RSA 2018 - Beyond Surface: Interrogating the Early Modern Wall and Page

deadline for submissions: 
June 2, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Lisa Andersen, University of British Columbia
contact email: 

RSA 2018 - New Orleans

Beyond Surface: Interrogating the Early Modern Wall and Page

In this panel, we seek to explore early modern sites that were frequently shaped by the combination, juxtaposition, and overlapping of diverse media and forms: the wall and the page. Both sites—defined variously as surfaces, supports, fields, and screens—facilitated as well as encouraged acts of assemblage, innovation, and collaboration. Walls could feature topographical views framed by grotesque ornament; trompe l’oeil frescoes could share a surface with stucco relief; mosaics could abut painted panels representing mythological figures and courtly scenes. Pages—as folios in manuscripts, leaves in printed publications, or independent miniatures, maps, and broadsheets—would often bring together pictorial and textual elements from a range of sources, disciplines, and genres. Both the wall and the page played a crucial role in the (re)emergence of certain artistic forms in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, such as the grotesque, landscape painting, nature study, and still life.  Despite the many similarities and affinities between the wall and the page, they also diverge in numerous ways. While the wall is characterized by permanence, singularity, and immobility, the page verges toward ephemerality, multiplicity, and mobility.

We invite papers that take up the early modern wall or page, as well as studies that explore intersections between the two. Papers might address one of the following themes:

  • The capacity of the wall/page to assemble or gather multiple forms or media
  • The role of the wall/page in early modern collecting
  • The role of the wall/page in the development of early modern genres
  • The ways in which the wall/page invited or facilitated collaboration
  • The modes of viewing solicited by the wall/page
  • The temporal dimension of engaging with the wall/page
  • The remediation of forms from wall to page or from page to wall
  • The characterization of the wall/page as a support, surface, and/or field
  • The intersections between wall and page – architectural drawings or prints, wallpaper, etc.
  • Issues of dimensionality or planarity in relation to the wall/page
  • Issues of materiality – paper, parchment, plaster, stone, etc.

Please send the title of your paper, an abstract (150 words or less), and a brief CV (300 words or less) by June 2, 2017 to:

Joan Boychuk:

Lisa Andersen: