Institut national d'histoire de l'art, March 30 - April 1, 2017
Deadline: Nov 6, 2016
CALL FOR PAPERS
Art for the Powerful, Multiple Objects: Medals and Tokens in Europe
from the Renaissance to the First World War
The medal was revived in the princely courts of fifteenth century Italy
as a commemorative art and quickly adopted by sovereigns across Europe.
Medals, tokens and other metallic objects devoid of fiduciary value
became more and more widespread and benefitted from several peaks of
popularity in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century, as
illustrated by the metallic histories of Louis XIV or Napoleon, a
format adopted by others as far afield as the Tsar of Russia. Whilst
changes in taste led the medal to be seen as in or out of fashion at
different moments, it has continued to maintain its essentially
commemorative function and has been used to express the ideals of all
manner of political regimes from monarchies to republics.
This symposium seeks to explore the specificity of a form of official
art that associates image and text, producing objects whose message is
also partially conveyed by the hierarchy of values intrinsic to the
metals used, from the noblest gold to more modest alloys. As objects
that can be reproduced, that are easily portable and largely
distributed, their biographies also tend to be quite distinct from that
of other types of art objects.
An initial specificity is that of the role of the engraver whose
function oscillates between that of an artist, an artisan and an agent
of a commissioning power. His artistic practice can be considered in
some sense as paradoxical in so much as it is constrained by the
conventions of the medium, and by the outline of the project which his
talent is called on to convey in material form.
This opens up to the question of the expressive aims of this official
art that seeks to capture and commemorate History as it happens,
fortifying the glory of the commissioning party. Indeed medals and
tokens represent the result of the interplay of the different actors
that contribute to their elaboration: from the initial idea developed
by a commissioning power and affiliated scholars, to the drawing of a
model, to the production and diffusion of the multiple editions of the
final product. It also need to be considered as part of a wide range of
visual productions that share a common language dedicated to
reinforcing the powers in place.
Finally, greater attention needs to be paid to the manner in which
these objects (and their models) have circulated, in particular by
considering the development of a market for modern and contemporary
medals and their status in the make-up of private and public coin
collections. This may also be an opportunity to consider the reciprocal
influence between the evolution of the taste and interest of collectors
and production styles, techniques and themes through time.
This conference will showcase current research that can provide an
alternative to a very dispersed historiography dominated by the genre
of the catalogue. We hope that a comparative effort, with cases from
across Europe, in a large chronological frame will help to establish an
interdisciplinary approach to the production and circulation of medals
and similar objects; one that reflects their complex nature and the
specificity of their biographies. We welcome perspectives from a range
of disciplines and research perspectives including art history, social
and political history, numismatics, material culture studies etc.
Proposal of no more than 400 words should be sent accompanied by a
short C.V. before the 6th of November 2016 to the following address:
Each presentation should aim to be no longer than 20 minutes and the
conference papers will be published.
Languages are French and English.
The organizing committee will give notice of acceptance by mid