Livelier Than Life: the Life of Art in Early Modern Europe

Event Date: 
06 Sep 2018 to 07 Sep 2018
Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Keynote speakers: Neil Kenny and Caroline van Eck

‘Livelier Than Life’: The Life Of Art In Early Modern Europe


Trinity Hall, Cambridge



‘Artificial strife / Lives in these touches livelier than life’: so the Poet assures the Painter in the first scene of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens. His remark prompts some difficult questions. What sort of life does an artwork have, and how might it be livelier than life? How lively is life? Is the strife between art and life a playful piece of artifice, or a matter of life and death? And why are these questions so difficult to answer, hampered from the start by a concept as indispensable but theoretically recalcitrant as life?



Registration is now open for this two-day conference, which sets out to consider art and life—and the fraught relations between the two—in early modern Europe. Scholars from a range of disciplines will be thinking about the particular liveliness of individual works, the historical circumstances under which the life of art was produced and received, and the wider role of life in aesthetic theory, in and beyond the Renaissance. There will be two keynote speeches:



Neil Kenny (All Souls, Oxford), ‘Whose life and death? Art’s? Or ours?’

Caroline van Eck (Kings, Cambridge), ‘In the Make-Up Parlour of Mars: Camouflage, Zoomorphism and the Life of Art’



Registration for this event is £50 waged, £25 unwaged/student; the price includes pastries on arrival, lunch over both days, and regular refreshments throughout the conference, as well as a drinks reception on Thursday evening in the venue’s private garden. Accommodation in Trinity Hall is also available on request: for more information, please contact the organizers at



Please see our website,, for the link to our registration page, as well as details of the conference’s programme, and the latest updates. We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge!


Submission date for papers: 
06 Jul 2018