Appel à contribution – Civic Artists and Court Artists (1300-1600). Case Studies and Conceptual Ideas about the Status, Tasks and the Working Conditions of Artists and Artisans

This conference aims at investigating the role of the Early Modern artist/ artisan in different social environments, especially the court and the city, the princely household and the guild system. Many artists/ artisans attracted commissions from both camps such as Jean Fouquet, Rogier van der Weyden, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Plock, Jacques Jordaens and Bernard van Orley, to name only a few. Some artists held an honorary title and were thus only loosely attached to the court.
The proposed conference will equally address historiographical questions such as to the changing perception and evaluation of the artistic milieu under discussion. At this point in time, it seems pertinent to take a critical look at the central hypothesis in Martin Warnke’s 1985/1996 monograph Hofkünstler. Zur Vorgeschichte desmodernen Künstlers / The Court Artist. On the Ancestry of the Modern Artist [1993]. This study argues that early modern artists could only develop fresh ideas and new modes of expression in the context of the court due to the privileges they enjoyed from the 13th/14th centuries onwards. The corporate guild system is understood as a body exerting restrictive measures that stifled artistic creativity and artistic freedom. In the light of research undertaken over the last 30 years, the question arises whether it is still appropriate to divide the world of artistic production into two distinct parts: the court environment and the civic environment.

The following points are relevant for discussion, further suggestions are welcome :
  • By which parameters do we define the role of the court artists ? Which media were represented by court artists and which terminology was developed in order to describe their professional profile (e.g. : jeweler, painter, illuminator, (« tapissier », embroiderer, sculptor, architect, « gardejoyaux », « varlet de chamber », etc.) ?
  • How did artists/ artisans negotiate their position within the courtly household ? What mattered to them most (e.g. : annual/daily pay, freedom from guild regulations, free choice of residence) ?
  • Why did some cities such as Brussels, Leuven or Nuremberg temporarily appoint an official painter or architect and what was their primary role and/or function ?
  • Does the status of the artist have an impact onto the individual works of art? Is it possible to distinguish art works that were made for the court from those that were produced within the guild system? Is the notion of « court art » linked to the status of the artist or is it an independent construct based on ideas of patronage?
  • Did court artists have more artistic freedom than guild members? Did court artists have more room to experiment and introduce new topics and styles?
  • How was the interrelationship between social status and creative output interpreted in art historical discourse (Warnke, Antal, etc.) and in how far do these hypotheses stand up to archival research?
  • What do we know about the itinerant artist, moving from one city to another or from one court to another? Which mechanisms were in place to guarantee new employment far away from home (e.g.: letters of recommendation, trial piece, etc.)?

The time frame covered by this project is the late Medieval and Early Modern period ranging from c. 1300 to 1600. The conference concentrates on the former Holy Roman Empire, France and the Netherlands, but may also extend to other geographical areas.
Informations pratiques :
Deadline for submissions : 15 July, 2013
Conference location : Paris, Centre André Chastel, INHA
Conference date : 19 – 21 June 2014
Conference languages : English, French, German.
Conference organizers: Prof. Dr. Philippe Lorentz, Paris-Sorbonne & EPHE / Prof. Dr. Dagmar Eichberger, Universität Trier, FB III Kunstgeschichte & ERC TAK/ SHARK.

Proposal for papers will be accepted until 15 July 2013. Please send your proposal to both organizers:

Submissions should consist of a concise proposal suitable for a 30-minutes presentation (max. 1-2 pages), and a short CV with the applicant’s affiliation as well as list of up to five publications. The organizers will apply for funding to cover travel costs and accommodation. The organizers envisage publishing the best contributions in an edited volume. This conference forms part of the Trier research initiative TAK-SHARC, a research project under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Tacke.

Prof. Dr. Dagmar Eichberger:
Prof. Dr. Philippe Lorentz:

Source de l’information : blog de l’ApAhAu

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