Call for Papers: ‘Portraiture and Biography’
An international conference sponsored jointly by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the National Portrait Gallery, London 29-30 November 2018
Deadline for submissions: 1 February 2018
Biography has always haunted the study of portraiture. Although in recent decades art-historians may have developed a healthy skepticism for the intuitive practice of interpreting portraits with straightforward reference to what is known about the lives of their subjects, the temptation to do so remains strong. Moreover, such is the art-form’s seductive power that even nowadays scholars can still struggle to resist the allure of reading the image of a face as the index of character or mind, and as a corollary, of gauging a portraitist’s mastery in terms of his or her ability to plumb the depths of a sitter’s psyche.
With the aim of generating a lively and thought-provoking discussion, the conference convenors welcome papers that consider portraiture’s fraught relationship with biography without restrictions of time or place, and from the vantage-point of a wide range of disciplines; some of the most interesting recent art-historical work has drawn upon anthropology, microhistory, and material culture studies, for example, though their ambition is to include contributions from across the broadest possible methodological spectrum. Although the convenors would welcome case studies dealing with particular artists or sitters, each proposal should supply clear evidence of a commitment to open up broader questions pertinent to the conference’s overarching theme.
Full details of the conference and call for papers here >>