CFP: Rubens and Italian Culture: 1600-1608 (Rome, 17 Dec 18)

Academia Belgica - Rome, December 17, 2018
Deadline: Jun 10, 2018


The Academia Belgica in Rome, in collaboration with the Rubenianum of Antwerp (Research Institute for Flemish Art of the 16th and 17th centuries), “Sapienza” University of Rome and University of Teramo, organizes on 17 December 2018 an International Symposium on Peter Paul Rubens and the Italian culture.

Italy played a crucial role in the life of Peter Paul Rubens: the indissoluble relationship between the master of Antwerp and Italy has always provided an essential key to a critical reading of his artistic works. Besides Michael Jaffé‘s fundamental book (of 1978), Rubens and Italy, the follow up to archival research, amongst others related to his Italian correspondence and the documents concerning the altarpieces for the Vallicella church in Rome, many other studies have analyzed the manifold aspects of this relationship. First and foremost, the second section of Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard XXVI, edited by Jeremy Wood, constitutes a clear analysis of Rubens’ copies from Italian painters, like Titian and Tintoretto. But also, the international conference entitled Rubens dall’Italia all’Europa, organized in Padua in 1990 and edited by Caterina Limentani Virdis, provided another essential contribution to the study of Rubens’ relationship with Italy. Recently, the symposium at Bibliotheca Hertiziana in Rome, organized by Raffaella Morselli, Anna Lo Bianco and Sybille Ebert-Schifferer on 20 November 2017, focused on the connections between the master of Antwerp and the papal city in particular. The symposium of the Academia Belgica aims at establishing a research platform to study the continuity of this relationship.

His years of apprenticeship in the workshop of the Romanist painter Otto van Veen and references to figurative culture studied during his stay in Rome, Mantua and Genoa, show how much Rubens considered Italy to be his home of choice. During his eight-year sojourn, the master of Antwerp studied ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, from which he drew several sketches, analyzed in Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard XXIII, and encounters with Italian collectors gave him the opportunity to discover the Italian masters of the 16th century: first of all his visit to Florence on the occasion of the marriage of Maria de’ Medici; then, more importantly, his visit on behalf of Vincenzo Gonzaga, in particular at the court of Madrid, where Rubens was able to study thoroughly Titian’s works; finally, in Genoa Rubens made many portraits for some of the wealthiest families. It is in Italy that Rubens received his first prestigious public commissions: the altarpieces for Santa Croce in Gerusalemme and Santa Maria della Vallicella in Rome, the altarpiece for the Jesuits in Genoa, the triptych for Santa Trinità in Mantua.

Rubens’ eight-year stay constitutes thus a real archival, iconographic and stylistic source which allows us to understand not only his paintings, but also the diplomatic relationships that Rubens pursued throughout his life. Many connections that were fundamental for his career, originated in Rubens' Italian period: for example, his relationship with Scipione Borghese and Cardinal Montalto; his connection with the Carmelitan fathers; or his contacts with cardinal Guidi di Bagni, apostolic legate in Flanders, as well as other political connections in Europe.

These are but some of the many subjects that could be explored during the symposium at the Academia Belgica.

The Call for Papers is addressed to all Rubens scholars willing to contribute to a better understanding of the importance of the artist’s eight-year stay in Italy, from a historical, iconological or stylistic-critical point of view. Contributions (of max. 30 min.) are accepted in Italian and in English, and will be published afterwards.

The organization cannot cover any travel or residence costs.

Proposals, in the form of an abstract with title (max. 500 words), and Curricula Vitae et Studiorum should be sent by 10 June 2018 to the following address:

Raffaella Morselli (Vice-Rector of the Faculty of Communication Sciences and professor in ordinary at the Department of Art History – Modern Art – University of Teramo)
Anna Lo Bianco (curator of the exhibition “Rubens and the Birth of Baroque”, Milan-Tokyo 2016-2018)
Véronique van de Kerckhof (director of the Rubenianum of Antwerp)
Luc Duerloo (professor in ordinary at the Department of History – University of Antwerp)

Cecilia Paolini (“Sapienza” University of Rome)

CFP: Rubens and Italian Culture: 1600-1608 (Rome, 17 Dec 18). In:, May 19, 2018 (accessed Aug 23, 2019), <>.

Contributor: Cecilia Paolini

Contribution published: May 19, 2018

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