Call for Papers

The Sculptural Medium

Working Group for the Study of Medieval Sculpture (1100-1500)

Paris, 30-31 January 2012, Paris

Deadline: Jun 1, 2011

This call for papers concerns the first conference, which will take place in Paris. (Calls for the papers for the other two events will be sent throughout 2011/12, see details below.) In Paris our hosts will be the INHA, the Fondation Singer-Polignac, and the Musée du Louvre. The focus will be on the material aspects of sculpture, and the various methodological approaches developed for sculptural study. One particular axis will be the consideration of American and European traditions and methodologies.

Possible areas include:

  • close consideration of sculpture’s qualities and the markers or traces which lend themselves to appreciation (elements of carving style, manipulation of techniques)
  • markers or traces of the work’s provenance (analysis of the materials, style) and dating (methodologies, ideologies and stakes in dating)
  • methodological critique (historiography, l’archéologie du bâti, connoisseurship)
  • traces of use and function, consideration for sculpture in the round vs. relief; indication of installation (on a portal, as an altarpiece ensemble)

Please submit proposals to : Jean-Marie Guillouët (, Conseilleur scientifique, INHA
Jack Hinton (, Assoc. Curator of Decorative Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Robert A. Maxwell (, History of Art Dept., University of Pennsylvania

For more information see website (under construction):

Working Group for the Study of Medieval Sculpture (1100-1550): A Transatlantic Collaboration Philadelphia/Paris 2012

The University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Institut national d’histoire de l’art (Paris), and Philadelphia Museum of Art announce a series of conferences and museum study days organized over the course of 2012 to advance the study of medieval sculpture. These events – held in Paris (January 30-31), Kalamazoo (May), and Philadelphia (November) – will foster a fluid yet cohesive international working group of scholars, curators, and advanced students. They will offer opportunities for extensive discussion and debate on methodologies and approaches that address problems particular to the study of medieval sculpture. The aim is to rekindle art-history’s sensibilities to aspects of sculpture that make it a distinct, and distinctly creative, artistic form.

The three conferences are stand-alone events, focusing on distinct topics, but they are also conceived as sequential, with each building upon the others – building from initial explorations based largely on material aspects and the methodological or historiographic considerations that bear on approaches to sculptural analysis (Paris), to consideration of particular details of works, such as those that confer upon it special status or meaning-what one might term its “objecthood” (Kalamazoo), and finally to a broader range of perspectives and issues that bear on our understanding of how a work functioned in its context or interacted with its viewers (Philadelphia). Participants are invited to address individual works or series, single artists or ateliers, or topics that are thematic (e.g., iconographic), historiographic, or theoretical. Speakers able to attend only one or two of the proposed events can keep apprised of the group’s discussions through a website that will include webcasts, précis of papers and debates, and a forum.