I am a third-year PhD student in the Department of History of Art at the University of Warwick, and I recently had the opportunity to present a paper at the Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference 2018 organised by the Newberry Library, Chicago, for which I have been awarded the Newberry Renaissance Consortium Grant.
The topic of my doctoral project is an interdisciplinary study of illustrated cycles of the months, created in Italy at the end of the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries. These images depict occupations and zodiac signs characteristic to each month of the year. They were produced in a variety of media, ranging from illuminated manuscripts and prints, to paintings and tapestries. These cycles are potent historical sources, conveying important aspects regarding agricultural practices, costumes and astrological belief. They can also reveal key facts about the circulation of imagery over time and space.
My paper The Calendar of a Printed Book of Hours and its Impact on Sixteenth-Century Manuscript Illumination, which I presented as part of the panel Paratextual Lenses, investigated the impact of woodcuts in the dissemination of calendar imagery. My talk focused on the case study of the calendar of the Officium B.M.V. printed in Lyon in four editions between 1499 and 1501, for Bonino de Bonini. The argument is an extract from that developed in the second chapter of my thesis.
The conference which lasted for three days was both a useful but also very enjoyable experience. It gave me the opportunity to get a sense of the current state of research in Humanities, meet the very accommodating Newberry staff, find common grounds with other researchers in different fields and topics, make new friendships and hopefully set the scene for future collaborations. We also got to see some rare examples from Newberry’s splendid collection.
As this was my first trip to Chicago, I decided to go a few days before the start of the conference. This gave me the time to accommodate, and make the most of my trip. I spend two days researching the Newberry’s collection and I found some key items for my thesis. The library is a real heaven for researchers as it allows fast and unlimited access to material, and has a very relaxed copyrighting policy.
Not everything was however about work. Chicago is the city of the great architecture and the Riverwalk was one of the experiences that I enjoyed the most. I also loved exploring the Field Museum and the impressive collection of the Institute of Art. Everything was coronated by the delicious Deep pizza, Chicago’s culinary specialty.
Overall, the Newberry Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference was an enriching experience for which I am deeply grateful to the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, and especially to Jayne Sweet, for her constant support. I would also like to express my gratitude to the organizer of the conference, Andrew Epps.
View from Michigan Lake-Chicago
The Newberry Library
Presentation of the Newberry’s collection. First day of the conference.
Page from the Kalender new geordentin Jacob Köbel Oppenheim 1512