Stephen J Campbell, Chair, Department of the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University

We were delighted to welcome Stephen J Campbell to the Courtauld Institute of Art as this spring’s Research Forum Visiting Professor. He is the author of The Cabinet of Eros: Renaissance Mythological Painting and the Studiolo of Isabella d’Este (Yale, 2006) and Cosmè Tura of Ferrara: Style, Politics and the Renaissance City 1450-1495 (Yale, 1997), as well as articles on Michelangelo, Mantegna, Giorgione, Bronzino and the Carracci.

In a series of lectures and seminars at The Courtauld he explored the rise of artistic self-consciousness in relation to the idea of tradition in the work of several North Italian artists in the period 1450-1550, especially as shaped by concerns such as the conflicted relation to Rome and Central Italian art, by initiatives of religious and artistic reform, and by the conception of painting as a form of poetic invention and creative imitation. The lectures addressed two major early projects of the 1450s by Andrea Mantegna – the San Zeno altarpiece and the Ovetari Chapel. The seminars explored the impact of Giorgione on Venetian art in terms of a dialectic between two conflicting models of poetry, as well as the rise of a new idiom of sacred painting, which turned away from the new artistic canons established in Rome and Venice. All the sessions were well received and the seminars were full to overflowing.

Cynthia de Souza, Research Forum Administrative Officer