The question of genders in Venetian art is of particular significance and perennial interest. The artistic culture of Venice may have given special emphasis to the ‘feminine’, whether this is understood in terms of the depiction of the body, or as more widely reflected in its concern with lavish surfaces and rich materials. The art of Venice could even be understood as offering a kind of ‘feminine’ alternative to the more male-orientated artistic cultures of Florence and Rome. Questions of genders (e.g. female subject/male viewer) seem insistently to emerge when the erotic works of the city’s famous painters are considered; and they have been key to important publications such as Rona Goffen’s Titian’s Women in which it is argued that this painter’s works especially validate feminine social roles. The vexed question of whether wives or courtesans are featured in many belle donne portraits, or in depictions of ‘Venus’ and her followers, is also relevant to this discussion, as are related works showing women in the roles of mothers, female saints or allegories of Charity. But what role did women themselves play in the making, patronage or reception of Venetian art? And has much of the discussion been too reliant on binary ideas about what might have once been considered as ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’? To what extent does Venetian art engage, instead, with more fluid constructs or concepts of genders, exploring cultural territories beyond and between the supposedly defining, singular and opposing principles of ‘male’ and ‘female’?
We would like to invite the submission of short proposals (max. 300 words) for academic papers on any topic in Venetian art that engages with this very broad theme and the questions it raises. Papers can deal with very specific topics or wider considerations engaging the theme of ‘genders’, focussing on art produced in the city of Venice itself or its territories in the period 1200-1800. It would be great to receive a proposal from anyone who has received this Call for Papers by 31 MAY 2020. The organisers will select up to 8 papers of 20-30 minutes to be given at the meeting. Please do send your proposals to the VAHG email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). Unfortunately, we are not in a position to cover speakers’ travel costs or expenses.