Home  |   About INEM  |   Projects  |   Tools  |   Contact  |   Legal information  |   Privacy Policy

Professors challenge previous notions of the Renaissance - Nov. 28, 2013

Professors challenge previous notions of the Renaissance - Nov. 28, 2013

A team of researchers are leading a ground-breaking study, which challenges the notion of the Renaissance as an era dominated by secular thinking. 

The aim of the project DD.POP ('Domestic Devotions: The Place of Piety in the Italian Renaissance Home') is to develop new understanding of this period and to challenge assumptions that it was an era marked by secularisation. Particular emphasis will be centred on breaking free from the traditional canon of 'great' art and literature. In particular the period between1400-1600 will be examined as an age of spiritual - not just cultural and artistic - revitalisation. 

The team will consist of nine scholars, all based at the University of Cambridge, with three principal investigators leading the project; Dr Mary Laven (History), Dr Abigail Brundin (from the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages) and Dr Deborah Howard (Architecture and History of Art).They were successful in securing EUR 2.3 million in funding from the European Research Council (ERC), one of only two projects from the Humanities and Social Sciences to be awarded a Synergy Grant. 

Professor Laven says the project is really about supporting people who will bring together different skills and disciplinary backgrounds in order to cast light on the experience of religion behind the doors of the Italian Renaissance household. 

'Thanks to the Synergy Grant, we shall have the resources to undertake intensive fieldwork in archives, museums, and libraries across the Italian peninsula,' she explains. 'In particular, our research will focus on the understudied regions of Naples, the Marche and the Venetian mainland. 

Furthermore, ERC funding will allow the researchers to hold a unique exhibition, which will bring the results of our research on domestic devotion to the attention of a wider public.' 

Dr Brundin adds, 'Our pooled knowledge and expertise are key to this project, which, in the way of arts and humanities research, gains its strength and vitality from the bringing together of people, and the opportunity to arrive at a 360-degree view of a research question that alone we could never achieve.' 

Beneficiaries of the project are expected to include an academic constituency consisting of scholars of Renaissance Italy, historians of religion, material culture, reading, domestic space, family and gender. In addition, a major international conference will provide the opportunity for dialogue and exchange with scholars working across the early modern world. The scholars also anticipate public interest in the project, which will derive from an exhibition and related events.

Nov. 28, 2013