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CFP: Art and Artists in the Republic of Letters (Tel Aviv, 30-31 Dec 18)

Art and Artists in the Republic of Letters

An International Graduate and Young Scholars Conference
in memory of Yolanda de Man

Keynote speaker:
Prof. Pamela Smith, Columbia University
Seth Low Professor of History, director of the Center for Science and Society, founding director of the Making and Knowing Project, founding director of the Center for Science and Society, and chair of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience.

With the rising of Renaissance Art and Culture, scholarly communities all around Europe assumed the name respublica litteraria—the Republic of Letters. Its citizens produced new literary genres, such as Utopia and Emblem books, as well as numerous Medical, Nature and Science books, where art and artists collaborated to offer a new visual form. This connection, between erudite and artists, was articulated by Noël d’Argonne, one of its citizens, who wrote in 1699: “The arts are joined to letters, and artisans also have their place in it [the Republic of Letters].”

This conference seeks to explore the citizenship of artists in this ‘strange imaginary land’ (Grafton, 2009): What was the artists’ and art’s position in the Republic of Letters? Were they ‘naturalized citizens’ as Alberti had hoped? Was art, whose craft-tools are the brush, the chisel and the construction bar, an active participant in its enterprises? Or were the artists and their work only secondary and used merely to illustrate the texts, which the ‘autochthonous’ citizens produced?

We invite papers from graduate students and young scholars from all art and humanities disciplines that consider diverse conceptualization of the relations between Art and Letters and the position of Art within the Republic of Letters, as well as the varied ways and case studies in which art and artists collaborated, influenced and were influenced by scholars, scientists and collectors. Although the conference focuses on the Early Modern period, we also welcome papers that examine preceding or posterior manifestations of these relations.

Topics for papers could include, but are not limited to:
- Emblems
- Ekphrasis
- Kunstkammer and Wunderkammer
- Utopia
- Art and Science
- Art Academies
- The Republic of Letters and the Promotion of Art and Artists
- Network Topology
- Women Artists and Scholars
- Perspective/Camera Obscura

All submissions are invited by June 30, 2018 and should be sent to:

All submissions should include:
Abstract – must be in English and should be limited to 300 words.
Please head your abstract with your name, university affiliation and position, and the paper’s title.
A one‐page curriculum vitae
E‐mail address for correspondence.

All presentations are to be in English and limited to 20 minutes, followed by discussion.

All applicants will be notified whether accepted or declined by July 30, 2018.

Travel and Accommodation: Applicants should take under consideration that we are not able to cover travel expenses (we may be able to offer a limited amount of travel stipendium). However, participants coming from abroad, should they desire to do so, will be hosted by their Israeli student peers.

For more information or any further inquiries please contact us by email:

Conference Chair:
Dr. Tamar Cholcman

Tamar Abramson
Orly Amit
Hila Kohaner
Alexandra Dvorkin
Yael Barash


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