Category Archives: Art and Visual Studies

New series: Image, Text and Culture in Classical Antiquity – Call for proposals

We are currently seeking book proposals for a new series Image, Text and Culture in Classical Antiquity edited by Michael Squire, King’s College, London

Since the Renaissance – and arguably much earlier – European culture has looked to the Classical world for inspiration and enlightenment, and measured its own achievements by the standards of the classical world.

In order to better comprehend this culture, both on its own terms and in light of subsequent generations, this new series provides an innovative and interdisciplinary forum for original research into the arts, literature and cultural history of the Classical World. Attuned to the ways in which different cultural forms mediate different understandings of the Classical past, the series explores both the problems and opportunities of reconstructing classical culture from its surviving archaeological and literary traces. By crossing traditional disciplinary and subdisciplinary boundaries within and beyond the field of Classics, and drawing on approaches developed outside its historicist parameters, the series engages a broad readership from a range of academic perspectives.

As the series title suggests, one defining interest is the intersection (no less than divergence) between Classical visual and verbal media. In what ways do images and texts construct different records of the past, and how did ancient artists and writers themselves theorise the relations between the readable and the visible? Drawing on recent comparative literary and visual cultural studies, the series explores how interdisciplinary approaches can illuminate different aspects of ancient cultural and intellectual history, whilst also showing how Classical materials can in turn nuance more modern theories of visual and verbal mediation.

The Classical world offers a unique opportunity for such study, not only due to its influence on subsequent western literary and artistic traditions, but also because its art is matched only by the sophistication of contemporary written and inscribed texts (and vice versa). The simultaneously collaborating and competing relationships between different media raise broader questions about both historical method and the history of western reading and seeing.

Publishing monographs concerned with all periods of Classical and Graeco-Roman history, from Archaic Greece all the way through to late antiquity, the series is particularly interested in projects structured according to theme, medium or methodological problem rather than chronological timeframe. By studying relations between different media, it offers new historical perspectives on the cultural contexts that gave rise to them; probing, interrogating and provoking scholarship across a wide range of academic disciplines.

For more information on how to submit a book proposal to the series, please contact Tom Gray, at tgray@ashgatepublishing.com.

Series Advisory Board:

Professor Jas’ Elsner, University of Oxford / University of Chicago

Professor Jonas Grethlein, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg

Professor François Lissarrague, l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris

Professor Katharina Lorenz, University of Nottingham

Professor Clemente Marconi, New York University

Professor Susanne Muth, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Professor Richard Neer, University of Chicago

Professor Verity Platt, Cornell University

Dr Jeremy Tanner, University College London

Professor Jennifer Trimble, Stanford

Professor Tim Whitmarsh, University of Oxford

Professor Froma Zeitlin, University of Princeton

Sharon Gregory’s ‘Vasari and the Renaissance Print’ highly commended by the 2014 SRS book prize judges

Vasari and the Renaissance PrintWe’re delighted to learn that Sharon Gregory’s book Vasari and the Renaissance Print was highly commended by the 2014 Society for Renaissance Studies book prize judges.

From the SRS website:

The 2014 SRS book prize was awarded to Alec Ryrie for his book, Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (OUP, 2013). Two other books were highly commended, Guido Alfani, Calamities and the Economy in Renaissance Italy: The Grand Tour of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, trans. Christine Calvert (Palgrave, 2013), and Sharon Gregory, Vasari and the Renaissance Print (Ashgate, 2012).

The judges were impressed by the high standard of the books entered for the prize and were extremely grateful to all the many publishers who sent in their books to the committee making the decision of choosing a winner extremely difficult.

Professor Gregory’s book was singled out by all three judges because of its comprehensive nature and painstaking research in making available for a wide readership all the prints associated with Giorgio Vasari, and for providing a fascinating commentary that explains why they were so central to his thinking and artistic practices. The book is the product of many years of serious scholarship and is exactly the sort of work that justifies what academics do in opening up the archive for others to understand and use and which makes being part of the profession a pleasure. The committee also wishes to congratulate the publishers for producing such high quality images.

Read the full announcement here

About the Author:  Sharon Gregory is Associate Professor in Art History and Erasmus Chair in Renaissance Humanism at St Francis Xavier University, Canada.

As well as being highly Commended for the SRS Book Prize, Vasari and the Renaissance Print also received honorable Mention for the IFPDA Book Award, 2013, and was designated as a US Core Title for 2012 by Yankee Book Peddler.

‘… an exemplary piece of scholarship, deeply considered and scrupulously documented, that will be of interest to curators and historians and literary scholars alike. The first focus here concerns the many uses Vasari made of the prints both for his own artistic production and then for the accounts of those artists included in his text The Lives whose work he knew from evidence such as this. But Gregory also lays out here a fascinating and carefully grounded account of the dissemination of visual materials in this first moment of printing and the ways prints could become a vital part of the larger culture. It is rare to find a study on these subjects that is so sure of its details yet manages also to move beyond them to offer original insights and conclusions.’   David Cast, Bryn Mawr College; author of The Delight of Art: Giorgio Vasari and the Traditions of Humanist Discourse

‘This well-researched and well-structured book examines a number of different aspects of its subject… This very welcome book opens up many perspectives beyond its immediate subject.’ The Burlington Magazine

‘… an ordinary reader with a passing knowledge of Italian Renaissance art will find much of interest in this new book… these essays form a clear, well-sourced analysis of the role of prints in the Renaissance artist’s studio.’   The Art Newspaper

‘This clearly written, well-researched, and intelligently structured book will remain a fundamental point of reference for all those interested in the history of printmaking as well as in Vasari’s fundamental contribution to art history.’   Renaissance Quarterly

‘[Gregory’s] very wide-ranging and clearly written text is a valuable source of evidence and ideas for anyone interested in theVite, or for the use of prints in Renaissance workshops.’   Print Quarterly

‘Throughout Vasari and the Renaissance Print the author displays an admirable depth of knowledge with fascinating statistics, such as … the history of prints, Vasari, Florentine history, and print culture in early modern Europe.’   Sixteenth Century Studies Journal

Full information about Vasari and the Renaissance Print

Lund Humphries, in association with Apollo, launches Emerging Art Writers Competition

Ashgate’s sister imprint, Art-book publisher Lund Humphries, is launching a competition in association with Apollo, the International Art Magazine, to find previously unpublished writers who are able to write seriously yet accessibly about art.

Part of Lund Humphries’ year-long 75th birthday celebrations, the Emerging Art Writers competition provides an opportunity for aspiring art writers to showcase their work to movers and shakers from the British art world. The judging panel comprises Lucy Myers, Managing Director of Lund Humphries; Simon Martin, Artistic Director of Pallant House Gallery in Chichester; Ian McKeever RA, acclaimed British painter and printmaker; and Thomas Marks, Editor of Apollo.

Lucy Myers explains: ‘Lund Humphries has a long reputation for producing beautiful art books with serious, well-researched and original texts which are relevant to both specialists and enthusiasts. We support writing which is analytical and thought-provoking, but free of critical theory. I very much hope that some fresh, interesting new voices will emerge through our competition.’

A similar sentiment is expressed by Thomas Marks, Editor of Apollo, who says, ‘Scholarly but accessible; intellectual but stylish; this is exactly the type of writing I’m trying to encourage in Apollo – so I’m very sympathetic to the ethos of the competition.’

Entrants are asked to produce an essay of between 1,500 and 2,500 words which answers the question: What, if anything, is the legacy of British Modernism in British art today? For more information, including full terms and conditions, potential entrants are invited to visit www.lundhumphries.com/emergingartwriters

The deadline for entries is 5 pm on 1 September 2014 and the winner will be announced on 26 November 2014, at Lund Humphries’ flagship 75th birthday event at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The winner will receive two VIP tickets to the ICA event, and Apollo plan to publish the winning essay in the January 2015 issue of the magazine. The winner will also win £75 worth of Lund Humphries art books and have the opportunity to meet with a member of the Lund Humphries commissioning team to discuss future book projects.

‘How to Rival the Old Masters’ … by David Mayernik

Posted by Fiona Dunford, Marketing Executive

How to Rival the Old Masters’ …

… is the title of David Mayernik’s fascinating guest blog post for Artist Daily.

In the first of his planned series of posts the concept of emulation is explained, including the materials employed. Follow this link to Artist Daily

David Mayernik is a practising artist and architect, and an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, USA. His book The Challenge of Emulation in Art and Architecture was published by Ashgate in November 2013.

Richard Woodfield, guest blogger and series editor, introduces our new series—Studies in Art Historiography

Ashgate is the first publishing house to focus specifically on the field of art historiography through its series Studies in Art Historiography. Alois Riegl in Vienna

The first book to appear in the series is Diana Reynolds Cordileone’s Alois Riegl in Vienna 1875–1905: An Institutional Biography, which looks at how Riegl’s art historical work was shaped by factors outside of the academic milieu. Riegl was originally a museum curator before becoming a member of the University of Vienna’s prestigious Institute of Art History and in both jobs he was an imperial employee. In his museum work he strove to meet the demands of Austria’s growing textile industry and also expressed views on state policy regarding conservation. In his university lectures Riegl emphasised the importance of a truly scientific approach to art history in opposition to the popular taste for dilettantism and belles lettres. Throughout his work he was concerned with the importance of art for life, generated by his encounter with the ideas of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche in a German-national student club, Leseverein  der deutschen Studenten Wiens.

The series is concerned with art history as a living practice written by individuals and subject to the more general demands of institutional structures. In this respect it is distinct from traditional approaches that centre on the theories of major art historical figures, the staple diet of student textbooks. It seeks to reinvigorate the field by paying close attention to the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of art historical writing and is intended to supplement the work of the Journal of Art Historiography, which has been described by the online Dictionary of Art Historians as ‘the major research organ of the field’.

Two more books are scheduled for publication in 2014: Victorian Perceptions of Renaissance Architecture by Katherine Wheeler, in April, and A Theory of the Tache in Nineteenth-Century Painting by Øystein Sjåstad, in December. Further down the line are The Expressionist Turn in Art History – A Critical Anthology edited by Kim Smith, in early 2015 and Mariette and the Eighteenth-Century Science of the Connoisseur by Kristel Smentek in Winter 2015. Others are being considered for contract and yet more are waiting clearance review. Guidance for potential authors is given at the Journal’s website, which should be browsed for a sense of the difference between ‘art historiography’ and ‘art history’.

Any enquiries concerning the series’ scope should be addressed to its General Editor, Richard Woodfield.

Vasari and the Renaissance Print – IFPDA Honourable Mention for Sharon Gregory

Posted by Bethany Whalley, Marketing Executive

Vasari and the Renaissance PrintOver 500 years since the birth of the Italian painter, writer, historian and architect Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), Ashgate is delighted to congratulate author Sharon Gregory, who has received an Honourable Mention from the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA Book Award 2013) for her book Vasari and the Renaissance Print.

The book was commended by jurors for ‘the unprecedented amount of scholarship devoted to covering this fascinating subject.’ Gregory’s subject comprises Vasari’s interest in the value of engravings and woodblock prints, revealing changing attitudes to – and within – the art industry in the sixteenth-century Italian Renaissance. Vasari capitalised on the burgeoning printmaking industry, understanding the power of the printed image to educate the artist and – perhaps more importantly for Vasari – attract the eye of the wealthy and influential patron.

Reviews:

‘… an exemplary piece of scholarship, deeply considered and scrupulously documented, that will be of interest to curators and historians and literary scholars alike … It is rare to find a study on these subjects that is so sure of its details yet manages also to move beyond them to offer original insights and conclusions.’   David Cast, Bryn Mawr College; author of The Delight of Art: Giorgio Vasari and the Traditions of Humanist Discourse

‘This clearly written, well-researched, and intelligently structured book will remain a fundamental point of reference for all those interested in the history of printmaking as well as in Vasari’s fundamental contribution to art history.’ Renaissance Quarterly

About the author: Sharon Gregory is Associate Professor in Art History and Erasmus Chair in Renaissance Humanism at St Francis Xavier University, Canada.

Isabella d’Este and Leonardo da Vinci – Sarah Cockram talks about her new book and its relationship with an exciting recent discovery in Renaissance art

This is a guest post from Sarah Cockram, author of Isabella d’Este and Francesco Gonzaga: Power Sharing at the Italian Renaissance Court

Isabella deste and francesco gonzagaMy book Isabella d’Este and Francesco Gonzaga: Power Sharing at the Italian Renaissance Court has come out just in time for those wanting to know more about the subject of a new painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.  The portrait of Isabella d’Este (marchesa of Mantua, 1474–1539) has just been discovered in a Swiss bank vault, in a story that would not be out of place in a Dan Brown novel.

A sketch of the Italian Renaissance noblewoman by Leonardo da Vinci is well known and can be seen in the Louvre but it was
believed that, despite Isabella’s wishes, the sketch was never worked up into a painted portrait. The new painting, claimed to be by Leonardo and his assistants (although, if so, unusual in being on canvas rather than wood),
shows Isabella as an enigmatic figure, and comparisons are already being drawn to the Mona Lisa.

Isabella would certainly have enjoyed the controversy and being linked to the famous artist. Isabella strove to be recognised as the foremost woman of her times.  Renowned today as the leading female patron of art in Renaissance Italy, Isabella was also an eminent supporter of music and literature; a trendsetter and fashion icon; and a sharp politician.

As my new book shows, the marchesa worked together with her husband Francesco Gonzaga to keep their state afloat in a turbulent age, and she was not above intrigue and double dealing.  She held her own against the Borgias and has aptly been described as ‘Machiavelli in skirts’.

Sarah CockramSarah D.P. Cockram is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Her book casts new light on a long misunderstood relationship and, drawing on largely unpublished archival material, reveals a world of behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity; network-building; sexual politics and seduction; court rivalries; Machiavellian intrigues and assassinations.