Faculty of ArtsAustralian Institute of Art History

The Power of Luxury: Art and Culture at the Italian Courts in Machiavelli’s Lifetime

February 19 & 20, 2013

Melbourne Brain Centre
Kenneth Myer Building
University of Melbourne
Genetics Lane off Royal Parade
Melbourne, VIC, 3010

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This symposium argued that the real Renaissance took place in the realms of politics, fashion and the refinement of everyday living, rather than in the commissioning of paintings by Botticelli and Bellini. Attendees heard about the sugar sculptures made by Bernini for tables, the Papal tiara of Julius II, the importance of love for Machiavelli, and much more.

The symposium was arranged in partnership with the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan, the Italian Embassy in Canberra, the Fondazione SUM in Milan, and the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Los Angeles. There were eleven distinguished speakers from abroad in addition to the leading Australian scholars.  The symposium was and is of particular interest to curators of decorative arts in Australian museums.


Dr Annalisa Zanni Director of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan, Italy
Objects of Luxury as Expressions of power in the Renaissance Courts of Italy


Professor Miguel Vatter, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Machiavelli and Divine Providence: Towards a New Reading of Chapter 26


Antonella Capitanio, University of Pisa, Italy
The Goldsmith's Art for the Pope: the Tiara for Julius II and Other XVI Century Precious Objects


Dr Chiara Buss, Lombard Institute for the History of Art, Italy
Silk Art and Technology in the Service of the Sforza Dukes

Lucia Meoni, Curator Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy
Allegories, Symbols and Court Representations in the Early Production of the Medici Tapestry Works


June di Schino, University of Rome, Italy
The Power of Sweetness: Sugar Sculpture in Italian Court Banquets


Professor John Griffiths, University of Melbourne, Australia
Pietrobono and his Followers: Lutenist Improvisors and unwritten musical Practice in Italian Courts

Associate Professor Robert Gaston, University of Melbourne, Australia
Smitten thro' the Helm: the Ruler and the Helmet in Sixteenth-Century Europe


Dr Christopher Marshall, University of Melbourne, Australia
Vintage Violence: Exhibiting Armour, from the Power of the Prince to the Dynamism of the Museum


Professor Jaynie Anderson, University of Melbourne, Australia
The Venetian Festivals of the "Compagnie delle Calze" as inspiration for a Prince


Professor Massimo Ciavolella, University of California, USA
The Renasissance Prince and the Political Use of Theatre

Professor Peter McNeil, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Italy Design World Centre: from the Linea Italiana to the Made in Italy


Professor Marxiano Melotti, Niccolò Cusano University, Rome, Italy
Luxury and Leisure: Past and Future


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 Embassy Italy 2   fondazione sum 2     museo poldi pezzoli 2    Ansaldo     

 Prysmian Group   Melbourne Institute of Culture       Sydney Institute of Culture    Iveco





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