The Art of the Network: Visualising Social Relationships, 1400 - 1600

Event Date: 
28 Apr 2017


The Annual Renaissance Postgraduate Student Symposium

Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK



In recent years, the analysis of social networks has generated a fruitful field of scholarly enquiry. Research addressing the dynamics that govern personal relationships within and without communities of various kinds has permeated through historical, anthropological, and sociological studies. These investigations have traced the ways in which societies structured according to gender, family bonds, and neighbourhood ties as well as political, professional, and religious associations regulated social interaction. However, the role of art and architecture in cultivating these interpersonal relationships has not been explored comprehensively. Even art historical approaches have frequently given preference to textual rather than visual evidence in elucidating these social networks.


This conference seeks to shed light on the ways in which social networks have been represented visually. Such an approach has great potential to deepen the discussion surrounding the commission, production, and reception of art and architecture between 1400 and 1600.


'The Art of the Network' is generously sponsored by the Sackler Research Forum, Courtauld Institute of Art, the CHASE AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Cohort Development Fund, and the Society for Renaissance Studies.


The conference is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged:




9.00 – 9.30      Registration


9.30 – 9.45      Welcome: Alexander J. Noelle (The Courtauld Institute of Art)


9.45 – 11.10      Session 1: Materialising Allegiance, Chaired by Suzanne Duff (Brown University)


  •  Ann Adams (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Perpetual Membership: The Fifteenth-Century Tombs of the Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece
  • Sara Frier (Yale University),So sah ich als Soldat aus (‘This is how I looked as a soldier’): The Mercenary-Artists of Renaissance Switzerland
  • Anna Merlini (The Courtauld Institute of Art),A Journey through the Labyrinth of Symbols: Retracing a Social Network across Achille Bocchi’s Symbolicae Quaestiones (1555)




11.10 – 11.35      Tea / Coffee Break


11.35 – 13.00      Session 2: Civic Art, Chaired by Imogen Tedbury (The Courtauld Institute of Art)


  •  Maria Harvey (The University of Cambridge) ‘ + Eνταυθα εστιν η καππελλα τ[ης] … α[γιας] Kατ[ερινας]’: Art and Community in Fifteenth-Century Salento
  • Saida Bondini (The Courtauld Institute of Art), A History of Families: Networks of Private Patronage in Late Fifteenth-Century Bologna
  • Maria Matarazzo (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), The Plinian Monuments in Como: Classical Antiquity as Municipal Identity




13.00 – 14.00      Lunch Break


14.00 – 15.25      Session 3: Artist(ic) Identity, Chaired by Lydia Goodson (The Warburg Institute)


  • Elizabeth Bernick (John Hopkins University), Mapping Cesare da Sesto: A Placeless Style
  • Wouter Wagemakers (University of Amsterdam), Visualising Patterns of Patronage in Sixteenth-Century Verona: Michele Sanmicheli and the Roman Connection
  • Luca Baroni (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Urbino to Europe: Federico Barocci’s Artistic and Diplomatic Network as Visualised in His Paintings




15.25 – 15.50      Tea / Coffee Break


15.50 – 17.15      Session 4: Visualising Dynasties, Chaired by Bart van Eekelen (Utrecht University)


  • Anastazja Grudnicka (University College London),The (Un)Making of the Habsburg Dynasty: Visual Representations of Matthias Habsburg in the Dutch Provinces (1577-1581)
  • Rebekah Helen Lee (University of York), By the Book: Dynastic and Corporal Network Building in the Arenberg Family Portrait Album circa 1600
  • Marina Porri (Universities of Florence, Siena, and Pisa), Marriage Portraits as Political Networking: The Medici Court at the End of the Sixteenth Century




17.15 – 17.30      Comfort Break


17.30 – 17.45      Closing Remarks: Alexander Röstel (The Courtauld Institute of Art)


17:45 – 18:45      Keynote Address

Prof. John Padgett (University of Chicago), Networks in Renaissance Florence


18.45 – 20:00      Reception


Submission date for papers: 
31 Dec 2016
PDF icon Call for Papers181.24 KB