Transformation & Modernity around 1300: Medium, Spirituality, Experience in Giotto’s Arena Chapel

Brandon Schneider

Transformation & Modernity around 1300: Medium, Spirituality, Experience in Giotto’s Arena Chapel

February 21, 2020 / 10:00 am - 6:45 pm / Add to Google
308A Doe Library

Due the limited number of seats in the event space, please RSVP if you would like to be added to the waitlist, indicating if you would like to attend the morning session, the afternoon session, or the entire day, under the subject line “RSVP Giotto Conference 2020” to

Revolving around a new reading of Giotto’s acclaimed Arena Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni) in Padua, this international book conference will pair some of the most eminent art historians in the field of Italian Renaissance/Early Modern Studies from Europe and the US east coast with interdisciplinary responses from prominent local historians, art historians, and specialists in related fields such as Classics, medieval, Renaissance, and literature studies from California (UCB, UCD, Stanford, and UCLA).

On the conference day, speakers will engage themes from Henrike Lange’s book manuscript, Giotto’s Arena Chapel and the Triumph of Humility (Cambridge University Press) in five sections: I. The Sources of Antiquity as Other: Triumphal Architecture and the Lever of Humility, II. Crystallization: Matter and Illusion, III. Mystic Intelligence: Vision, Words, Cognition, IV. Giotto Historiographies, and V. Modernity & Modernities.

All respondents having read the manuscript beforehand, the five main speakers will offer comments on their section theme in relation to the manuscript as well as to their own expertise. Their presentations of about 30 minutes each will be complemented by two respective co-respondents adding a commentary of 5–10 minutes from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Graduate students from the Fall 2019 graduate seminar in Italian Studies “Spiritual Reading/Spiritual Seeing, from Dante to Montale” will introduce the speakers throughout the day and contribute comments on Giotto’s modernity in a grad round table towards the end of the conference day, followed by the author’s Q&A.


Transformation & Modernity around 1300: Medium, Spirituality, Experience in Giotto’s Arena Chapel

Conference schedule for February 21, 2020


9:30–10 am Coffee

10 (sharp)–10:20 am

Welcome (Whitney Davis)

Introduction (Henrike Christiane Lange)
Triumphs of Humility: A Giotto Conference in Memoriam Martin Warnke

10:20–11:15 am

I. The Sources of Antiquity as Other: Triumphal Architecture and the Lever of Humility

Ulrich Pfisterer

Looking at Henrike Lange’s Giotto’s Triumph from the following Centuries:
Triumphs in Aragonese Naples, Ciriaco d’Ancona, and the Rome of Raphael & Michelangelo

Andrew Stewart – Regarding Ancient Triumphs

Todd Olson – Regarding Early Modern Triumphs

Introductions: Sean Wyer

11:15–11:30 am Coffee

11:30 am–12:30 pm

II. Crystallization: Matter and Illusion

Whitney Davis

Medium and Illusion  On Henrike Lange’s Giotto’s Triumph

Christopher Hallett – Roman faux marble walls, faux marble veneer, and faux marble reliefs

Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli – Crystal Images: Between Civic Poets and Cinema of Poetry

Introductions: Daisy Ament

12:30–1:30 Lunch

1:30–2:30 pm

III. Mystic Intelligence: Vision, Words, Cognition

Brenda Deen Schildgen

The Paradoxical Triumph of Humility in Augustine, Dante, and Giotto

Thomas Dandelet – Reading St. John of Damascus in the Arena Chapel

Jonathan Sheehan – The Spoils of Theology

Introductions: Alice Fischetti

2:45–3:45 pm

IV. Giotto Historiographies

Roberta Morosini

Come pintor che con essempro finga” (Pg. XXXII 67):
Giotto, Dante and Boccaccio – Notes on Poetry and Painting

Anne Derbes – Giotto’s Heart: Historiography and Giotto Scholarship, 20th to 21st Century

Alessandro Nova – Giotto’s O & Vasari’s Giotto

Randolph Starn – Decoding and Recoding in the Arena Chapel: A Historiographical Triumph

Introductions: Daisy Ament

3:45–4:15 pm Tea

4:15–5:15 pm

V. Modernity & Modernities

Alexander Nagel

Where is our God?

Mario Biagioli – Medieval Modern Giotto

Michael Subialka – Alternative Notions of Modern Aesthetics: On Giotto’s Relief Effects

Introductions: Alice Fischetti

5:15–5:30 pm Tea

5:30–5:45 pm

Grad round table “Giotto moderno

Sean WyerEnd of the Work and End of the World in Giotto and Dante

Alice Fischetti: Giotto’s Wit and Modern Poetry

Daisy Ament: Spectres of Giotto: Resurrection & Reconstruction in the Avant-Garde & Beyond

Introductions: Henrike Lange

5:45–5:55 pm

Final remarks (Henrike Christiane Lange)
Giotto’s Long Nineteenth Century: Lines, Sepia, and the Seven Lamps of Architecture

5:55–6:30 pm Final Author’s Q&A


Daisy Ament (UCB Italian Studies)
Prof. Mario Biagioli (Stanford CASBS / UCLA Law and Communication)
Prof. Thomas Dandelet (UCB History)
Prof. Whitney Davis (UCB History of Art)
Prof. Anne Derbes (Hood College History of Art)
Alice Fischetti (UCB Italian Studies)
Prof. Christopher Hallett (UCB Classics & History of Art)
Prof. Roberta Morosini (Wake Forest University Italian & Spanish)
Prof. Alexander Nagel (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University)
Prof. Alessandro Nova (Director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut – Max Planck Institute, Florence, Italy)
Prof. Todd Olson (UCB History of Art)
Prof. Ulrich Pfisterer (Director of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte & Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany)
Prof. Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli (UCLA Film Studies)
Dr. Beatrice Rehl, Cambridge University Press
Prof. Brenda Schildgen (UCD Comparative Literature)
Prof. Jonathan Sheehan (UCB History)
Prof. Randolph Starn (UCB History)
Prof. Andrew Stewart (UCB Classics & History of Art)
Prof. Michael Subialka (UCD Comparative Literature)
Sean Wyer (UCB Italian Studies)

Henrike Christiane Lange is Assistant Professor in both the Departments of History of Art and Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She specializes in Italian medieval and early modern art history, architecture, and literature with a second area of expertise in late nineteenth/early twentieth-century art, literature, and historiography.

Co-sponsored by the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley, The Stoddard Fund in the History of Art Department UC Berkeley, the UC Berkeley Department of History of Art, the UC Berkeley Department of Italian Studies, the Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, the UC Berkeley Department of German, and the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, The UC Berkeley Paradise Memorial Archive and Historical Slide Library, and Copy Central – 2411 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley