Monday, November 22, 2010

Trecento 2010: An Enriching Weekend of Early Italian Art

Paul Manoguerra, chief curator and curator of American art, and Judith Ellis attend the Alfred Heber Holbrook Lecture

Laura Rhicard, who works in our Daura department, wrote up a wonderful account of our recent Trecento Conference, which took place November 11-13:
The weekend before last, the Georgia Museum of Art and the Lamar Dodd School of Art played host to the biennial Trecento Conference in Memory of Andrew Ladis. Scholars and enthusiasts of early Italian Renaissance and late Medieval art from around the world and the United States gathered at the art school to discuss a wide range of topics on the trecento period of Italian art history. Click here to view a full list of the presentations.

Marvin Trachtenberg, of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, opened the conference on Thursday evening with the 2010 Alfred Heber Holbrook Memorial Lecture. His topic, “Building-in-Time: Thinking and Making Architecture in the Premodern Era” was based on his newly published, similarly titled book, which explores the role of temporality in architectural theory and practice in 14th-century Italy.

Friday and Saturday were filled with presentations. Intern Joanna Reising especially enjoyed the presentation of a paper by Peter Scholz of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, “Creating Space and Constructing Identity: the Painted Architectures of Giusto de’ Menabuoi and Altichiero.” Joanna found the topic interesting in light of the research she’s been doing in our curatorial department:
This lecture is important for our own research on our Giusto panels, which are part of a dismembered polyptych. Not only did the lecture give us a better idea of Giusto's style, but it also gave us a lead on reconstructing the polyptych: the altarpiece of the baptistry seen in the third slide of the lecture looks very similar to the reconstruction that I have done on our polyptych. This could give us a better idea of what the polyptych looked like before it was dismembered.
Curator of education Carissa DiCindio found interest in a presentation by Cecilia Frosinini of Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro in Florence, entitled “New results on Giotto's panel paintings and wall paintings restoration at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure: the Ognissanti Crucifix and some preliminary remarks on the Peruzzi Chapel.” Said Carissa, “It was fascinating to see how the works of art are being restored, and the discoveries made through these restorations are very exciting.” She also noted that the highlight this year was knowing that the conference will now be named for Dr. Ladis, “because I cannot think about this event without thinking of his presence there.”

The relatively small size of the conference made it easy for seasoned international scholars and new graduate students alike to converse on their shared passion. To sustain the sense of community, participants were treated to dinner at local homes each night. Several visitors from Italy were complimentary of the food, particularly the Low Country Boil! For lunch, conference participants got a taste of today’s college dining experience at the Harris Commons dining hall, and coffee and tea breaks were delivered by local café Big City Bread. Toward the end of one break, a comment was overheard that could have been either “This is the best conference around,” or “the best coffee around….” Either way, we’ll take the compliment!

For Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts, last weekend was his first time attending the Trecento Conference. He provided this assessment that nicely sums up the weekend: “It was an enriching experience both to be around so much trecento art history, so many art historians, and such incredible diversity of languages and culture. The Trecento conference was a case study in a successful academic conference. I believe it brought something special to Athens.”

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