Collections and Collecting Practices as Sites of Transformation, Adaptation and Exchange (deadline for submission: July 8, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Pacific Northwest Renaissance Society Conference (Oct.18-22, 2012. Abbotsford, BC, Canada)

This panel interrogates the ways in which the production, circulation, and dissemination of art, objects, and knowledge were mediated by processes of translation and transmission within early modern Europe. We invite papers that consider the ways in which these processes defined the collecting practices of courtly patrons and other collectors, such as merchants, physicians, antiquarians, alchemists, and natural historians. Within this context, translation (as a creative act of adaptation, transformation, and reinterpretation) could function to facilitate the transfer of discoveries—both artistic and epistemological. For example, the gift of a pietre dura tabletop sent to Prague from Florence not only became the centerpiece of the Emperor's collection, but also initiated the development of a uniquely Bohemian approach to the practice of inlaying stone. Concurrently, acts of transmission served to reinforce the dynamic network of individuals and institutions tied to one another through the sharing of pictorial, textual, and experiential information. One such example is the exchange of visual knowledge (e.g. zoological and botanical studies) among naturalists, which in many cases led to the publication, dissemination and collection of printed natural histories.

We seek papers that consider any of the following:

• The transmission of knowledge and artistic practices through gift giving/exchange.

• The transmission of visual knowledge between princely collections, or Kunstkammern, and the collections of professional individuals (e.g. merchants, physicians, antiquarians, alchemists, natural historians, etc.).

• The exchange or circulation of art, objects, and knowledge among collectors/collections that resulted in acts of transformation and/or reinterpretation.

• The role of discovery – of new and ancient practices, materials, and modes of thought – in the translation of artistic practices and collected objects at courtly centres.

• Variation in the reception of visual/artistic practices at different courts or among individual patrons.

• Papers that intersect with the theme in other ways are also welcome.

Please send an abstract of 250 words and a CV to both panel chairs no later than July 8th 2012.

Panel chairs: Joan Boychuk ( and Ivana Horacek (