The Art of the Network: Visualising Social Relationships, 1400 - 1600

Event Date: 
28 Apr 2017


Annual Postgraduate Renaissance Symposium, Courtauld Institute of Art, London





In recent years, the analysis of social networks has generated a fruitful field of scholarly enquiry. Research addressing the dynamics that govern personal relationships within and without communities of various kinds has permeated through historical, anthropological, and sociological studies. These investigations have traced the ways in which societies structured according to gender, family bonds, and neighbourhood ties as well as political, professional, and religious associations regulated social interaction. However, the role of art and architecture in cultivating these interpersonal relationships has not been explored comprehensively. Even art historical approaches have frequently given preference to textual rather than visual evidence in elucidating these social networks.


This conference seeks to shed light on the ways in which social networks have been represented visually. Such an approach has great potential to deepen the discussion surrounding the commission, production, and reception of art and architecture between 1400 and 1600. We invite studies that bring into dialogue social connections on the one hand and visual manifestations on the other. Preference will be given to papers that present unpublished material while engaging with methodological frameworks and/or historiographical perspectives.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • how artistic networks affect the construction of identities
  • the mobility of art and artists within networks
  • whether formal, iconographic and/or stylistic features denote adherence to a community
  • the identification of specific individuals in works of art
  • how issues of display influence social bonds
  • the employment of personal, familial, political, ecclesiastical or professional devices




Submission date for papers: 
31 Dec 2016
PDF icon Call for Papers181.24 KB