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Call for Papers: Celestial Bodies and their Orbit in Art

  • 2013-04-11
  • 2013-04-13
  • University of Reading, UK
39th Annual Association of Art Historians Conference and Bookfair

University of Reading
11-13 April 2013

Session: Celestial Bodies and their Orbit in Art


Maria Athanasekou, Art Historian,
Anne Lawrence-Mathers, University of Reading,
Evgenia Zouzoula, Archaeologist,

The visible planets and the stars have provided important themes and images for artistic practitioners in almost all human cultures. Ancient peoples made close observations of planetary orbits, and constructed complex calendars upon this data. Awareness of astral influences upon the Earth also supported the allocation of various attributes to individual planets, stars and constellations, as well as their deification. Thus, the celestial bodies, and their representations, have played key roles within a wide range of discursive practices, including those of religion, science and magic.

This session seeks to explore celestial imagery and its significance in the period before the construction of advanced telescopes made close viewing of the nearer planets possible. In other words, the focus will be upon the transmission and contestation of imagery and meanings within and across cultures from antiquity through the European Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Examples of specific issues to be addressed might include:
  • Planetary imagery and magical power
  • Planets and personification
  • Astrology and the visual arts
  • Celestial bodies, cosmology and religious discourse(s)
  • Celestial imagery and scientific practice
  • Stars and the sciences of time.
Paper proposal deadline: 12 November 2012

It is our intention to have the proceedings of the session published.

For further information check the conference homepage at


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