Temporary Art Centers – 
Transient Events and their Influence on Early Modern Art


It is characteristic for modern art business that places of exhibition and art fairs can become temporary centers of art. Thus, the relation between center and periphery might be seen in an entirely different light. The importance of art centers that have grown for generations – like Rome or later on Paris, where to go once was a canonical duty for an artist – are out of date.
In medieval and early modern times not only the big European Cities were deemed important centers of art, this actually seems to be forgotten. Events of political and courtly as well as religious character brought clients and artists from near and far together at remote places the off metropolises. These sites changed persistently. For some time they gained regional, national or European importance. The residence of a sovereign determined the destination to which one travelled. Against the background of a medieval and early modern form of ruling on tour these itinerant places changed until permanent residences were established.
The conference will examine the effects of temporary art centers. Different perspectives shall be taken. Questions of interest are e.g. the expectations that residents directed on the newly arrived but also the experiences clients, costumers and artists gathering in a foreign place made. The specific context which temporary art centers created led to multiple processes of transfer with respect to technical, intellectual or stylistic manners – these are to be investigated. Which geographical ways took artistic knowledge that emerged in temporary art centers? How strong was the appeal of new artistic ideas, could regional art production compete against it? What attitudes of purchasing showed the travelling princely guests?
Topographical categories of art have to be related to the mobility of artists. The term “traveling artist” has to be supplemented with the term “congress artist”, who travelled from one big venue to the next to prove his artistic mastery as well as to offer his own works of art. If the scholarly interest focuses on a single artist and his works it is necessary to pay specific attention to the fact that places of congress had a catalytic effect on artistic exchange. Local and peregrine artists got to know forms of art of other regions and countries which often led to a stylistic transfer. The ways of mediation in which transfers like these ground can be traced and analyzed.
Another set of questions aims at contemporary ideas of locally typical products. The investigated fields of production shall be ample. They will not only comprise the classical art historical canon of artistic genres but also manufactures of metal (weapons, articles of daily use), artistic works of cast metal (epitaphs, fountains, medallions), gold and silver work, fine mechanics (scientific instruments, clocks), prints (books, geographical works), musical instruments, textiles etc.
The Kunsthistorische Forum Irsee (Irsee Forum of Art History) will be organized and conducted in cooperation with the Schwabenakademie Irsee (Suebian Academy Irsee, Dr. Markwart Herzog, Dr. Sylvia Heudecker) and artifex (Dr. Birgit Ulrike Münch, Dr.Dr. Andreas Tacke, Professor, both University of Trier).
Founded in 2012, the Irsee Forum of Art History organizes annual conferences (Spring Academies) devoted to a multi-facetted complex of issues of research in art history; the Spring Academies are scheduled for several years to come. The first segment concerns the research area “Artist and Society”. As an intra- and interdisciplinary forum, it combines research approaches to art history in particular with all other disciplines, methods and questions of (historical) cultural scholarship.
Calls for papers on specific topics are tendered annually. The up-and-coming generation of young academics, meaning PhD students and post-doctoral academics, are invited emphatically to participate.
The Irsee Forum deals academically with topics that are currently discussed in society in order to interest a wider, general audience. It aims to convey innovative scholarly approaches and content of knowledge.
The output of the annual Spring Academies will be published soon after the conference. The conference proceedings will be presented in the respective following year; the series appears at Michael Imhof Verlag (Publishing Company, Petersberg).