The workshop's aim was to discuss and critically analyze contemporary approaches to Italian studies. Young academics from various fields, most notably history and art history, presented and discussed their research efforts. Interdisciplinarity is essential, as Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel) pointed out in her introduction, and visual studies have grown entangled with art and history.
Opening the first panel on visual media, LOUISA McKENZIE (London) focused on San Giovanni Gualberto Enthroned, a commission from Florence's Abbey of San Pancrazio. She stressed the importance of seeing iconography as a genealogical record of the Vallombrosan order since there is enough evidence that San Pancrazio's self-representation changed with the adoption of genealogical imagery. Antoninus, the Archbishop of Florence, temporarily took over the compromise leadership. The whole order was thus under his strict observation, so he had to be familiar with the main genealogical motives in his Dominican order. Additionally, it showed that Toschi's commitment and fidelity to the new Vallombrosian organization were crucial, as it belonged to San Pancrazio and could prevent a split in its ranks.
LENA MARSCHALL (Hamburg) then spoke about preacher family trees as a visual approach for establishing a tradition connected to their transalpine thematic beginnings. Thus, she said that one of the primary goals of self-representation of spiritual groups is to picture convention. Interestingly, from the Quattrocento, genealogy systems have played a key role. The Trecento's Alberi Francescani may have served as a model for Bonaventure's Order Tree, as did Jesse's root structure. The tree diagram visually depicts tradition and permanence employed in religious and secular contexts. Early religious trees are genealogical to explain the group's political (ecclesiastical and social) and salvific position.
NILS JONAS WEBER (Heidelberg) studied the transformation of social festive culture in Venice between the late 16th and early 17th centuries, demonstrating how war together with plague drastically altered it. After 1570, the topos of social disgrace, as expressed in new ecclesiastical demands, supplanted the figure of penitence in painting. Veronese's paintings exemplify and show the evolution of associated sin combined with increasing remorse. He depicts scenically via simultaneity, which Quattrocento regarded as a failure and frequently mocked. Regrettably, the excessive focus on Venice limits a study of links between, for instance, the Flemings. They established the simultaneity narrative figuring out whether a change in style occurred solely due to plague or through cultural contact.
In the second panel abour fluid boundaries and transcultural connections. ELENA VANELLI (Kassel/Hamburg) emphasized the necessity of space for reform and institutionalization of female religion in the High Middle Ages. Space was critical in this setting for spiritual sustenance, religious activity, and the women’s group’s institution. As a result, Vanelli opted to study the complex nature of female spirituality in Cremona via the lens of the nun Lucia de Bezanis. Her career exemplified the degree to which individualism and religion were inextricably linked, and moreover highlighted ambiguous borders between religious and geographical distribution. The municipal setting of the Cistercian sisters of San Cristoforo's entry and departure also drew tremendous attention. Here, the emphasis was undoubtedly more on the network than on physical space.
RICHARD KNORR (Heidelberg) continued the Italy tour with an examination of the medieval Republic of Genoa and its trading cities, which, beginning in the 11th century, constituted one of the largest concentrations of trade and shipping in the entire Mediterranean region, second only to Venice. The lecture shed light on Genoa's relations with the Egyptian Mamluk Sultanatem showing how Genoese began trading in Egypt before the first Crusades in the late 11th century when the region was already a major Islamic center of economic growth and military strength. The provided history is mainly based on trip records, crusade treaties, historiography, focusing on information and conceptions of Other (Mamluk/Arabo-Muslims through Genoa). A compelling case could demonstrate that these were not singularities but rather diverse, pluralistic reactions of Genoese community members to the Mamluk Empire and vice versa.
Increasing intertwining of art and history through image studies became apparent in the questions posed by the following four speakers, who made up the section about space. VALENTINA BALZAROTTI (Rome) examined four panels from San Giovanni Evangelista library in Parma that show Old Testament events such as the Temple of Jerusalem, Noah's Ark, and Jerusalem iconography. As a monastic library, the vaults of the room display grotesques and inscriptions in different languages (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac), which shows that lockers serve both aesthetic and educational purposes. Two notarial records were referred to confirm the identity of the artists – Antonio Paganino and Ercole Pio – the date of completion (1574–1575). While the 1572 Bible sacra Hebraice Chaldaice version may have impacted the vault’s design, such a conclusion is not sufficiently cohesive and needs additional investigation.
Throughout antiquity, cartographic staging of islands aided in control of marine regions for strategic, economic, and military goals, as BEATRICE BLÜMER (Kassel) stated. Cristoforo Buondelmonti, a Florentine scholar, converted his autoptic observations into maps and descriptions, tying them to the Aegean Sea in ways above in his book “Isolarii”. His work, which includes over 80 maps, dates to around 1418 and has survived at least 75 copies. Blümer selected six instances from this bounty and delivered them in the form of a text-image comparison. The presentation focuses on the style of representation in the work's surviving copies, with instances that vary in terms of informative content and origin. There are both descriptive and visual differences, demonstrating that the political component of maps is essential, but not only. As a result, it became clear how strong the tension between word and image is, with representations of changing understanding of lordly appropriation.
MALENA ROTTER (Frankfurt am Main / Kassel) delivered an enlightening presentation on the topic of the sky in Italian art from the Middle Ages to the early modern era. A series of paintings followed that demonstrated the artists’ ability to see and interpret the sky in several ways. “The Dream of Jerome” by Sano di Pietro, “Paradise” by Nardo di Cione and the “Coronation of the Virgin” by Fra Angelico are among the masterpieces on display that illuminate the spectrum of conceivable representations of heavenly spheres. These efforts enable visual discrimination and association with associated representations' optical properties. Relying on them, it is possible to classify and categorize works, assigning specific functions to them. Additionally, to assist the retrieval and indexing of these works of art, it is conceivable to develop an “annalistic tool” using these bits of information. Therefore, an overall comparison narrative arises, aiding incomprehension of how the supernatural shows itself throughout this time of change.
YASMIN FROMMONT (Heidelberg) focused on relationships between urban funerary architecture and religious architecture. She depicted the Santa Maria degli Angli e dei Martiri complex in Rome as a papal edifice experiencing a power-political staging similar to the Vatican’s. While looking at urban space in terms of social, religious, and formal institutions, Frommont demonstrated that a relational view on space may help minimize the scope of investigation. According to her, using a relational perspective on space allows for building a picture of the papal exercise of power and tactics, which includes whether art, namely architecture, served as an activator of urban space-making processes, among other questions.
The last segment of the conference was about a topic that is often a well-established point in science: papal and imperial history. This is a significant difference from the last content aspects. However, the proverb “old is gold” applied here, as following speakers injected new life into an established subject by posing novel and original questions about pictures. FELIX TIMMER (Münster) started by taking a fresh look at Arengen's history, asking for its present-day relevance. His elaboration focused on two levels, abstract and concrete. Three examples of Roman-German Empire royal and episcopal document studies are based on this methodological elaboration: the betrayal of the Archbishop of Mainz, Adelberg, in 1112, the Court Day of Liège in spring 1131, and the Second Crusade from 1147 to 1149. Timmer proposed a distinction between innovative and conservative regions as categories for comparing arena usage in Germany and imperial Italy. He emphasized an award that cannot simply be divided into dichotomous categories that crystallize through complex and reciprocal relationships of documentary language.
JOEL AMOS HÜSEMANN (Marburg) analyzed papal authority from the perspective of Elizabeth I's curia politics in 16th century (1558–1603). The venerable English College in Rome underwent a study in the context of the Jesuit mission of the early 1580s, with particular attention to the portrayal of papal authority in the frescoes displayed there. Against this background, the origins of the pope and his rule and the Roman-English entanglements present themselves vividly. Hüsemann focused on the linkages between Catholic rulers, English Catholics, and English officials in the English Curia. By focusing on a single objective, the comparative study of European political languages, it was possible to efficiently trace the pope's communication with his authority as head of the Church.
STEPHAN PONGRATZ (München) dealt with the agreement between Alexander III and his rivals in the Venice Peace Treaty of 1177, which was ratified by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and subsequently ratified by the Holy Roman Emperor. It is the subject of a debate between winners and losers on this crucial issue. The symbolic significance of this event and its impact on international politics and policy made up the issue of this paper. Alexander was willing to take many casualties despite his victories and illustrious military-political position. The investigation of negotiation techniques yields unexpected results, shedding new light on the situation of the Curia during the middle of the 1170s.
As a consequence of their different scientific background, experiences, and viewpoints, the attendees were able to engage in a lively virtual dialogue about the topic material and methodology. The workshop reaffirmed the importance and necessity of interdisciplinarity in Italian Studies, which had profited from prior workshops that allowed for thinking outside the constraints of the built framework. Maintaining an interdisciplinary and international network will be critical in the future, as well as establishing and deepening contacts between doctoral students from diverse disciplines, defining the contours of Italian Studies in an international context and arriving at novel perspectives and ways of thinking. The consensus was unanimous in favor of continuing in this format, and we are all looking forward to the 5th Workshop on New Tendencies in Italian Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Tanja Michalsky (Rome), Martin Baumeister (Rome): Welcome
Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel): Introduction
Session I: Visual Media – Functions and Contexts
Chair: Alessandro Nova (Florenz / Frankfurt am Main)
Gerhard Wolf (Florenz-Berlin)
Louisa McKenzie (London): Schism, Obedience and Genealogy in Neri di Bicci's: San Giovanni Gualberto Enthroned
Lena Marschall (Hamburg): Juan de Torquemadas Albero Domenicano. Genealogische Bildkonzepte in der Selbstdarstellung des Predigerordens
Nils Jonas Weber (Heidelberg) "... il fuocho et la guerra et al presente la peste". Krisen und ihre Nachwirkungen im Spätwerk von Paolo Veronese
Session II: Fluid Boundaries and Transcultural Interconnections
Chair: Christoph Dartmann (Hamburg), Kordula Wolf (Rom)
Elena Vanelli (Hamburg-Kassel): Fluide Grenzen. Raum als Faktor in Reformprozessen des weiblichen Religiosentums im Hochmittelalter
Richard Knorr (Heidelberg): Genoese-Mamluk Relations during the Bahri Dynasty (1260–1382). The Case of Genoese Border-Crossers
Section III: Representations of Space, Spaces of Knowledge, Concepts of Space
Chair: Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel), Tanja Michalsky (Rome)
Valentina Balzarotti (Rome): Lo spazio del sapere, il sapere dello spazio. La decorazione della biblioteca del monastero San Giovanni Evangelista a Parma
Beatrice Blümer (Kassel-Florenz): "Cum portu tutissimo a ianuensibus sublimatur". Die Insel Chios im Liber insularum Archipelagi des Cristoforo Buondelmonti
Malena Rotter (Frankfurt am Main-Kassel): Unsichtbares sichtbar machen. Zur Darstellung des überirdischen Raumes in der frühitalienischen Malerei
Yasmin Frommont (Heidelberg): Im Wechselspiel von Skulptur, Architektur und Stadt. Relationale Stadtraumkonzepte unter Papst Pius IV. für Bologna und Rom
Section IV: Papal and Imperial History
Chair: Klaus Herbers (Erlangen-Nürnberg)
Felix Timmer (Münster): Ordnungskonfigurationen des römisch-deutschen Reiches im Spiegel der zeitgenössischen Urkundenarengen (1106–1152)
Joel Amos Hüsemann (Marburg): Päpstliche Autorität im Kontext kurialer Englandpolitik zur Zeit Elisabeths I.
Stephan Pongratz (München): Frieden um jeden Preis? Zum Agieren Papst Alexanders III. in den Verhandlungen mit Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossa (1175–1177)