21-24 mars 2013, Venise : Making Space for Festival, 1400-1700. Interactions of Architecture and Performance in Late Medieval and Early Modern Festivals
Colloque international organisé par Ronnie Mulryne and Krista De Jonge.
The conference will consider how princely and civic architecture of the period, together
with ephemeral architecture constructed for the occasion, have contributed to the
implied meaning of a diverse series of festivals across Europe between approximately
1400 and 1700. Scholars have interpreted festivals as temporarily transformative,
through visual and dramatic agency, of the political and social significance of great
houses and palaces. They have argued further that perceptions of a city’s built
environment and princely houses were subject to idealising transformation as a result of ephemeral structures and performed actions during the occasion itself, and
subsequently by means of festival books and other records.
Festivals were notable occasions of social and political exchange affecting a city’s
reputation, and the political and cultural relations of its sponsoring authorities. These
matters were addressed through drawing together opinion formers, including princes
and ambassadors of nations and city states, as well as visitors, from across a wide and diverse range of European localities.
Much work of a comparative and analytical nature remains to be done in assessing
the impact of individual festivals, as well as the broad phenomenon of festival’s
significance in the transnational environment, following on from pioneering studies by
Jean Jacquot and his colleagues in the 1960s and 70s, furthered by subsequent
Drawing on the combined resources of PALATIUM and the Society for European
Festivals Research, the conference will bring together leading experts in the
interpretation of architectural and visual history with scholars versed in the history of
festivals and their political, social, dramatic and artistic significance. It will thus provide opportunities for fruitful exchange between colleagues, and point the way to future.