Reinventing the Old Master: Fact, Fiction, and Fabrication in the Afterlives of the Early Modern Artist
Renaissance Society of America
March 19-21, 2009 at UCLA & The Getty Museum, Malibu
Scholars have long recognized that the nineteenth century saw a surge of interest in the lives of Renaissance and Early Modern artists, an interest made manifest in a variety of media, including painting, prints, critical biographies, popular literature, theater, opera, and caricature. Much attention, for instance, has been paid to the proliferation of imagery recreating episodes from biographies of artists from Giotto to Rembrandt. Of particular import is the recognition that the majority of these interpretations adhere to traditional literary topoi and biographical patterns, such as the artist as madman, bohemian, child prodigy, or sexual deviant. These later interpretations present themselves as history, but, in actuality, fact, fiction, and fabrication are inextricably entwined in the nineteenth-century Nachleben of the Early Modern artist. How do we reconcile contradictions between the popular perception of the artist and historical evidence?
This session seeks to examine the reinvention of the Old Master from an interdisciplinary standpoint, starting with a basic question: what can these later “lives” offer the modern historian? To what degree were artists subject to myth and to what degree did the artist shape his own mythic persona? How has modern scholarship been colored by Romantic interpretation - and in what ways is Romantic interpretation itself dependent on tropes created by the Early Modern biographers and artists? This panel welcomes papers addressing these issues in relation to all forms of textual, verbal, and/or visual material.
Please submit an abstract of no more than 150 words and a short CV via email to Dr. Mia Reinoso Genoni at genoniRSA@gmail.com by May 23, 2008.
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