Trecento Art Beyond Italy, Italian Art Society Sponsored Session, 63rd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Chicago, March 30–April 1, 2017
There is a great corpus of scholarship regarding the debts of Trecento visual culture to Byzantine, Gothic, and Islamic art or architecture. There remains considerable space, however, to explore how Trecento architects, artists, and objects shaped contemporaneous visual culture beyond the Italian peninsula, in regions including the Latin East, the Balkans, Byzantium, Bohemia, England, and the papal court of Avignon. The multiple sources of transmission involved traveling artists, churchmen, crusaders, courts, merchants, and portable objects themselves. In 1373, for instance, the merchant Francesco di Marco Datini asked an agent to buy devotional panels in Florence to resell at Avignon: “Let there be in the center Our Lord on the Cross, or Our Lady, whomsoever you find—I care not, so that the figures be handsome and large…and the cost no more than 5.5 or 6.5 florins.”
This panel investigates the impact of Trecento visual culture on monuments abroad, taking a critical approach to causation in artistic practice. Speakers might focus on workshop technologies and other mechanisms of distribution, international networks of patronage, the relative competencies of patrons and craftsmen in constructing specific images and buildings, and examples of assimilating new visual idioms with preexisting ones. They are further encouraged to take a critical approach to the ritual or ideological implications of artistic transmission. Lastly—recognizing the fluidity of objects, ideas, and people—speakers are welcomed to comment on the rewards or pitfalls of recasting the Trecento artistic domain as a more dynamic, relative, and international phenomenon than traditional narratives have permitted.