Size Matters (Florence, 8-10 Nov 12)

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut, November 8 - 10, 2012

Size Matters: Questions of Scale in Art History

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut
November 8-10, 2012

Hosted by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut in association with the University of Michigan and sponsored by the Kress Foundation, this conference addresses scale, one of the issues most central to the making and reception of art. Even more than other foundational constructs such as color, line, or shape, scale directs attention towards the capacity of the artwork to respond to a specific location and place, while simultaneously calling into question the role of the viewer. Often mistaken as size, scale opens up questions of agency in ways that compel reconsideration of what it means to be involved in the creation, circulation, and reception of visual art. Scale requires that viewers regard size as a crucial aspect that enables a material and physical entity to function convincingly as an artwork. How does one think about size as internal to form, or, for that matter, how it frames the artwork as a function of responses between meaning and materiality? In short, scale forces viewers to rethink the artwork in the most visceral terms possible.

Heuristically speaking, scale offers a rich means of making concrete a comparative art history not rooted in geographical or national distinctions. While scale might initially be seen as yet another "universal" category, the purpose of this conference, however, is not to advance a general theory of scale extrapolated from a set of highly subjective case studies. Exploring scale from a wide variety of geographical and chronological perspectives, this conference foregrounds the question of comparative study as mediated through four streams of inquiry: monumentality, scale and labor, the production of scale via different standards of measurements, and miniatures, microcosms, and anti-magnifications. In addressing scale thus, this conference seeks to open further dialogue on questions of method and interpretation often neglected in favor of what is idealistically described as "world art history."


Thursday, November 8

Introductory Remarks
Size Matters

Moderator: Genevieve Warwick (Edinburgh)

Oliver Lugon (Lausanne)
Scale and Photography

11.15-11.45 Coffee break

Hannah Baader (KHI)
Sublime Gradations

Joan Kee (Michigan)
The Measure of the World: Kang Se-hwang's ‘Journey to Songdo' (1757)

13.15-14.30 Lunch break

Roundtable discussion

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

Visit to Alberti's Tempietto in San Pancrazio
(limited to speakers and guests)

Friday, November 9

Politics of Scale
Moderator: Gerhard Wolf

Mateusz Kapustka (Zurich)
Globe as Object: Early Modern Compressions of Space between Natural Philosophy and Politics

Achim Timmerman (Michigan)
Modelling Infinity: Scale in Western Medieval Architecture and Architectural Thought, c. 1000-1500

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby (Berkeley)
Small Empire

Round table discussion

13.15-14.30 Lunch break

Measurements, Ratios and Sizing
Moderator: Joan Kee

Alessandro Scafi (Warburg)
Measuring the Immeasurable: Eden and the Emergence of Mathematical Scale in Late Medieval Mapping

Emanuele Lugli (York)
Burying the Rulers: A Necrophiliac History of Medieval Measurements

16.00-16.30 Coffee break

Gerhard Wolf (KHI)

Roundtable discussion

Saturday, November 10

Miniatures, Microcosms and Anti-magnifications
Moderator: Emanuele Lugli

Melissa McCormick (Harvard)
The Built Environment of the Japanese Miniature

Margaret Graves (Indiana)
Seeing, Thinking, Shrinking: Making the Built World Small

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

Wu Hung (Chicago)
Emperor Jing's (r. 156 to 141 BC) Miniature Posthumous Universe

Roundtable discussion

13.15-14.30 Lunch break

Visit to the exhibition of the KHI's Photothek
with Costanza Caraffa

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

Genevieve Warwick
Conclusive Remarks

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut
Palazzo Grifoni - Seminarraum
Via dei Servi 51
I-50122 Firenze

Dr. Emanuele Lugli


CONF: Size Matters (Florence, 8-10 Nov 12). In: H-ArtHist, Sep 19, 2012 (accessed Oct 4, 2015), <>.

Contributor: Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut

Contribution published: Sep 19, 2012

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