Bad Reception: Expressing Disapproval of Art in Early Modern Italy
Organized by Diletta Gamberini (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), Jonathan K. Nelson (Syracuse University Florence), Alessandro Nova (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz)
Histories of Italian art and literature from the Early Modern period rarely address the widespread phenomenon of negative responses to modern works of art and architecture. This "bad reception" appears in a wide range of written sources, including artistic treatises, letters, poetry, biographies, and archival documents. Until now, the few studies of this topic have focused on individual case histories, or else on the specific inflections of censure in codified literary writings, such as vituperative poems on art. This workshop seeks to advance the current state of scholarship by exploring the intersections of different genres of texts that were used to express disapproval of paintings, sculptures, and architecture, and by seeing the impact these discourses had on the afterlife of the art under discussion. Rather than presenting new examples of bad reception, participants will consider how different cases point to broader thematic patterns that help provide a framework for future research. Topics include the evolution of linguistic conventions used for criticizing works of art, the aspects of art most often cited by critics, and the consequences of the negative evaluations for the artistic product itself or for its author.