Programme Confirmed

We are delighted to announce the programme for ‘”Livelier than Life”: The Life of Art in Early Modern Europe’. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing chairs for each of the panels, so stay tuned for further details, and for any changes to the line-up.

‘Livelier than Life’: The Life of Art in Early Modern Europe

Trinity Hall, Cambridge, 6th-7th September 2018

Thursday 6thSeptember

9.00—9.45      Registration and refreshments

9.45—10.00    Opening remarks (Sean Geddes, Tessa Peres, Ted Tregear)

10.00—11.30   Beginnings and Ends: Life and Death in Renaissance and Reformation

Christina Faraday (Cambridge), ‘The Concept of “Liveliness” and Visual Culture in Post-Reformation England’

Conor McKee (Cambridge), ‘Revivifying Metaphor in the Writings of Robert Southwell’

William Theiss (Princeton), ‘The Artist’s Epitaph and the Reception of the Greek Anthology in Europe’

11.30—12.00   Tea, coffee and refreshments

12.00—1.00     Living with Art

John Peacock (Southampton), ‘“Careful Carelessness” in Elite Social Conduct and the Process of Painting: From Castiglione to Franciscus Junius’

Sarah Coviello (Warburg Institute), ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner? Dining and Training with Artworks at Home with Art Historians’

1.00—2.00      Lunch

2.00—3.30      The Life of Sculpture

Allegra Baggio Corradi (Warburg Institute), ‘The Afterlife of the Satyr’s Soul: Sculpture as a Figment of Life in Renaissance Padua’

Fabio Tononi (Warburg Institute), ‘A Living Sculpture in the New Sacristy: A Neuroscientific Perspective on Animism’

Ross Lerner (Occidental College), ‘The Astonished Body in Paradise Lost

3.30—4.00      Tea, coffee and refreshments

4.00—5.15      Keynote speech

Neil Kenny (All Souls College, Oxford), ‘Whose life and death? Art’s? Or ours?’

5.15—6.30      Drinks reception


Friday 7thSeptember

10.00—11.00   Generation and Decay

Katie Kadue (Chicago), ‘Faded Flowers: Gender and Cliché in Early Modern Lyric’

Lydia Heinrichs (Cambridge), ‘“Living Corruptions”: Equivocal Generation and the Equivocal Voice of Thomas Browne’

11.00—11.30   Tea, coffee and refreshments

11.30—1.00     Living On

Sean Geddes (Cambridge), [tbc]

Tessa Peres (Cambridge), [tbc]

Stefanie Bauerochse (freelance dramaturg and academic), ‘A How-To Guide: How to Create and Perform Emblems Resistant to Terror: The Winter’s Tale

1.00—2.00      Lunch

2.00—3.30      Theories of Life

Christian Coppa (Cambridge), ‘Touching on New Life in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline

Ted Tregear (Cambridge), [tbc]

Philipp Ekardt (Basel University), [tbc]

3.30—4.00      Tea, coffee and refreshments

4.00—5.15      Keynote speech

Caroline van Eck (King’s College, Cambridge), ‘In the Make-Up Parlour of Mars: Camouflage, Zoomorphism and the Life of Art’

5.15—6.00      Closing remarks and round-table discussion


Conference Poster

Here, as promised, is the poster we’ve put together. Please feel free to share it as widely as you like! To register for the conference, just click here.

Life of Art Poster 2

Registration Open

Registration for ‘Livelier than Life: The Life of Art in Early Modern Europe’ is now open! To book tickets, please click here to visit our conference’s page on Eventbrite.

Tickets are priced at £50 waged and £25 unwaged/student. That includes pastries on arrival, lunch, and regular refreshments throughout the day, as well as a drinks reception on Thursday evening in the private garden attached to the venue. Accommodation in Trinity Hall is also available on request: for further details, please contact us at, and we’ll put you in touch with the college’s events team.

Stay tuned over the next few days for further details: we’ll be uploading our poster, as well as a preview of our conference programme. We look forward to seeing you in September!

Call for Papers: Deadline Extended

Thank you to all those who’ve responded so far to our Call for Papers. We’re excited to explore this conference’s questions with scholars in various fields from around the world. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet sent us an abstract, though; we’ll still be accepting proposals for 20-minute papers until Friday 20th July.

Please send abstracts of up to 350 words with full-length CVs, as well as any inquiries, to Further details about how to register will be announced in the following weeks. We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to Cambridge in September!

Call for Papers: ‘Livelier than Life’: The Life of Art in Early Modern Europe

6th – 7th September, 2018

Trinity Hall, Cambridge

‘Artificial strife / Lives in these touches livelier than life’: so the Poet assures the Painter in the first scene of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens. His remark prompts some difficult questions. What sort of life does an artwork have, and how might it be livelier than life? How lively is life? Is the strife between art and life a playful piece of artifice, or a matter of life and death? And why are these questions so difficult to answer, hampered from the start by a concept as indispensable but theoretically recalcitrant as life?

We are inviting papers for a two-day conference to consider life, art, and the fraught relations between the two in early modern Europe. Papers might address particular artworks and artists, as well as thinking more broadly about the various theories of life in the period. An interdisciplinary approach seems not just desirable but indispensable for this elusive subject, and we would accordingly welcome papers from researchers working in classics, history of art, philosophy, and theology, as well as literary criticism. Areas addressed may include:

  • Early modern poetics and rhetoric;
  • Reception of classical texts and artworks;
  • Notions of spirit, ingenuity, or animation in the artwork;
  • Theories of the aesthetic;
  • Painting, sculpture, architecture, music, literature; and/or the relations between them;
  • Philosophies of life;
  • Ideas of durability, transience, poetic mortality and immortality;
  • Accounts of the lives and afterlives of writers, artists and artworks.

Over the course of two days, we will aim to hold six panels of three twenty-minute papers each, with two keynote speeches by Neil Kenny (All Souls College, Oxford) and Caroline van Eck (King’s College, Cambridge). There will be time for wider reflection on each day’s proceedings, as well as an evening drinks reception for delegates.

Please send abstracts of up to 350 words with full-length CVs, as well as any inquiries, to by Friday 20th July 2018.

Organizers: Sean Geddes (Cambridge), Tessa Peres (Cambridge), and Ted Tregear (Cambridge).