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The Emotions of Love in the Art of Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Date: Thursday 4 May to Saturday 6 May 2017
Venue: Thursday and Friday
- The University of Melbourne, Woodward Conference Centre, 10th floor, Melbourne Law (Building 106), 185 Pelham Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Venue: Saturday - The National Gallery of Victoria, Clemenger Auditorium, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3000
Convenors: Charles Zika and Angela Hesson
Contact: Julie Davies (daviesja@unimelb.edu.au)


Please register by 2 May 2017 for catering purposes. Unfortunately, registrations will not be available at the venue.

Full Reg:
3 days: Full $80, Students and unwaged $50

Daily Reg:
Day one: Full $30, Students and unwaged $20
Day two: Full $30, Students and unwaged $20
Day three (at NGV): Full $40, Students and unwaged $25

Conference Dinner: Full $80, Students and unwaged $45
The Conference dinner will be held at the
Carlton Wine Room on Thursday evening.


Online here


Event Schedule

Download the Symposium Program and Abstracts


Love in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe was a complex emotion, a constellation of feelings shaped and reflected by artists, writers and thinkers that sought to give expression to human experience and also provide models for individual and group behavior. Notions of love took different forms and involved a range of emotions across time and space, under the influence of changing community norms, cultural practices, political institutions and social media.

This symposium coincides with the exhibition Love: Art of Emotion 1400–1800 at the National Gallery of Victoria, 31 March–18 June, 2017, which draws on the NGV’s permanent collection of European art. The accompanying symposium will engage with and extend the themes presented in the exhibition primarily through visual art, but also through literature and music.

It will explore how artists expressed and aroused feelings of love through gesture and facial expression, colour and shape, the context of place and narrative, the representation of bodies, and references to contemporary rituals and practices. It will examine the ways different forms of love, including affection, friendship, intimacy, erotic desire, jealousy and compassion were applied to various objects of love – such as family and kin, the divinity and saints, fatherlands and the self. It will consider how these representations created new understandings of love, which in turn influenced developments in the religious, political, cultural and domestic spheres.


David Areford (University of Massachusetts, Art History), Katie Barclay (University of Adelaide, History), Lisa Beaven (University of Melbourne, Art History), Jane Davidson (University of Melbourne, Musicology), Dagmar Eichberger (University of Heidelberg, Art History), Vivien Gaston (University of Melbourne, Art History), Katrina Grant (Australian National University, Art History), Sally Holloway (Richmond University, London, History), Petra Kayser (NGV, Prints & Drawings), Dale Kent (University of Melbourne, History), David Marshall (University of Melbourne, Art History), Sophie Mattheisson (NGV, Art History), Jennifer Milam (University of Sydney, Art History), Mark Nicholls (University of Melbourne, Cinema Studies), John Payne (NGV, Conservation), Mark Shepheard (University of Melbourne, Art History), Patricia Simons (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Art History), Robert Toft (University of Western Ontario), Miya Tokumitsu (University of Melbourne, Art History), Stephanie Trigg (University of Melbourne, Literature),  Arvi Wattel (University of Western Australia, Art History), and Anna Welch (State Library of Victoria, History).

Image: Sebald Beham, Venus (1539), from The Seven Planets series (1539). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1923. Accession number: 1278.582-3.