors of architectural projects or patrons of artists and artworks in general.

By stimulating or influencing cultural transfers, political structures greatly influenced the shaping of cultural circles in European countries. Changes of political borders, social systems, wars and economic instability are still continuously mirrored in the production of art, both formally and conceptually. Social organization of artistic life has also been determined by different spheres of political, cultural or economic interests. Professional associations, organisation and artist collectives, whose activities can range from utopian programmes to practical implementation of artistic ideas, either affirm or oppose political parties and/or systems. The same is the case with individual artists whose work can speak more or less openly about their personal position in relation to wider socio-political circumstances. Although rarely, they still manage to oppose regimes and enforced visual models in more or less subtle ways. Their personal criticism can be interpreted at least as an effort to undermine the power of oppressive ideologies.

What of all these mere efforts or accomplishments stays recorded and conveyed to other generations is largely determined by museums. As institutions which either specialize in art or collect art as part of more diverse collections, museums often help determine, reinforce or disregard the value of individual art works, artists or certain aspects of art production. Collection and communication of art in these institutions, understood in the widest possible sense of the word, establish a dialogue between art production and the notion of quality, value, tradition and identity. By collecting art, which can be seen as an act of collective remembering, museums designate collected works as representatives of the material world that are worth keeping and protecting. By exhibiting, they transmit messages which are fraught with ideological meanings developed in specific political, economic and socio-cultural contexts. Through their basic functions, museums therefore indicate or clearly point out to specific relationships between art and ideology with what is present in their collections and shown in exhibitions as well as with what is absent.

The goal of the conference is to stress the social contexts of artistic production and to question and interpret social and historical circumstances that conditioned and influenced the creation, meaning and perception of works of art. The contributions to the scientific conference Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period should deal with different aspects of complex relationships between visual art and political, economic, cultural, gender and other politics in Europe in the period from the late 15th century to the present day. This can be addressed through one of the topics in the three following topic areas :

  • Art in the Service of Politics
    • Politics of art patronage (by different social classes and political structures: aristocracy, bourgeoisie, state and local governments)
    •  Influence of political bodies on art, architecture and urban planning
    • Role of art, architecture and urban planning in representing regimes – totalitarian, democratic and other
    •  Shaping national styles and visual identities
    •  Role of art and art exhibitions in cultural policies and national representation
    •  Promoting dominant ideologies through different media (painting, sculpture, architecture, graphic art and design, photography, drawings, caricature etc)
    •    Influence of economic and social policies on art, architecture and urban planning
    •    Religious communities, politics and art
    •    Damnatio memorie – removal and destruction of artistic heritage
    •    Artistic heritage and military conflicts
    •    Politically motivated restoration of monuments
    •    Public sculpture and the creation of monument cult in the 19th and 20th century
    •    Traditionalism in art and political elites
    •    Art and revolution
  • Art and Artist in Opposition
    •    Caricature and politics
    •    Artistic production as reflection of opposition to dominant political structures
    •    Avant-garde art as a catalyst of change
    •    Socially engaged art
    •    Subversion in art and photography
    •    Gender and art (production and representation)
  • Works of Art in Museums
    • Museum functions and representation (collection, preservation, communication of art works and discursive practices)
    •  Museum displays and the production and reception of power narratives
    • Influence of market-oriented logic of production on collecting and displaying in art museums
    •  Wider social perception and reception of power narratives (in art
    museums/ museums exhibitions showing art works)

Paper proposals should contain author(s)’s name(s), title and the abstract, written in English, which should not exceed 500 words and a short author’s biography not longer than 250 words. Contributors will receive notification of acceptance by 15 February 2016. The official language of the conference is English.

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