Dressing a Picture: Reimagining the Court Portrait 1500 - 1800

6 May 2021 - 7 May 2021

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Convenors

Ana Howie (Faculty of History)
Alessandro Nicola Malusà (Faculty of History)
 

Featured Keynote Speaker

Erin Griffey (University of Auckland)

 

Key Note Speaker

Karen Hearn (UCL) 
Katarzyna Kosior (Northumbria University)
Mei Mei Rado (LACMA)
Catherine Stearn (Kentucky University)
Cordula van Wyhe (York University)



Speakers

Alice Blow (University of Cambridge)
Vanessa de Cruz Medina (Independent Scholar, former Prado Museum  & Villa I Tatti Fellow)
Sarah Emily Farkas (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) 
Marina Hopkins (Warburg Institute)
Jessica Hower (Southwestern University)
Anna Lisa Nicholson (University of Cambridge)
Lisa Nunn (East Anglia)
Alejandro M. Sanz Guillén (Universidad de Zaragoza)
Pedro Manuel Tavares (Centro de História de Arte — CHAIA)
Martina Vyskupova (Slovak National Museum)

 

Chairs

Holly Fletcher (University of Sussex)
Alexander Marr (University of Cambridge)
Sophie Pitman  (Aalto University) 
Giorgio Riello (European University Institute)
Ulinka Rublack (University of Cambridge)
Caroline van Eck (University of Cambridge)  

 

Summary

As Ulinka Rublack asserts in Dressing Up, her seminal book on dress in early modern Europe, society was extremely dress-literate and nowhere more so than in the courtly environments that generated and fuelled fashion. Within these sartorially-minded elite communities, one was constantly on display. Capturing dressed sitters in paint for prosperity, portraiture was a unique vehicle for the inherent dialectic in clothing between subject and observer, and presentation and perception. As such, this conference will examine three themes surrounding early modern portraiture: the artist, the depicted material culture and the setting for its iconographic display, that is the court. We aim to examine these connections via the prism of the period’s intricate social stratification and complex gender power dynamics. To provide sufficient breadth, the conference will present papers dealing with material between 1500 and 1800.

The first panel, titled ‘The Artist Behind the Portrait’, will concentrate on the multi-faceted figure of the early modern portraitist, and his or her role in the fashioning and imaging of courtly identities. This panel will bring attention to the varied interactions between artist and commissioner, taking into account their differing social status, education and motivations. 

The second panel, ‘The Material Attributes of Early Modern Portraiture’ will zoom in on the compositional elements of court portraiture to unravel the sartorial and symbolic interplay within the portraitists’ œuvre. 

Our final panel, entitled ‘The Court: A Stage for the Display of Portraiture’ will highlight the pivotal role of the early modern court as an elaborate crossroad of social synergies obsessed with self-representation and its modes of display. This panel is designed to tease out the subtle nuances of social relations between artist, sitter, and viewer, and the affective spaces within which these players operated. 

Considering the interdisciplinary nature of our project, spanning history, dress studies, art theory, gender history, court studies and architectural history, we believe that our conference will generate exciting contributions from leading international scholars. This conference will meaningfully contribute to the wider scholarly debate on the significance of early modern portraiture as pivotal sources for numerous branches of historical research and not just art history. Our conference will both firmly enable this discussion and bring attention to this burgeoning field of interdisciplinary historical studies.

 


 

Supported by:

CRASSH 20 Anniversary Logo     University of Cambridge School of Humanities and Social Science    Corpus Christi College Logo  Royal Historical Society Logo

 


If you have any specific accessibility needs for this event please get in touch. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.

Conference assistance: conferences@crassh.cam.ac.uk

Thursday, 6 May 2021

13.00-13.20 (BST)

Welcome and Opening Remarks

13.20-14.30 (BST)

Panel 1: Materialising Courtly Bodies

Panel Keynote 

Karen Hearn (UCL) 

Title: Richly apparelled, and her belly laid out …’: Signalling (or not Signalling) Pregnancy in 16th and Early 17th Century Court Portraits

Ana Howie (University of Cambridge)
Title: ‘White Ruff and Red Cuffs, on a Black Dress. The Negro Dressed in Yellow’: Materialising Bodies in van Dyck’s Portrait of Elena Grimaldi-Cattaneo 

Lisa Nunn (East Anglia)
Title: ‘A Hundred Times Fitter for a Barn than a Palace’: A Gendered Analysis of the Protectorate Portraits of Elizabeth Cromwell and her Daughters

Chair: Holly Fletcher (University of Sussex)

14.30-14.50 (BST)

Panel 1: Q&A

14.50-15.00 (BST)

Break

15.00-16.10 (BST)

Panel 2: Negotiating Gender in Early Modern Portraiture

Panel Keynote 

Catherine Stearn (Kentucky University) 
Title: Countess or Queen, Countess and Queen: How Dress and Portraiture Illuminate the Role of Elizabeth I’s Privy Chamber Women

Vanessa de Cruz Medina (Independent Scholar, former Prado Museum  & Villa I Tatti Fellow)
Title: Ladies-in-Waiting & Portrait Galleries: Identity, Family and Power at Early Modern Habsburg Courts

Alice Blow (University of Cambridge) 
Title: Gender Ambiguity in The Cobbe Portrait of Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton, c.1590-1593

Chair: Sophie Pitman (Aalto University) 

16.10-16.30 (BST)

Panel 2: Q&A

16.30-16.40 (BST)

Break

16.40-18.10 (BST)

Panel 3: The Court Portrait: Global Considerations

Panel Keynote

Mei Mei Rado (LACMA)
Title: Qing Imperial Portraits and Europe

Jessica Hower (Southwestern University)
Title: Drawing an Empire: Elizabeth I, The Armada Portrait, and the Creation of a British Atlantic World

 

Marina Hopkins (Warburg Institute)
Title: The Portrait of María Luisa de Toledo with her Indigenous Companion


Alejandro M. Sanz Guillén (Universidad de Zaragoza)
Title: Shoguns and Emperors: Representations of the Japanese Court in Europe during the 18th Century

 

Chair: Giorgio Riello (European University Institute)

18.10-18.30 (BST)

Panel 3: Q&A 

Friday, 7 May 2021

13.10-15.00 (BST)

Panel 4: The Court: A Stage for Princely Society

Panel Keynote 

Katarzyna Kosior (Northumbria University) 
Title: Defining the Royal Court in Poland-Lithuania: Some Textual Evidence From Jan III Sobieski's Lifetime (1629-1696

Martina Vyskupova (Slovak National Museum)
Title: Portrait Representation of Maria Theresa as a Queen of Hungary Seated on a Horse in the Context of Period Female Equestrian Portraits in the 18th Century


Pedro Manuel Tavares (Centro de História de Arte — CHAIA) 
Title: D. Joana de Áustria, Embodiment of Political/Religious Propaganda of the Habsburg Women, Beyond the Validos Power

Anna Lisa Nicholson (University of Cambridge)
Title: The Transfiguration of Hortense Mancini. How the Vagabond Duchess Became the Patron Saint of Brides


Chair: Caroline van Eck 

15.00-15.20 (BST)

Panel 4: Q&A

15.20-15.30 (BST)

Break

15.30-16.40 (BST)

Panel 5: The Artist Behind the Portrait

Panel Keynote 

Cordula van Wyhe (York University)
Fashioning Displaced Identities: Anthony's van Dyck as Portraitist of the French Exiles

Sarah Emily Farkas (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) 
Sibylle of Cleves: Cranach, Convention, and Clothing Identity in Lutheran Saxony

Alessandro Nicola Malusà (University of Cambridge)
The Sitter As Artist: Depicting Mourning Dress and Negotiating Authority in the Regencies of Christine of France and Marie Jeanne Baptiste of Savoy-Nemours

Chair: Alexander Marr (University of Cambridge)

16.40-17.00 (BST)

Panel 5: Q&A

17.00-17.30 (BST)

Break

17.30-18.10 (BST)

Featured Keynote 

Erin Griffey (The University of Auckland)
Title: 'Beauties Silken Livery': Dressing the Face at the Early Modern Court

Chair: Ulinka Rublack (University of Cambridge)

18.10-18.30 (BST)

Featured Keynote Q&A

Final Remarks and Thanks

Call for Papers

This conference will examine three themes surrounding early modern portraiture: the artist, the depicted material culture and the setting for its iconographic display, that is the court. We aim to examine these connections via the prism of the period’s intricate social stratification and complex gender power dynamics. To provide sufficient breadth, we intend to accept papers whose scope will fall between 1500 and 1800. We foresee the conference to last one day, with three panels of three speakers each. Each panel will comprise one keynote paper from an established scholar, followed by two papers from early career researchers or doctoral candidates.

Submitted papers would ideally examine:

  • The multi-faceted figure of the early modern court portraitist within courts across Europe, focusing in particular on his or her role in the fashioning and imaging of courtly identities
  • The compositional elements of court portraits and their sartorial and symbolic interplay
  • The pivotal role of the early modern court as an elaborate crossroad of social synergies obsessed with self-representation and its modes of display

Those interested in delivering a paper are invited to submit a 300-word proposal accompanied with a biographical note to: Ana Howie (ach207@cam.ac.uk) & Alessandro Nicola Malusà (anm43@cam.ac.uk) by 4th January 2021. Graduate students, junior scholars, curators, early career researchers and conservators are warmly encouraged to apply.