The waning of the Middle Ages witnessed Europe becoming the continent of the veduta. From the 15th century onwards countless numbers of „realistic“ depictions of cities were produced; innumerable publications in all kinds of media appeared literally all over Europe. In the 1980s a large-scale, interdisciplinary project was started.
In close cooperation historians and art historians aimed at compiling and analysing this artistic deluge, coordinated by the Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca sull’Iconografia della Città Europea of the University of Naples Federico II under the aegis of Cesare de Seta. By now these efforts resulted in the publication of a number of studies meticulously detailing, for instance, the various English, French, German, and Spanish vedute; last year these were joined by the multi-year effort, spear-headed by Bernd Roeck, to compile a comparable volume on the pictorial representation of the Swiss cities (pub. 2013).
The 2014 conference „Cityscapes in Europe and Asia (13th to 20th Century)“ will be held at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, on 10 and 11 October 2014. Resulting from a long-standing cooperation between the Chair of Early Modern History (Bernd Roeck) of the University of Zurich and the Chair of Modern Art History of the Graduate Institute of Art History (Shai-shu Tzeng), National Taiwan Normal University, Taipeh, the meeting intends to launch an interdisciplinary discussion on topics such as: who sponsored, wanted a veduta to be made? What about the specific cultural contexts in which these images are embedded? While some European vedute documented possession of or power over a certain city, other reflected (proto-) “bourgeois” patriotism, e.g., pride of liberties gained or preserved. A second working hypothesis of the planned conference is the supposition that these aspects of urban life were quite genuinely Latin European achievements (which, in most other contexts, existed only rudimentarily). Lastly, the conference will also discuss the relationships between urban iconography and its paratexts, including the humanists’ panegyricc writings, which will enable us to also assess and compare the different criteria of a city’s ‘beauty’.