Past Event

Competing Truths: Art and the Objects of History after the Council of Trent

November 15, 2019 - November 16, 2019
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
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On Friday, walk-ins are welcome at the Italian Academy for Day 1 of this event. (Scroll down to register for Day 2, Saturday, at the Frick.) 

This is a two-day symposium to be jointly held at the Italian Academy and The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library on November 15 and 16. The event will bring together scholars and museum professionals in order to investigate how Italian art helped to formulate competing truths in the long aftermath of the Council of Trent, and how the strategies of that era continue to affect our understanding of historical truth today. Italian art of this period is often dismissed as propagandistic and derivative. This symposium instead fosters recent scholarship that shows the potency of art in shaping people’s beliefs during a time of deep political and spiritual divisions. Understanding how images and objects give shape to history and knowledge has never been more urgent. Thus, the aim of the symposium is not merely to advance scholarship, but to meet an acute contemporary need for perspective on how to navigate an era of competing truths.

Registration and Coffee 

Welcoming Remarks: Barbara Faedda (Executive Director, Italian Academy, Columbia University)

Introduction: Alessandra Di Croce, Hannah Friedman, and Grace Harpster

Roundtable: Historical Methodology and Discourses of Truth
Karl Appuhn (Associate Professor of History and Italian, New York University)
Christia Mercer (Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University)
Felipe Pereda (Fernando Zóbel de Ayala Professor of Spanish Art, Harvard University)
Alessandra Russo (Associate Professor of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University)
Pamela H. Smith (Seth Low Professor of History; Director, Center for Science and Society, Columbia University)
Stefania Tutino (Professor of History and Italian, UCLA)

1:00–1:30pm:  Registration
1:30–3:00pm:  Panel I
Barbara Wisch (Professor Emerita of Art History, SUNY Cortland)
“Truth Retold: Origin Stories of Roman Confraternities”
Clare Kobasa (Suzanne Andrée Curatorial Fellow, Philadelphia Museum of Art)
“Printed Rediscoveries: Constructing Cults in Seventeenth-Century Sicily”
Jeffrey Fraiman (Research Associate, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
“Competing Relics: The Three Wellheads at San Calisto in Trastevere, 1607–2019”
3:00–3:30pm:  Coffee Break
3:30–5:00pm:  Panel II
Pamela Jones (Professor Emerita of Art History, University of Massachusetts, Boston)
“Artistic Style, Christian Truth, & the Ugly Reality of the Poor”
Silvia Tita (Independent Scholar, Toronto)
“Restoring Truth: Uses and Abuses of Archeology in Establishing Primacy among Papal Sites in the 1630s”
William Stenhouse (Professor of History, Yeshiva University)
“Concordant Truths from Early Christianity”
5:00pm6:00pm:  Public Reception, Garden Courtyard, Frick Collection

Alessandra Di Croce (Core Lecturer for Art Humanities, Columbia University)
Hannah Friedman (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer, Columbia University)
Grace Harpster (Assistant Professor, Georgia State University)
Co-sponsors alongside The Frick and The Italian Academy: 
The Kress Foundation. At Columbia University: the Department of Art History; Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life; Heyman Center for the Humanities; and Department of History.
Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Scher for his assistance with the event.