To coincide with the exhibition Depth of Field: The Place of Relief in the Time of Donatello (27 September 2004-28 March 2005), a collaboration between the Henry Moore Institute and the Victoria & Albert Museum, this conference looks at the relief between the 14th and 16th centuries. The conference seeks to explore the place of the relief in daily life during the Renaissance – how it was made, experienced and encountered – in order to get a sense of how, and why, this particular form of artistic production flourished in such varied and innovative ways at this time. Relief was used extensively to ornament the surfaces of a diverse range of objects, including domestic goods, religious and ceremonial objects, books, seals and medals. Its remarkable proliferation was reflected in the breadth of production practiced by individual artists and workshops; in the exhibition, this diversity is represented by showing Donatello’s unique Ascension relief alongside a mass-produced ‘Street’ Madonna, thought to be designed by Donatello for replication. These different types of objects can tell us about inherent intersections between ‘high’ and ‘low’, between ‘fine’ art and decoration, both as understood then and now, as well as informing broader contexts, such as cultural influences, local and export markets, social structures, artistic practice, and aesthetic preferences.
We welcome submissions that deal with these and related issues from different perspectives and hope to bring together a range of disciplines that, in addition to the history of sculpture and decorative arts, could touch upon cultural, economic and social history.
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