Kissing Art in the Fifteenth-Century Italy

Adrian Randolph

Co-presented with the Power Institute

20 June

In this lecture I consider the idea and reality of kissing art, focusing on one set of particularly intriguing and intimate pictorial objects: paxes–small panels produced precisely to be kissed. My approach is not simply to describe these objects, which were produced by a number of important artists and possess intricate and haunting imagery, but also, drawing on the writings of Michel Serres, to see in them as structuring a particular relation to the spectator, one involving touch, intimacy, and sociability. All these run counter to many conceptions of Renaissance art that often seems to promote a form of visual distancing and a heroic, individual viewer.

Adrian Randolph

Adrian Randolph is Leon E. Williams Professor of Art History Associate Dean of the Arts & Humanities at Dartmouth College. His research and teaching focus on fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italy, with an emphasis on the city-state of Florence. His publications include studies of the development of public political art, the material and visual culture of marriage, the social production of urban spaces and configurations of masculinity in the visual arts. Professor Randolph is presently researching Renaissance Hybridity, exploring the representation of transformations and intersections between humans, animals, plants, and inanimate objects, and completing a book addressing gender and the experience of art in fifteenth-century Italy. He currently serves on the International Advisory Board of the journal Art History.