CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Call for papers: Imaging Utopia. New Perspectives on Northern Renaissance Art (Leuven 11-13 January 2017)

Information from the organizers, 13 January 2016

The twentieth symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting will be held in Leuven in the context of the major exhibition In Search of Utopia.

The conference will focus on sixteenth-century Northern art, with special emphasis on painting, sculpture, manuscripts and mixed media, from a variety of approaches. We have extended the original, more technical scope of the symposium to include art historical and iconological perspectives as to reveal the multifarious nature of the sixteenth century. After successful editions on Rogier van der Weyden and Jan van Eyck among others, this symposium will focus on the period in-between the ‘Flemish Primitives’ and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The latter will be the topic of the XXIst edition hosted by KIK-IRPA (Brussels) in 2018.

The aim of the conference is to consider how new imaging and analytical techniques can contribute to a better understanding of the arts during this highly dynamic period.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

1. New perspectives on technical art history and the Northern Renaissance

  • New imaging and analytical tools and techniques applied on Northern Renaissance art
  • The challenges of exploring, preserving and imaging sixteenth-century mixed media, with special emphasis on the Enclosed Gardens
  • Visual Digital Humanities and Northern Renaissance art

2. New perspectives on Utopian thinking and the art of the Northern Renaissance

  • Major intellectual, scientific and religious shifts in the sixteenth century and their repercussions on visual culture and society
  • The (re)creation of earthly and heavenly paradises in Northern Renaissance art
  • The search for ‘untouched’ places in the New World
  • Critical evaluations of representations of the ‘other’ and the ‘unknown’ in the visual arts
  • Visual antitypes of Utopian artistic expressions

We welcome 20-minute papers that engage with these varied, but interconnected topics of research and, equally important, explore recent technological research methods, fresh methodologies and theoretical frameworks. We wish to encourage an integrated approach of technical art history, art history and iconology. The official language of the conference is English. Proposals of no more than 300 words and a brief CV should be submitted to before Friday, April 1, 2016.

For more information, please visit the conference website: