Since the publication of Art and Power: Renaissance festivals, 1450–1650 by Sir Roy Strong, scholars have had an increasing interest in Early Modern European Festivals. The Europa Triumphans project at the University of Warwick created new enthusiasm for the subject among scholars and inspired the Renaissance Festival Books digitisation project by the British Library. Studies in Renaissance and Baroque European courts have been flourishing in recent years. The relations between ruler and ruled were both represented and performed in these often costly and elaborate events, which owed a great deal to classical models and humanist ideas. Books of festivals and chronicles also played a critical role in the dissemination of political propaganda and of the achievements of participants. Representations of power were highly mediated and were ambiguous reflections of royal authority and rites of passage, since the demands and desires of the ruled, as well as of the ruler, often had to be reflected in words, images and gestures. Ephemeral architecture, theatre, musical performance and objects such as tapestries, paintings, engravings and books were created solely to commemorate these multimedia events.
The aim of this conference is to re-create or reconstruct Renaissance and Baroque Festivals by an interdisciplinary approach. This includes the presentation of the project’s online exhibition in which the project’s investigators re-create music played in Festivals and a 3D model of the city with the reconstruction of the ephemeral architecture displayed in it.
The organisers of this two-day conference seek contributions related to any aspect of Early Modern European festivals and are especially interested in proposals which relate to the festivals of the Hispanic Habsburg dynasty. Proposals from any field of the Humanities in a broad sense are welcome, with an emphasis on, but not limited to, the visual arts, music and performing arts. Ultimately, we are interested in any study that would bring back the pageantry and senses of those magnificent events.
Some preliminary conference themes are:
- The transformation of the urban space for the festival.
- Triumphal entries in Early Modern Europe: princely courts, heroes, religion and explorers.
- Celebrations of marriages and treaties.
- Religious ceremonies and processions.
- Public executions in Europe and autos de fé.
- Funerals and commemorations of death.
- Cultural and artistic objects created for the festivals, i.e. paintings, tapestries, festival books etc.
The Keynote speaker is Prof. Fernando Checa Cremades, University Complutense of Madrid, Spain. Prof. Checa Cremades is one the most important international voices in the study of Renaissance and Golden Age art patronage in Europe.
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