Menacing Laughter and other Bodily Contortion

Research Seminar

  • Date: Nov 12, 2019
  • Time: 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Francesca Alberti
  • Location: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, 00187 Rom
  • Contact:
 Menacing Laughter and other Bodily Contortion
The conference will be an occasion to present my methodological approach of the visual culture of laughter during the Early Modern period, by focusing on the category of comic paintings that I did not analyze in La Peinture facétieuse (2016).

The production of pitture ridicule or comic paintings has been studied mainly in relation to theater and literature, focusing on its links to the emerging seventeenth century genre scenes. Yet, the perception and the effect of these paintings on the viewer have been largely overlooked probably because the adjective "ridiculous" seems to describe a laugh of superiority caused by the sight of something or someone that intentionally or unintentionally provokes the spectator's amusement. In the conference, I will suggest that these paintings were capable to both amuse and trouble the viewer by exploiting the aggressive, threatening, desacralizing and deceitful power of excessive laughter. Moreover, I will study their "grotesque mode" in relation to artistic awareness and ingenuity.

Francesca Alberti is currently Chargée de mission pour l'histoire de l'art at the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici, and Maître de conférences at the Université de Tours, Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance. She is the author of La Peinture facétieuse. Du rire sacré de Corrège aux fables burlesques de Tintoret (Actes Sud, 2016) and co-editor of the volumes Rire en images à la Renaissance (Brepols, 2018) and Penser l'étrangeté, L'histoire de l'art de la Renaissance italienne entre bizarrerie, extravagance et singularité (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2012). Her research focuses on the culture of laughter and its impact on the figurative tradition, Renaissance parody, and practices of scribbling.

Scientific organization: David Zagoury

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