Report of the second research seminar
Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance (Tours) – 27 September 2017
Invited speaker: Etienne Anheim (EHESS – Paris)
Discussant: Albane Cogné (CéTHIS – Tours)
Meeting with the following members of the research team in attendance: Michela Berti, Orsetta Baroncelli, Marco Cavietti, Teresa Chirico, Émilie Corswarem, Valeria De Lucca, Cristina Fernandes, Gloria Giordano, Anne-Madeleine Goulet, Barbara Nestola, Alexandra Nigito, Foucauld Perotin, Huub van der Linden and Giulia Veneziano.
The aim of the seminar of 27 September 2017, coordinated by Élodie Oriol, was to explore the close connections between art and economic considerations.
In his paper, Étienne Anheim first gave a historiographical overview centred around the rapprochement of economic and artistic spheres, and subsequently reflected on the methodological and conceptual difficulties inherent in applying the concepts of ‘art’ and the economy to different historical eras. He elaborated various difficulties of this approach, both methodological and conceptual, and discussed the application of economic notions – particularly that of ‘art’ – in the context of ancient history. Anheim stressed the imperative of starting from a rigorous historicisation of economic concepts and analysis of sources through intensive archival research. He suggested that scholars imagine the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as the culmination of an art economy which had begun its evolutionary journey in the foregoing centuries (from the late medieval period onwards). He also analysed the workings of musicians’ roles at the court of the Avignon popes in the fourteenth century, focusing particularly on the role of the maestro di cappella and noting the highly fluid role of singers and the importance of the specific context of Avignon.
Anheim proposed a view of the artistic economy as an economy of performance, and put forward a notion of talent as a form of generalised knowledge which, in combination with other qualities, ensured the ultimate success and integrity of artistic production. He also proposed a reconceptualisation of the economy of art that takes works and their commission as its starting point, moving away from the narrow market focus that has predominated until now and allowing us to recalibrate our viewpoint to encompass the relationship between artist and patron. Anheim also advocated reconceptualising the work of art as a process and performance rather than merely a material production, thus avoiding the dangers of a narrow history of works.
Albane Cogné led the subsequent discussion, summarising and commenting on Anheim’s paper to spark questions from the floor. There was lively debate, with questions on several topics reflecting further on the concept of commissioning and on the difference between the notions of patronage in English and the Italian concept of mecenatismo.
The day ended with a guided visit of Tours’ Musée des Beaux-Arts led by Marie Arnold with Anne-Madeleine Goulet, who gave a thorough and engaging presentation of the paintings of Abraham Bosse representing the prototype of the salon à la française.
Report of the fourth workshop on the “PerformArt Database” (version 0.5)
Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance (Tours) – 28 September 2017
After a brief report on summer activities (verification of around 650 archival by Michela Berti, Orsetta Baroncelli and Marco Cavietti) and the announcement of a forthcoming contribution with 185 iconographic sources (Diana Blichmann), Michela Berti presented the new features of the database:
– Option to select either ‘View’ (read-only) or ‘Edit’ mode
– New record-viewing format allowing users to sort search results by multiple criteria (alphabetic, archive documents and so on).
Michela Berti also presented a video tutorial on how to insert links and announced the creation of a YouTube channel where all tutorials on using the database will be uploaded.
The next step is to develop the “Event” rubric, by separating out various types of event (family, historic, and so on), and the “Work” rubric. Firstly, a distinction must be drawn between “Work” records and “document” records. The “Work” rubric covers not merely lyric opera but all artistic elements of production; libretti, scores, choreography and all documents related to a given work are dealt with in the “Document” rubric. When dealing with a lyric opera, the date of first performance must be inserted on the “Work” record. Successive versions or revivals of the opera in question will then be linked back to this record. The creation of a “Keyword” field that would enable rapid indexing and searching of documents was also discussed. Some rules for drawing up the index: all words must be listed in the singular and standardised (for example, “frontizpizi” becomes “frontespizio”). Words should be separated by a semicolon and categories already listed in other parts of the document (places, titles, names, etc.) should not be inserted. All participants are invited to contribute to the keyword index from the documents they are dealing with.