The Emotions of Love in the Art of Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Date: Thursday 4 May ‒ Saturday 6 May 2017

Venue: Thursday and Friday – The University of Melbourne, Woodward Conference Centre, 10th floor, Melbourne Law (Building 106), 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

Venue: Saturday – The National Gallery of Victoria, Clemenger Auditorium, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Convenors: Charles Zika and Angela Hesson

Contact: Julie Davies (

See the conference website for full information


Please register by Friday 28 April. Registrations will not be available at the venue.


Full Reg – 3 days: Full $80, Students and unwaged $50

Daily Reg

Day one: Full $30, Students and unwaged $20

Day two: Full $30, Students and unwaged $20

Day three (at NGV): Full $40, Students and unwaged $25

Conference Dinner

Full $80, Students and unwaged $45

The Conference dinner will be held at the Carlton Wine Room on Thursday evening.

Love in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe was a complex emotion, a constellation of feelings shaped and reflected by artists, writers and thinkers that sought to give expression to human experience and also provide models for individual and group behavior. Notions of love took different forms and involved a range of emotions across time and space, under the influence of changing community norms, cultural practices, political institutions and social media. This symposium coincides with the exhibition ‘Love: Art of Emotion 1400–1800’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, 31 March–18 June 2017, which draws on the NGV’s permanent collection of European art. The accompanying symposium will engage with and extend the themes presented in the exhibition primarily through visual art, but also through literature and music. It will explore how artists expressed and aroused feelings of love through gesture and facial expression, colour and shape, the context of place and narrative, the representation of bodies, and references to contemporary rituals and practices. It will examine the ways different forms of love, including affection, friendship, intimacy, erotic desire, jealousy and compassion were applied to various objects of love – such as family and kin, the divinity and saints, fatherlands and the self. It will consider how these representations created new understandings of love, which in turn influenced developments in the religious, political, cultural and domestic spheres.

SPEAKERS: David Areford (University of Massachusetts, Art History), Katie Barclay (The University of Adelaide, History), Lisa Beaven (The University of Melbourne, Art History), Jane Davidson (The University of Melbourne, Musicology), Dagmar Eichberger (University of Heidelberg, Art History), Vivien Gaston (The University of Melbourne, Art History), Katrina Grant (Australian National University, Art History), Sally Holloway (Richmond University, History), Petra Kayser (NGV, Prints & Drawings), Dale Kent (The University of Melbourne, History), David Marshall (The University of Melbourne, Art History), Sophie Matthiesson (NGV, International Art), Jennifer Milam (The University of Sydney, Art History), Mark Nicholls (The University of Melbourne, Cinema Studies), John Payne (NGV, Conservation), Mark Shepheard (The University of Melbourne, Art History), Patricia Simons (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Art History), Robert Toft (Western University, Ontario, Musicology), Miya Tokumitsu (The University of Melbourne, Art History), Stephanie Trigg (The University of Melbourne, English), Arvi Wattel (The University of Western Australia, Art History) and Anna Welch (State Library of Victoria, History).

This symposium is associated with the exhibition ‘Love: Art of Emotion 1400–1800’ at NGV International, open until 18 June 2017.

Full program and abstracts available from:

Image: Sebald Beham, Venus (1539), from The Seven Planets series (1539). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1923. Accession number: 1278.582-3.