Call for Papers – Questioning “Gregorian Reform Art” (11th-12th c.): Challenges, Strategies, and New Approaches (2 sessions, virtual format)

CFP: Questioning “Gregorian Reform Art” (11th-12th c.):
Challenges, Strategies, and New Approaches (2 sessions, virtual format)
International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 11-13, 2023
University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI (USA)
Sponsored by the Italian Art Society,
Submission Deadline: September 15, 2022

Barbara Franzé, Lecturer, Universities of Neuchâtel and Lausanne
Gillian B. Elliott, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University

Call for Papers:

Since the early studies by Ernst Kitzinger and Hélène Toubert, art historians have interpreted the monumental decorative programs of Rome by placing formal inventiveness, new narrative strategies, and the intensification of figurative production of the reforming century in a causal relationship with the social issues of the Gregorian Reform movement. Even as research initiatives now consider a vast territory, from Northern Italy to France, the Iberian Peninsula, and the regions of Eastern Europe, the subject of “Gregorian Reform Art” remains controversial because skeptics continue to cast doubt on a systematic artistic reform agenda. The purpose of the two sessions is to free our discipline from the epistemological rut of the “all-encompassing reform agenda” or the “non-existent reform agenda” in which it is stuck, by proceeding on a case-by-case basis, through the examination of singular monuments. By analyzing iconography and its language, the art historian discovers the intentions expressed “hic et nunc” and reveals the issues presiding over the materialization of the decorations. By accumulating specific knowledge of individual monuments, the sessions aim to draw a more complete picture of a complex and changing phenomenon.

Session I. Rome and Northern Italy

For the first session we welcome papers about artistic programs in Rome, its surrounding area and northern Italy.

Session II. To the Boundaries

For the second session we wish to widen the debate to the “off-center” territories of the reform (Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, etc.) and the question of a universalist (i.e., Western European), character of the pontifical project.

Please submit proposals that consider, but are not limited to, the following possible topics:

  • Individual monumental artistic programs in Italy
  • Comparisons of a range of monuments
  • Shifting definitions of “Gregorian Reform Art”
  • Methodological approaches to political interpretation and artistic programs
  • Hybrid spaces and meanings
  • The artistic language of the reform
  • Universal vs. local political agendas

Please submit abstracts of 200 words no later than September 15, 2022, to Barbara Franzé at and Gillian Elliott at

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