CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rubens and the Thirty Years War: Dynastic Politics, Diplomacy and the Arts, c. 1618-1635

Research Conference: 10 May - 11 May 2012

From a mailing by the Historians of Netherlandish Art (HNA)

Main academic organizer:

Malcolm Smuts (Massachusetts/Boston, History, North American coordinator for the Society for Court Studies)

Team of advisors:

Luc Duerloo (Antwerp, History)
Katlijne van der Stighelen (Leuven, Art History)
Hans Cools (Leuven, History)
Nicola Courtright (Amherst, Art History)
Larry Silver (Pennsylvania, Art History)
Erin Griffey (Auckland, Art History)
Anna Knaap (Boston, Art History)

For more information about the conference please contact: Malcolm Smuts (

Using the career of Peter Paul Rubens as an organizing thread, this conference will examine the complex relationships between diplomacy, dynastic politics and the visual arts during the early part of the Thirty Years War. What role did exchanges of art and artists play in the diplomacy of this period? How did these exchanges contribute to the development of international formulas for the visual representation of power and glory? To what extent had dynastic alliances and diplomacy created a shared visual language of power and authority throughout much of Europe, as opposed to distinctive national, dynastic or even personal formulas favored by particular patrons? What similarities and dissimilarities can we detect by comparing the relationship between high politics and the visual arts in different European courts? By addressing these and other related questions in a thoroughly interdisciplinary conference, we seek to illuminate not only Rubens’s own work but the interplay between international dynastic politics and the visual language of power more generally during a critical fifteen year period.

Papers will include:
Nicola Courtright (Amherst College), The Representation of the French-Spanish Marriage Alliance in the Medici Cycle
Jean-Francois Dubost (Paris-Est), Artistes étrangers à la cour de Marie de Médicis: des “arisans du gloire” pour la France?
Michael Auwers (Antwerp), The Gift of Rubens: Re-thinking the Concept of Gift-Giving in Early Modern Diplomacy
Erin Griffey (Auckland), Fashioning the New Stuart Consort: The politics of Henrietta Maria’s possessions and appearance, 1625-1632
Laura Olivan (Granada), The Fight for Representation: Isabel de Bourbon, the Count Duke of Olivares and the Diplomatic Uses of Art
Marika Keblusek (Leiden), Peter Paul Rubens and Balthazar Gerbier: Between Cultural and Political Brokerage
Toby Osborne (Durham), Diplomacy and Depiction: Abbate Scaglia and Sir Antony Van Dyck
Anthony Colantuono (University of Maryland), High Quality Copies and the Art of Diplomacy during the Thirty Years’ War
Raffaella Morselli (Teramo), Rubens and the Gonzaga’s Paintings
Jeremy Wood (Nottingham), Venetian Art and the Court of Charles I: The Roles of Rubens and Van Dyck
Larry Silver (University of Pennsylvania), Rubens to the King of Spain: The Mythological Cycle of the Torre de la Parada
Jeffrey Chipps Smith (University of Texas), Rubens, Bishop Veit-Adam von Gepeckh and the Freising High Altar, 1623-1625
Peter Davidson (Aberdeen), Spot the Jesuit: The Pompa Introitus and the Arch with the Mountains of Potosi