Upcoming conference: “Images in Action” (Revolts and visual cultures in early modern Europe, III)

Our next tri-lateral conference (atelier trilatéral) at Villa Vigoni (IT) from 4th June to 7th June 2018 will cover different aspects of early modern “images in action”.

Paintings, prints, statues and objects of everyday use only became truly meaningful to early modern audiences if they were integrated into formal or informal rituals and performances. Statues, for instance, could be decorated on a public day of commemoration, or they could be purposefully destroyed by a crowd of protestors.

Printed images functioned as charms or as tokens of power and justice. And paintings of saints or rulers carried along in religious or political processions could give a cause greater legitimacy in the eyes of contemporary observers.

Our international team of researchers – which includes historians and art historians from Germany, Italy, and France – will bring examples of the performative usage of early modern imagery together and analyse the communicational patterns which they had in common.

A geometrical view of the grand procession of the scald miserable masons, design’d as they were drawn up over against Somerset House, in the Strand, on the twenty seventh of April, ano. 1742

Preliminary conference schedule and abstracts of the conference presentations:

1) Monika Barget (Maynooth University, Ireland): In effigy-representations of monarchs and rebel leaders in British popular politics / Les représentations en effigie des monarques et des chefs rebelles dans la politique populaire britannique

EN: In British popular politics, images of (former) rulers, military leaders or traitors played an important part all throughout the early modern period. In times of religious conflict, images of Queen Elizabeth carried along in procession recalled England’s identity as a Protestant nation. Images of the Pope or the infamous Gunpowder plotters, however, were burnt. Even in the Age of Enlightenment, these seemingly archaic traditions persisted and inspired Jacobite rituals in Scotland as well as the popular protest staged by the Sons of Liberty in America. This paper, therefore, discusses how portraits and life-sized figures were either used as a source of legitimation or as tools of political subversion. It will also ask if changing constitutional concepts were reflected in parades and mock processions of the eighteenth century.

FR: Dans la politique populaire britannique, les images des anciens monarques, des chefs militaires ou des traîtres ont joué un rôle important tout au long de la période prémoderne. Pendant les conflits religieux, des portraits de la Reine Elisabeth portés en procession ont rappelé l’identité de l’Angleterre comme nation protestante. Au même temps, des foules politisées brûlèrent des images du pape ou des infâmes planeurs de la conspiration des poudres. Même dans l’âge des Lumières, ces traditions apparemment archaïques persistaient et inspiraient les rituels jacobites en Ecosse et des protestations populaires organisées par les Fils de la Liberté en Amérique. Cette intervention analyse comment des portraits et des marionnettes étaient utilisés comme source de légitimation ou comme outils de subversion politique. Je demanderai également si des concepts constitutionnels changeants se reflétèrent dans les défilés et les processions ironiques du dix-huitième siècle.

For further information, please contact conference coordinator PD Dr Malte Griesse.


Monika Barget

Monika Barget studied history, history of art and theology in Augsburg (Germany) and Galway (Ireland). In 2013, she joined the international research group 'Early Modern Revolts' at Konstanz University as a doctoral student. Since October 2017, she has been project manager in the Letters 1916-1923 project at Maynooth University (Ireland). Her research interests include early modern constitutional history and political iconography.

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