On Monday, October 21st and Tuesday, October 22nd, 2008, The Institute at Palazzo Rucellai was host to an international conference, jointly sponsored with the University of Connecticut in Florence, entitled ‘Proxima Studia’: arte e letteratura a Firenze (1300 – 1600)
. Over a two day period the convention, which was organized by Andreina Bianchini, Director, and Stefano Baldassarri
and Michael Kwakkelstein, Professors of the Institute, welcomed 18 speakers of various backgrounds and nationalities who spoke throughout a series of four sessions. Each session was devoted to a specific theme; session I was entitled ‘Ut pictura poesis’: forme del dialogo arte-letteratura, session II: ‘Trattati e scritti d’arte’, session III: ‘Il ritratto scritto: biografie, elogi, aneddoti di artisti, and session IV: Mecenatismo e riscoperta dell’antico’. Within these sessions speakers touched on a multitude of topics concerning art,
literature, art history and history, addressing themes such as problems in Renaissance portraiture, Leonardo Da Vinci’s theories on drawing and painting, the role of the Etruscan ideal during the Florentine Republic, Giovanni Rucellai’s “zibaldone” and Leon Battista Alberti’s work on painting,
to touch on merely a few. The two day event was animated, stimulating, and well attended by members of the international academic community. It was deemed to be an enormous success by all those involved, and a fine example of the outreach program of the Institute at Palazzo Rucellai, which is becoming a more and more a center of public cultural activities in the city of Florence.
The speakers included, among others, Cristina Acidini, Director of the Florentine Museums; Massimo Miglio, President of the Italian Institute for the Middle Ages; John Law, Chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies of Great Britain; Michael Kwakkelstein, Director of the Dutch Institute for Art History in Florence and Professor at the Institute at Palazzo Rucellai; Marcello Ciccuto of the University of Pisa; and Giovanni Sinicropi, Professor Emeritus of the University of Connecticut.