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Art and Intimacy in 15th Century Italy

Art and Intimacy in 15th Century Italy banner

Date: Monday 24 June 2013
Time: 6:30 pm
Venue: Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre, The University of Melbourne
Keynote: Adrian Randolph

The word 'intimacy' is attractive partly because it summons up a set of interrelated and evocative meanings that speak directly to certain types of objects we tend to call art. Intimacy suggests proximity and closeness, and is tinged with sensual and perhaps sexual possibility, and, when applied to apparel, getting right next to the skin. This epidermal intimacy is matched by a form of interiority lodged etymologically in the word itself: The Latin word, moreover, when metaphorically appended to individuals, suggests an emotional as well as spatial proximity-an intimate acquaintance, some one close to you. These meanings, and others are suggestive. The word intimate points to something essential  in reactions to certain types of objects, and to modes of beholding and use that are systematically underplayed in analyses that have emerged in modernity, especially those that define art visually and, often, through the prohibition of touch. In this lecture Adrian Randolph  focuses on one set of particularly intriguing and intimate pictorial objects: paxes. Small panels produced precisely to be kissed.

Adrian Randolph
is the Leon E. Williams Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College. He specialises in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italian art with an emphasis on the multi sensory nature of art - visual, spatial and tactile.  He has written on the development of public political art, the material and visual culture of marriage, the social production of urban spaces, and configurations of masculinity in the visual arts. Amongst other publications is his Engaging Symbols: Gender, Politics, and Public Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence (2002). His latest research addresses Renaissance Hybridity. He co edits the book series Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture, and is on the International Advisory Board of the journal Art History.

For more information: contact jessica.scott@unimelb.edu.au or +61 3 8344 5152.