CFP: Giuliano da Sangallo 1516-2016

Deadline:  31 March 2016

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence, Italy

17-18 November 2016

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut and École Pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne)

The 500th anniversary of the death of Giuliano da Sangallo offers the opportunity to examine the ambivalent reception of the artist’s work. Indeed, although he was a crucial figure in the architectural panorama of his time, Giuliano’s output and personality remain elusive. His fragmentary and sometimes misunderstood oeuvre has often been described as caught between two styles and two eras, the Florentine Quattrocento and the Roman High Renaissance. Only recently have almost all his architectural works been examined in their complexity and completeness as the subject of a monograph (FROMMEL 2014), a publication that provides a stimulus for further research on the under-examined aspects of his multifaceted production.

Giuliano’s training as legnaiuolo, for example, sheds light both on the specificity of Florentine architectural culture and on this artist’s own design methods, in which architectural models played an important role. Similarly, his corpus of drawings and the technical characteristics of their execution offer an alternative understanding of the “evolution” of representational conventions over the course of the Renaissance, one which challenges the traditional history of an improbable linear progress in this field. Even the most important graphic works by Giuliano, namely the Libro dei Disegni in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the Taccuino Senese, must be put under further scrutiny: To what degree are the form and contents of these codexes indebted to the genre of antiquarian sketchbooks? Or is it more accurate to see them as a response to entirely new functions? How was their conception shaped by cultural traditions different from those conventionally associated with Florence in the years of Lorenzo il Magnifico and Leo X? How do these codexes relate to the graphic practices of other artists who studied architecture, antiquity, and technology in the same period, such as Francesco di Giorgio or Leonardo da Vinci?

Furthermore, Giuliano da Sangallo’s interactions with and responses to his contemporaries – from Giuliano da Maiano, Baccio Pontelli, and Cronaca to Bramante and the young Michelangelo – are still to be explored. The overlaps and continuities within his large family of sculptors and architects – starting with his brother Antonio the Elder and ending with his son, Francesco, in Florence, and his nephew Antonio the Younger in Rome – also invite further research. In particular, the techniques, morphologies, and evolution of the fortifications that have been attributed to Giuliano and Antonio the Elder offer a wealth of possibilities for further study. Their catalogue of military architecture is as broad as it is unexplored, and spans a time frame of almost half a century. Moreover, the drawing practices of the workshop strongly attest to the artists’ interweaving of figurative imagery and architectural inventions. The variety of genres explored by this polymorphic workshop has not yet been investigated from a broad perspective, one that considers sculpture alongside painting and decorative arts alongside large-scale architecture.

The study day, organized by Sabine Frommel, Dario Donetti and Alessandro Nova, to be held 17-18 November 2016 at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, aims to attract innovative contributions on Giuliano da Sangallo and/or Tuscan and Roman architecture between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in relation with the output of his family. The material must be unpublished and the paper should not exceed 20 minutes. Please submit a short abstract (300 words maximum) by 31 March 2016 to the following e-mail addresses: