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Conference 'Romanesque Renaissance. Early medieval architecture as a source for new all’antica architecture in the 15th and 16th centuries' (Florence)
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22 en 23 September 2017


Romanesque Renaissance.


Early medieval architecture as a source for new all’antica architecture in the 15th and 16th centuries



International conference

Organized by Michael W. Kwakkelstein and Konrad Ottenheym



Florence, 22-23 September 2017



The revival of antique forms in 15th- and 16th-century architecture was, as is well known, above all a European phenomenon. This movement originated in Central Italy, but from the late 15th century onward, it spread to other centres in and outside of Italy. Sources of inspiration were not only the iconic Roman remains, which were catalogued in Serlio’s Book Three (1540) and Palladio’s Book Four (1570), but also local ruins and historic buildings in other parts of Europe. Some of these were of genuine antique origin (or even more ancient) others were in fact of late antique of even medieval date.


For early modern humanists and artists it must have been difficult to distinguish Byzantine and Romanesque architecture from that of Roman antiquity. The scholarly concept of ‘Romanesque’ architecture and the stylistic tools enabling one to distinguish it from antique Roman architecture, date from the early 19th-century, not earlier. Traditional 20th-century art history mostly ignored buildings that were inspired by medieval sources.


The present conference invites speakers to determine to what extent renaissance architecture inspired by medieval sources reflects an intellectual endeavour to produce all’antica architecture based on local sources. Questions that will be addressed include why patrons and architects preferred references to medieval sources above those antique, what did they know (or think they knew) of the history of these ancient buildings and what determined their choices?


Friday 22 September

9:30     Coffee/Tea 1

10:00   Michael Kwakkelstein, Director’s Welcome

10:15   Konrad Ottenheym (University of Utrecht): Introduction


10:45   Emanuela Ferretti (University of Florence) and Eliana Carrara (University of Molise): “Il Battistero di Firenze nella committenza dei primi granduchi di Toscana”

11:30   Stephan Hoppe (Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich): “Translating the Past. Local Romanesque architecture in Germany and its reinterpretation in the 15th century”

12:15   Lunch

13:30   Ian Campbell (University of Edinburgh), “Scottish Royal Residences 1400-1600”

14:15   Bianca de Divitiis (University of Naples Federico II), “Memory of the Romanesque in southern Renaissance architecture: Documents and monuments”

15:00   Coffee/Tea

15:30     Stefaan Grieten (University of Leuven), “Romanesque Reconstructions. The Renaissance of
             Liège in the early 16th Century”

16:15   Krista De Jonge (University of Leuven), ‘Matters of representation. On the revival of the early mediaeval keep in Flanders and Brabant (16th-17th centuries)’

17:00   Reception


Saturday 23 September

9:30     Coffee/Tea

10:00   Stefano Piazza (University of Palermo): “Il ruolo della memoria normanna nella cultura architettonica siciliana della prima età moderna”

10:45   Emanuela Garofalo (University of Palermo): “Tra mito e modello. Le cattedrali normanne nell' architettura religiosa del Cinquecento in Italia meridionale”

11:30   Marco Nobile (University of Palermo):“Le cupole in pietra a vista nel primo ‘500 in Sicilia”

12:15   Lunch

13:30   Hubertus Günther (University of Zurich): “Byzantine cupolas and the myth of the ‘antique origin’ of Venice”

14:15   Kristoffer J. Neville (UC Riverside): “Text and form: The beginnings of architectural history and architectural aesthetics in the far North”

15:00   Coffee/Tea

15:30   Barbara Arciszewska (University of Warsaw): “Polish all’antica architecture: the Sarmatian myth”

16.15   Konrad Ottenheym (University of Utrecht): “Notions of centralised churches and pagan temples 1400-1600”

17:00   Discussion and concluding remarks

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