Netherlandish Illumination (15th -16th Cent.)

CALL FOR PAPERS – Netherlandish Illumination and Painting in the 15th and 16th centuries: Integrating new art-technical research in established approaches, Session in the Historians of Netherlandish Art Conference (HNA), Ghent, 24 – 26 May 2018.

Organizers: Anne Margreet As-Vijvers (Illuminare scribendo. Research and projects in Art History), Anne Dubois (Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve), Lieve Watteeuw (Illuminare – Book Heritage Lab – KU Leuven) and Lieve De Kesel (Independent Scholar, Ghent University).

Technical art history found its way into the study of panel painting many decades ago, while the scientific and art-technical inquiry of illuminated manuscripts developed at a much slower pace. However, improvements in technical equipment resulted in significant progress during the past decade, with the Inside Illumination study day in Brussels in June 2014 and the Manuscript in the Making: Art and Science conference held in Cambridge (UK) in December 2016 as landmarks in technical manuscript studies. With the foundations laid, we think there are now several important steps to take.

One of the tasks is to integrate ‘classical’ art historical methods and technical research in manuscript studies, as has long been realized for panel painting. Another issue is the need for syntheses and for comparative studies: only a handful of contributions on said conferences were studies of larger groups of manuscripts or investigations over longer periods of time.

Moreover, comparison of the techniques used in panel painting and manuscript illumination has hardly begun. Last but not least, technical studies into Netherlandish manuscripts have been few and far between.

This is even more regrettable because in Netherlandish art of the 15th and 16th century, numerous relationships existed between panel painters and manuscript painters. Several of the most famous artists – including Rogier van der Weyden, Simon Marmion, Gerard David and Simon Bening – practiced both crafts.

Furthermore, the international cultural climate in the Netherlands, along with its prominent role in global trade, provided both artists and patrons with access to the newest materials and artistic trends – the new possibilities and challenges of which still need to be evaluated.

For this session, we would like to invite proposals that show the integration of both art technical and art historical approaches. We are not looking for case studies on particular manuscripts, but for comparative studies addressing broader themes and developments in time or place. For example:

* Did illuminators share pigments when working together on a commission (in the 14th century, they did not, but the situation in the 15th-/16thcentury Netherlandish cities, commercial suppliers may be have been available), do we have any information on this from the field of panel painting?
* What does art technical research tell us about the organization of production?
* How far can the results from technical analysis of panel painting be used for illumination?
* Are there any similarities in the oeuvre of painters working in both techniques?

Proposals for papers due to session chairs by 15 May 2017. Chairs determine speakers and reply to all applicants by 18 September 2017. Full texts of papers due to session chairs by 26 March 2018.

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