Thursday, 5 March 2009

CFP: Old Age and Late Works (15th-21st Centuries) (Poitiers, France)

10 - 12 DECEMBER 2009

Sponsored by the Université de Poitiers, UFR Sciences Humaines et Arts, GERHICO

Artists’ longevity is a topic that raises question about biography’s impact on creation. Artistic production in old age often coincides with a drastic change of style, resulting from a reconsideration of preceding skills and positions, if not a return to basics. This final season of life has fed the romantic myth of the elderly genius’s absolute liberty of expression, reaching an
incomparable dramatic intensity, as a constant in major artists’ late production throughout history.

The old age of artists has been, however, a subject of debate since the Renaissance, when senility’s consequences on artistic creation were often denounced as a defect. Historiography has long fluctuated between these two interpretative positions, glorifying the liberty of expression of late works or denigrating the imperfections of their workmanship or conception.

Most recently, scholars have considered the status of late works in relation to the psychological, cultural and social conditions that the negative consideration of old age could have on senior artists’ production, independent of its quality. In spite of the attention paid to this topic, we still lack for a comprehensive view that considers late artistic creation over a long period and in different fields of expression, allowing us to question its specificity with respect to the wider spectrum of intellectual and scientific production by those of advanced age.

This conference’s purpose is therefore to treat the topic of old age and its late creations over an extended chronology – from the Renaissance to the modern era – in visual arts, music and literature, establishing a dialogue between those different disciplines.

For more information:

Submissions dead-line : 31 march 2009 (text : at most 2.000 characters; curriculum vitae : at most 1 page) Contact : diane.bodart at

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