Italian masters under discussion at major university conference


THE work of Italian masters such as Titian is to be explored in a major conference on the art of 16th-century Venice.

Leading academics from across Europe and North America are expected to attend the event along with curators of some of the most important art museums in the world.

The event, to take place at the University of St Andrews 4-5 May, will see a distinguished team of international scholars presenting their latest research.

Works by Titian will be discussed at the conference

It will follow the launch tomorrow (Friday April 6) of a major exhibition of Italian Renaissance art in Glasgow.

These events coincide with the retirement of Professor Peter Humfrey, Professor of Art History at St Andrews.

Professor Humfrey is a world expert in Italian Renaissance art and has had a distinguished 35-year career at the University.

The exhibition at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, The Essence of Beauty: 500 Years of Italian Art, will display 45 of the finest Italian paintings owned by Glasgow Museums.

Some of these paintings have not been displayed for many years, and several have been newly restored for the occasion.

Prof Humfrey has been working with Glasgow Museums for several years preparing a scholarly catalogue of this collection, and its publication will coincide with the opening of the exhibition.

Prof Humfrey said: “The exhibition will offer an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Glasgow Museums’ collection of Italian paintings.

“Although still too little known, it is among the impressive of any in the UK, both for its quality and for its chronological range.”

The exhibition will subsequently go on tour to Compton Verney in Warwickshire, and to five museums in the USA and Canada.


The May Italian Renaissance art conference is being organised by Dr Laura Moretti, lecturer in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews.

The conference papers will be published with a collection of further scholarly essays in a special issue of the prestigious academic journal Artibus et Historiae in Prof Humfrey’s honour.

It has been funded with the help of grants from the Russell Trust, the Society for Renaissance Studies, and the Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh.

Professor Deborah Howard, Professor of Architectural History at Cambridge University will give O E Saunders lecture the evening before the conference on 3 May on Art versus Craft in Renaissance Venice.

The lecture is held in honour of O Elfrida Saunders, one of the first women to achieve a lectureship at St Andrews who went on to publish a fundamental study of English Manuscript Illumination in 1928 and generously donated to the university’s history of art department.

Prof Humfrey added: “Ever since the foundation of the School of Art History (then known as the Department of Fine Arts) by the late John Steer in 1967, Venetian painting of the Renaissance period has formed a central part of its teaching programme.

“The conference at St Andrews on 3-5 May will offer the opportunity to celebrate this tradition in the company of leading experts from Britain, Europe and North America.”