CFP: Sacred Possessions? Italy and Collecting Religious Art, 1500-1900

From H-Museum:

Call for Papers
Sacred Possessions? Italy and Collecting Religious Art, 1500-1900
Bibliotheca Hertziana-Max Planck Institute for Art History, Getty Research Institute,
American Academy (Rome) June 19-21, 2007 in Rome (Italy)

This conference explores the collecting of religious art in Italy and the collecting of Italian religious art elsewhere as special cases within the broader study of collecting. The guiding questions for this endeavor include: How does the religious, devotional, and spiritual content of art influence how it is collected? Do religious significance and/or function in the production of a work of art make a difference in its subsequentc ollection? What changes-social, confessional, intellectual, political-have affected the collecting of religious art?

Papers should focus on 1) collect ing religious art in Italy or 2) the collecting of Italian religious art elsewhere. We hope that proposals will address a spectrum of periods and themes, such as (but not limited to) the following:- When a work leaves its sacred context, what are the new conditions of its reception and interpretation? How can the commingling of aesthetic and religious meaning be balanced when a work is collected?- To what extent is religious art differentiated as a category by collectors, for example, by its placement or mode of display within a collection?- What constitutes the category of "religious art" in the context of collecting in Italy? Does crosscultural, cross-temporal collecting mitigate the religious content of works of art, such as when cardinals acquired antique statues of pagan gods or when representations of Aztec gods in feathers and gold appeared in the collections of popes and princes?- The confessional, social, and political upheavals in early-modern Europe were transnational phenomena and led to the dispersal and recontextualization of religious art. How was the religious meaning of individual works transformed over the course of these broader historical movements?- With the advent of tourism to Italy, art lovers joined religious pilgrims in visiting Italian churches. Did this phenomenon transform a church into the imaginary of a collection? Conversely, did a sense of sacrality somehow transfer to public museums as the new temples for devotion to art?

The deadline for proposals is January 1, 2007. Proposals should be submitted for consideration in the form of an abstract no longer than 250 words, and may be in Italian, German, or English. Abstracts, as well as a curriculum vitae, must be sent by email to both the Bibliotheca Hertziana-Max PlanckInstitute for Art History and the Getty Research Institute:Dott.ssa Elisabetta Pastore, Direktionssekretariat, Bibliotheca Dr. Katja Zelljadt, Research Associate, Getty ResearchInstitute:

Web site

For Italian and German versions of this document, please visit theBibliotheca HertzianaMax Planck Institute for Art History on the Web at


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