Conference | Portraiture and Biography

Posted in conferences (to attend), exhibitions by Editor on August 30, 2018

From the Paul Mellon Centre:

Portraiture and Biography Conference
National Portrait Gallery, London, 29–30 November 2018

Thomas Gainsborough, Self-Portrait, ca. 1758–59 (London: National Portrait Gallery).

An international conference collaborative organised by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the National Portrait Gallery

Biography has always haunted the study of portraiture. Although in recent decades art-historians may have developed a healthy scepticism for the intuitive practice of interpreting portraits with straightforward reference to what is known about the lives of their subjects, the temptation to do so remains strong. These tendencies often appear in their most untrammelled form in analyses of artists’ likenesses of themselves, or of their most intimate acquaintances. Taking the current major exhibition Gainsborough’s Family Album at the National Portrait Gallery as a starting point, leading academics will explore the how the biographical archive might play in this field of study going forward.

Tickets: £30 General Admission and £25 Concessions and Gallery Supporters. The first day ends with an out-of-hours view of the exhibition and drinks reception. Unlimited entry to the exhibition on the second day of the conference is also included in the ticket price. Tea and coffee are provided on both days. Book online, or visit the National Portrait Gallery in person.

T H U R S D A Y ,  2 9  N O V E M B E R  2 0 1 8

13.30  Registration

14.00  Introduction and welcome by Lucy Peltz (National Portrait Gallery) and Sarah Turner (Paul Mellon Centre)

14.15  Session One: Heads and Tales
Chaired by Lucy Peltz
• Meredith Gamer (Columbia University), Of Sitters and Subjects: William Hunter and the Anatomical Portrait
• Lejla Mrgan (University of Copenhagen), The Bewildering Silence of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Portrait Busts

15.30  Tea Break

16.00  Session Two: Parallel Lives
Chaired by Martin Postle (Paul Mellon Centre)
• Rosemary Keep (University of Birmingham), ‘… masculine in all save her body and her sexe’: Lady Jane Burdett, Portrait and Biography
• Kerstin Maria Pahl (Humboldt University and King’s College London), Back-Ups: Portraiture, Life-Writing, and the Art of Information in Long-Eighteenth-Century England

17.15  Break

17.30  Session Three
• David Solkin (Courtauld Institute of Art) and Mark Hallett (Paul Mellon Centre) in conversation: Gainsborough’s Family Album

18.30  Exhibition view and drinks

F R I D A Y ,  3 0  N O V E M B E R  2 0 1 8

10.30  Session Four
Chaired by by Mark Hallett
• Ludmilla Jordanova (Durham University), Portraiture, Biography, and Occupational Identities

11.15  Coffee Break

11.45  Session Five: Love and Likeness
• Marlen Schneider (Université Grenoble Alpes), Portraiture as Cultural Practice: Displaying Social Identity in French ‘Portraits Historiés’
• Katherine Fein (Columbia University), Indexical Portraiture and Embodied Biography in Harriet Hosmer’s ‘Clasped Hands of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’

13.00  Lunch Break

14.00  Session Six: Circulating Lives
Chaired by David Solkin
• Georgia Haseldine (Queen Mary University of London and National Portrait Gallery), Competing Likenesses: Portraits and Biographies of Radical Reformers
• Claudine van Hensbergen (Northumbria University), Portraits, Mezzotint, and Public Lives: The Image of the Royal Mistress, 1660–1700

15.15  Tea Break

15.45  Session Seven: Space and Status
Chaired by Sarah Turner
• Niharika Dinkar (Boise State University), Portrait of the Artist as a ‘Gifted Highborn’: Ravi Varma and Artistic Personhood in India
• Hannah Williams (Queen Mary University of London), Lived Space: Portraits, Studios, and the Life of the Artist
• Olivia Tait (University College London), ‘Neutralising’ Biography? Georg Baselitz’s Bedroom Portraits

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