Conference - Beguiling Structures (2014)

The National Gallery, London, 19 September 2014

Conference poster: Beguiling Structures,National Gallery 2014

Conference poster showing 'The Purification of the Temple' by Marcello Venusti, after 1550, oil on wood, 61 x 40 cm' © The National Gallery, London

Three post-graduates from the University of York, James JagoAlasdair Flint and Livia Lupi convened a post-graduate conference entitled 'Beguiling Structures' at the National Gallery on 19 September 2014, with doctoral and post-doctoral speakers from universities in London, York, Rome, Lausanne, Paris and Tours. The conference was conceived to complement The National Gallery’s exhibition Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting, with the purpose of looking afresh at the place of architecture within European painting and to reassess established interpretations.

In Book 2 of his De Pictura, Leon Battista Alberti made his famous claim of the indebtedness of architects to the creativity of painters. His words draw attention to the close relationship between illusionistic representations of architecture and its actual three-dimensional forms.  The conference explored this relationship in all its multifaceted complexity: Why were buildings included in pictorial representations? What is their purpose and what do they do for the picture? Through answers to these and other questions, the conference sought to uncover a far more complex interchange between painting and architecture than Alberti’s straightforward assertion would suggest.

Speakers were:

Alice Delage (Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France): ‘Architecture in Cassoni Panels: Identification, Role & Function’

Chloé Demonet (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France): ‘From Survey to Pictorial Drawing: The Fantastic Antiquities of Giuliano da Sangallo’

Irene Di Bernardino (Sapienza – Università di Roma, Italy): ‘The Measure of the Ideal: The Painted Architecture of Ideal Cities’

Claudia Gaggetta (Université de Genève, Switzerland): ‘Visionary Urban Agglomerations in Bramatino’s Religious Paintings’

Samantha Heringuez (Centre D’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours, France): ‘Structuring Pictorial Space through Ancient & Renaissance Architecture: Processes used by Flemish Painters during the First-Third of the Sixteenth Century’.

James Hillson (University of York): ‘Architecture within Architecture: Re-examining the ‘Italianate Question’ in the Murals of Saint Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster’

Joost Joustra (Courtauld Institute of Art, London): ‘The Sacra Conversazione Reconsidered: Visual Unity & Division in the Pala Quadrata’

Livia Lupi (University of York): ‘Inhabitable & Uninhabitable Places: Altichiero’s Apertures in the Oratory of Saint George, Padua’

Read the conference abstracts: Beguiling Structures - Conference Abstracts.

View the conference programme: Beguiling Structures - Conference Programme.

The conference was supported by Professor Amanda Lillie's AHRC fellowship.

Main image: Illustration showing vanishing point from De Pictura by Leon Battista Alberti, 1435; public domain

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