Category Archives: Early modern

Celebrating Italian Studies at UWA

The series of public lectures celebrating Italian Studies at UWA (where the first lectureship in Italian in Australia was established in 1929) continues. Following an introduction by John Kinder, the talks, which can be heard by clicking on the title links below, have been given by Robert Hollingworth (‘Shaping the invisible: Images reflected in music‘), Stefano Carboni (‘Venice and the Ottomans: A visual artistic journey between the Serenissima and Istanbul‘) and Susan Broomhall (‘Missing Magnificence: Tracing Catherine de Medici’s hidden cultural legacy‘). The series continues on 13 August, 6pm-7pm, Murdoch Lecture Theatre, UWA Arts Building, with a lecture by Catherine Kovesi on Italy and the Invention of Luxury. Luxury as a concept and practice has a long and often sordid past from which it has never entirely freed itself. Italy is at the heart of luxury throughout its chequered history, from its fifteenth-century definition and first articulations to its broader manifestations in present-day luxury brands and the untrammelled consumption of our age.

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Silk, Gold, and Renaissance Masculinity

Timothy McCall (Villanova University) will be giving a lecture, ‘Velvet Goldmine: Silk, Gold, and Renaissance Masculinity‘ on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 in the North Theatre (room 149), Old Arts Building, at the University of Melbourne (free but registration required here). The ruling men of Renaissance Italy wrapped themselves in silks and jewels, feathers and pearls. To dazzle the eye, they wore cloth-of-gold and cloth-of-silver, but sometimes the gems were made of paste, intended to deceive observers. All that glittered was not necessarily gold. Building from a study of material extravagance and the symbolic economy of male court fashions, this lecture explores the shining surfaces and things which adorned lords’ bodies and turns a critical eye to material fictions of luxury.  Continue reading

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Return to the Fold – Yasmin Haskell

ACIS is delighted to announce that Professorial Fellow Yasmin Haskell (foundation Cassamarca Chair in Latin Humanism) is returning to the University of Western Australia after two years at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. In Bristol she was Chair of Latin in the Department of Classics and Ancient History and served as Director of the Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition. Some highlights of her time in Europe were commissioning an historically-informed concert performance of the Viennese baroque Jesuit musical drama, Mulier Fortis (Strong Woman) in collaboration with her former UWA PhD student, Dr Makoto Harris Takao (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin); and several invited talks on Latin humanist topics, for instance at the Accademia Vivarium Novum (Frascati), European University Institute, Florence; University of Bologna; Catholic University of Milan; and most recently, to the Virgil Society, London. In November 2018 she gave the 39th annual Erasmus lecture at the Royal Academy of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, on ‘Erasmus and the Health of Scholars: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual’, and an associated masterclass for selected graduate students on ‘Passions for and of Learning in the Early Modern Period’. We wish Prof. Haskell a gentle landing on Australian soil, and look forward to hearing about her further activities in the coming year.

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ACIS Research Group: History and Social Sciences

The first 3-year plan for the ACIS History and Social Sciences Research Group is available here. As its title, Trade, Textiles and Meaning in Italy: 1400-2018, suggests, the focus is on the nature and consequences of the high-end textile trade in Italy from the Renaissance onwards. The project begins with a specific object – the portrait of Isabella D’Este (1474-1539) by Titian – and explores the production and meaning of all the items of clothing, seen and not seen, that Isabella is wearing. The exploration is conducted in tandem with the IDEA (Isabella D’Este Archive) website, in relation where possible to the references to clothing and textiles in Isabella’s correspondence. The second part of the project examines similar themes in the contemporary world of ‘Made in Italy’, where many major producers using that descriptor are not Italian. Information on the activities and people involved in the project can be found in the plan and from the Research Group’s convenor, Catherine Kovesi.

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A Renaissance Royal Wedding 1518-2018

From 17 March to 13 May 2018 Oxford’s Bodleian Library’s new Weston Building will host an exhibition entitled A Renaissance Royal Wedding, marking the 500th anniversary of a landmark sixteenth-century match. On 18 April 1518 the Italian princess Bona Sforza married Sigismund I, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, in Cracow cathedral. The lavish nuptials forged links of politics and kinship between the Jagiellonian dynasty of Central Europe and the top families of Renaissance Italy, opening up new channels of communication between the Polish capital and the cities of Italy’s far south – a dynamic exchange of people, books and ideas which continued for decades. Bona Sforza (1494-1557) was a Milanese-Neapolitan princess, from 1518 queen of Poland and from 1524 duchess of Bari, in Puglia, and thus Italian ruler in her own right. King Sigismund (1467-1548) was the scion of a large royal house which, at its peak c. 1525, ruled half of Europe, from Prague to Smolensk. Their wedding was attended by dignitaries and scholars from across Christendom, and their five children – who later ruled in Poland-Lithuania, Sweden and Hungary – presented themselves throughout their lives as Polish-Italian royalty. Bona herself remains a controversial, high-profile figure in Polish memory to this day.

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Convivio: new edition and translation

Andrew Frisardi   Independent scholar

My edition and first fully-annotated translation of one of Dante’s ‘minor’ works, Convivio: A Dual-Language Critical Edition, has recently been published by Cambridge University Press. It is hard to explain in a few words what the Convivio, composed by Dante in exile between 1304 and 1307, is like since it is as unique as most of his works. Let me just say that Dante as the quintessential poet-scholar is his truly unpredictable poet-scholarly self in this book. He gives prose commentaries on three of his own long poems, which are in the book as well, and is mind-bogglingly innovative and visionary with what he does with that. I highly recommend it for an experience of what the poetic intelligence can do when it is operating on all levels, as well as for getting closer to Dante’s thought in the Divine Comedy.    Continue reading

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Blade Runner 2049 meets Il Cortegiano

The improbable encounter between Blade Runner 2049 and Baldassarre Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano (Book 3) is the topic of Jill Burke’s latest entry in her blog. It’s Joi, the holographic super-girl who Agent K keeps in a device in his pocket, not K or any of the replicants in BR 2049, who is the focus – she can be compared to the perfect court lady imagined in the discussions among Castiglione’s courtiers. Burke connects their creation of an imaginary ideal woman with developments in the Renaissance painting of female nudes, setting real-life faces on classically beautiful bodies.

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Senses of Italy: Melbourne Masterclass

Scent, sight, sound, taste, touch: all Italian-style. They are covered in a programme of Thursday evening lectures, Melbourne Masterclass : Senses of Italy, at the University of Melbourne, 6.15 – 8.15pm, 5 October – 2 November 2017. The series starts with Catherine Kovesi on Renaissance perfumes (Venice as olfactory heaven) and Antonio Artese on scent and Aquaflor (5 Oct). Then Christopher Marshall looks at Artemisia Gentileschi’s correspondence (‘it’s all about the money’) and Mark Nicholls at Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy (12 Oct). John Weretka uses paintings and poetry to examine the instruments, repertoires and status of Renaissance musicians (upwardly mobile), followed by Malcolm Angelucci on poetics, music and madness in Italy before 1914 (19 Oct). John Hajek and Anthony White consider Futurism and food, the art and appetites of the antigrazioso (26 Oct). Finally Andrea Rizzi explores the ideas and images of Renaissance texts (‘tactile values’), and Carl Villis reveals some attributions and reattributions of Italian Renaissance art in the National Gallery of Victoria (2 Nov). Further details on the contributions, authors, venue and registration can be found here.

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The Greeks in Venice, 1498‒1600

The Hellenic Museum and Co.As.It. Museo Italiano will launch The Greeks of Venice, 1498‒1600: Immigration, Settlement, and Integration by Ersie C. Burke with a presentation by Carolyn James (Monash University) on Thursday 10 August 2017 at 6.30pm, Co.As.It. Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton (free event; RSVP here). Burke traces the history of Venice’s Greek population during the formative years between 1498 and 1600 when thousands left their homelands for Venice. She describes how Greeks established new communal and social networks, making the transition from outsiders to insiders (though not quite Venetians) in the context of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual Venice. This reconstruction of the history of the largest Christian ethnic minority in early modern Venice is interwoven with individual stories drawn from a great variety of sources – notarial documents, petitions, gov­ernment and church records, registries of marriages and deaths, and census data – held in Vene­tian church and state archives and in the Hellenic Institute of Venice.

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Award of the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017

ACIS  is very pleased to announce that the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017 has been awarded to Monique Webber (University of Melbourne) for her essay ‘”In Search of Universal Icons”: Interrogating the Superstar Phenomenon of Early Modern Art through the Photography of Jo-Anne Duggan’. It shows how Jo-Anne Duggan’s photographs – notably those in her exhibitions Before the Museum (2000-2002), Impossible Gaze (2002-2005), and Wondrous Possessions (2010) – explore the impact of the passage of time on the works of forgotten masters and the way we now reflect on them. The essay reveals how Jo-Anne’s approach to Renaissance artworks uncovers the complex marks of superstar culture, the dominant form of our contemporary engagement with art and often regarded as a distinctive symptom of the modern age.  We are also very pleased to give the Highly Commended award to Laelie Greenwood (Monash University) for her essay ‘Private Memory, Public Spaces: An Examination of Memory and Monument within Italian Immigrant Experience in Carlton’.  She analyses the architecture of Malbourne’s Carlton area, using Jo-Anne Duggan’s writings to explore the ways in which Italian-Australians developed a distinctive architectural style in their house facades and renovations to convey their enduring links to the country they had left.

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