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Faces and Façades: the structure of display in Renaissance Italy

RSA, Los Angeles, March, 19-21

Wednesday 3 September 2008, by Antoine Roullet

Bounded by the same etymological origin, the human “face” and the palace
“façades” are compared by many early modern sources. As the face, the
façade conveys symbolic, political and social values, revealing more
than any other aspect about its patron. Both had to respect similar laws
of decorum and dissimulatio in displaying the social role of a patron to
the public gaze. The aim of the panel is to investigate the structures
of display through the dialectic relationships between faces and façades
in Renaissance art and theory.

While this call for papers is open to any suggestions that engage with
this topic, we are particularly interested in receiving proposals that
deal with the history of Renaissance Palace façades (were they adorned
with paintings, sgraffiti, sculptures, or were they ephemeral) and their
reception. We would consider theoretical as well as concrete approaches
to the theme, dealing not only with the social, political and artistic
impact of 14th-17th centuries-façades but also with the urban
legislation about façades as means of the process of city shaping.

Abstracts of no more than 200 words, for 20 minutes
presentations, can be submitted in Italian, English and
French to conference organizers:
Dr. Valeria Cafà ( and
Dr. Maddalena Spagnolo (,
before September 9.

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