Art Across the Iberian World – Connecting Spanish Italy and Latin America

Call for Papers

University of Zurich
Thursday 6 to Saturday 8 October 2022

Organized by Joris van Gastel and Nora Guggenbühler

For a long stretch of time, both Southern Italy—the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily—and Latin America were entangled in the same colonial system. Still, art historians have discussed these entanglements largely independently. This conference seeks to bring together these two fields of study: on the one hand, that which explores the shared visual and material cultures between the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America, and, on the other hand, that which studies the artistic connections between Spain and Spanish Italy. Although in recent years scholars have covered significant ground in both areas of research, they have remained largely unconnected—even though there are significant parallels also in terms of historiography.

The handful of studies that has attempted to bring these worlds closer have dealt with topics as varied as the interest in Southern Italian sculpture in Latin America, the significance of various Saints between these worlds, shared religious phenomena as well as relations in scientific culture. Building on this scholarship, the conference aims both at confronting such scattered approaches as well as exploring alternative accounts, thereby concentrating on their relevance for art and visual culture. In doing so, it will focus particularly on the continuities, parallels, and contacts between these respective areas, including their shared relation to Spain and Portugal. Also the enduring resonances into the later eighteenth century—that is, after the independence of the Kingdom of Naples—will be a point of interest.

This is not to look at a more generic “influence” but rather at the ways in which objects, materials, forms, people, and ideas traveled, or how related artistic phenomena arose in different parts of the world. Thereby questions regarding the roles of various agents (human and non-human) in processes of exchange and appropriation and how such connections gave rise to varying geographies will be a particular concern. To explore these topics, we invite proposals for original contributions either dealing with suggestive case studies or revolving around more theoretical considerations regarding the ways we may describe and conceptualize the issues sketched above.

Please send proposals (max. 1 page) for 25-minute presentations in English together with a short academic biography to Joris van Gastel (joris.vangastel@uzh.ch) and Nora Guggenbühler (nora.guggenbuehler@uzh.ch) by the 20th of February, 2022.

Conference language will be English. The conference is planned as an on-site event, to take place at the University of Zurich. Accommodation in Zurich will be provided by the organizers. In principle, travel costs can be reimbursed, though we expect to be able to fund only a restricted number of transatlantic flights.

The publication of the conference proceedings is planned.


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