Monthly Archives: January 2024

Member Publication: Painters and Sitters in Early Seventeenth-century Rome: Portraits of the Soul

Member Esther Theiler has recently published a monograph with Brepols entitled Painters and Sitters in Early Seventeenth-century Rome: Portraits of the Soul.

Significant innovations in portraiture occurred during the transitional period from the end of the sixteenth-century to the early seventeenth-century in Rome. Portraits by Annibale Carracci, Valentin de Boulogne, Anthony van Dyck, Simon Vouet and Gianlorenzo Bernini display a loosening of formality and a trend towards movement. These artists produced a portrait type that was more inclusive of the viewer, more communicative, more revealing of a private face. The portraits in this study were less likely to celebrate achievements, family or social standing, titles, rank or station. Instead they portray individuals who exist apart from their professional personae. They reveal unique and characteristic traits of their subjects captured at a particular moment in time. They used subtle affetti, painting technique and colour to express mood and atmosphere and evoke the presence of the sitter. The sitters include poets, courtiers, buffoons and the artists themselves, and each composition is attentive to the thoughts, emotions and imaginative life of the individuals.

Painters and Sitters in Early Seventeenth-century Rome is available for purchase through Brepols.

Parergon Volume 40.2

Issue 40.2 of Parergon went to print in December and will soon be making its way to members’ mailboxes. This is special issue guest edited by Kate Allan and Nupur Patel on the subject of women’s agency in Early Modern Europe. Kate and Nupur have written a post for the Parergon blog about the issue, how it came together, and its aims and contents. Enough to keep you going until the journal arrives!

Member Publication: Elite Women and the Italian Wars, 1494–1559

Susan Broomhall and Carolyn James have recently published a volume with the Cambridge Elements series: Elite Women and the Italian Wars, 1494–1559.

The volume analyses the critical importance of elite women to the conflict conventionally known as the Italian Wars that engulfed much of Europe and the Mediterranean between 1494 and 1559. Through its considered attention to the interventions of women connected to imperial, royal and princely dynasties, the authors show the breadth and depth of the opportunities, roles, impact, and influence that certain women had to shape the course of the conflict in both wartime activities and in peace-making. The work thus expands the ways in which the authors can think about women’s participation in war and politics. It makes use of a wide range of sources such as literature, art and material culture, as well as more conventional text forms. Women’s voices and actions are prioritized in making sense of evidence and claims about their activities.

Elite Women and the Italian Wars is available for free download for the next two weeks.

Registration Open: Medieval Academy of America 2024

The 99th annual meeting of the Medieval Academy of America takes place this year on March 14–16, 2024, at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Please visit, where you will see a link for registration. Here you will also find direct links to conference hotels offering discounted rates and a general overview of conference activities. The discounted hotel rates for attendees remain in effect only through February 13, 2024, and online registration closes February 16, 2024, so I urge you to register soon. Full details concerning the program as well as transportation and related matters may also be found on the site. The conference will be entirely in person, though the plenary lectures and some other events will also be live-streamed.

The themes for this year’s meeting are “Mapping the Middle Ages,” “Bodies in Motion,” and “Communities of Knowledge.” Plenary addresses will be delivered by Robin Fleming (Boston College) and Samantha Leggett (University of Edinburgh), “Conscious Uncoupling: Migration without ‘The Migration Period’. Chronology, mobility, diet, and health in a small corner of early medieval Hampshire”; Bissera Pentcheva (Stanford), “AudioVision in the Arts of the Liturgy at Conques”; and Jack Tannous (Princeton), “From Tatian to Hunayn: Communities (and Continuities) of Knowledge between Late Antiquity and Islam.”

Sixty concurrent sessions will represent a range of threads, including “Digitally Mapping the Middle Ages,” “Sacred Interiors,” “Islamic Epistemology,” “Mapping Real and Imaginary Travel,” “Mobile Bodies,” and “Border Crossings,” and cover topics addressing material culture, literary studies, cosmology, architecture, liturgy, and pandemics, to name a few. Roundtables and workshops will highlight union organizing in higher education, writing for a public audience, and publishing on the Middle Ages.

Beyond the conference and its sessions, other attractions are available to you before and during the meeting. On Wednesday, March 13, workshops on digital medieval studies and fragmentology will be offered. Notre Dame Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections will showcase an exhibit entitled “Mapping the Middle Ages: Marking Time, Space, and Knowledge,” while the campus Digital Visualization Theater will host a 360-degree visual and aural presentation on the cosmology of Hildegard of Bingen. Visit the newly-opened Raclin Murphy Museum of Art and while there enjoy a special exhibit of early woodcuts and engravings, including Albrecht Dürer’s famous Apocalypse series. The Morris Inn will host an Irish Céilí dance on Saturday evening.