Association of Art Historians Annual Conference
CFP: Academic Session 5
Beyond Vision: Experiencing Art Through the Other Senses, c 500–1600    

Deadline for Paper Proposals: 7 November 2016  

6th-8th April 2017
University of Loughborough, UK

Serenella Sessini, University of Sheffield, ssessini1 -at-
Laura Cristina Stefanescu, University of Sheffield, lcstefanescu1 -at-

The perception of works of art can involve more than one corporeal sense. Even though the sense of sight is at the basis of the interaction with images, the elements within a work of art can also lead to a multi-sensory experience. Medieval and Renaissance artworks have the potential to reveal interesting insights into an otherwise hardly accessible sphere, that of perception. Through their analysis, scholars can seek to understand the feelings and reactions of contemporary viewers. Scholarly interest in the role of the senses in Medieval and Renaissance art has greatly increased in recent years, establishing a new direction in art historical research.

The aim of this session is to bring together scholars interested in exploring works of art from the audience’s perspective, and in investigating how the experience of an image can be supported by other senses in addition to vision. How does the visual perception of the viewer change when other senses are provoked by elements depicted in a work of art? Do different types of viewers respond differently to different sensory provocations? Can the engagement of the other senses assist in particular practices, such as devotion and moral education, or in everyday experiences? Would the viewer respond automatically to visual stimuli by recalling familiar sensory experiences?

We welcome papers related to these and similar questions, using either or both contemporary and modern sensory theories, and case-studies that explore the multi-sensory experience either of particular works of art or as it is revealed by contemporary textual sources.

Please email your paper proposals straight to the session convenor(s). Provide a title and abstract for a 25 minute paper (max 250 words). Include your name, affiliation and email.


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