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SU's Fall 2008 Ray Smith Symposium to take different perspective on Michelangelo's work

September 23, 2008

Judy Holmes
(315) 443-2201

Judy Holmes

Syracuse University's Fall 2008 Ray Smith Symposium, "Rethinking Michelangelo," will be held from Friday, Oct. 3, through Sunday, Oct. 5. The symposium will address questions and issues associated with drawings and graphic materials featured in the SUArt Galleries exhibition "Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth."

Presented by The College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Council, the symposium is free and open to the public, though registration is required and space is limited. An online registration form is available at The registration deadline is Oct. 2. Information is also availableby e-mailing or calling 443-4184.

SU 2008 Jeannette K. Watson Visiting Professor William Edward Wallace will present the keynote address, "Michelangelo Reverses the Rules," Friday, Oct. 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the Life Sciences Complex Auditorium. The keynote address does not require pre-registration and is free and open to the public. Reduced-rate parking is available in the Booth Garage.

Wallace's lecture will survey Michelangelo's sculptures and examine how the artist first cultivated and then manipulated the terms and expectations of Renaissance patronage, thereby reversing the rules. In the process, Wallace will explore why and how Michelangelo became a sculptor and the dynamic relationship between Michelangelo, the willful creator, and the opportunities afforded him by patrons.

Wallace is the Barbara Murphy Bryant Distinguished Professor of Art History at Washington University, where he teaches about early and High Renaissance art, architecture and culture. Wallace has written more than 80 essays, chapters and articles (as well as two works of fiction), and is author and editor of four books on Michelangelo.

The symposium will continue on Saturday, Oct. 4, with a daylong series of lectures to be held from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Life Sciences Complex Auditorium. Discussions will focus on three broad areas of the Renaissance master's life and work:

  • "Men and Women in the Art and Life of Michelangelo," which will include a lecture by Michael Rocke, the Nicky Mariano Librarian in the Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti: The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies;

  • "Michelangelo Draws," which will include a lecture by Silvia Catitti, professor of architecture at the University of Rome Institute at Palazzo Rucellai; and

  • "Michelangelo in Word and Print," which will include a lecture by Roberto Leporatti, professor of Italian at the University of Geneva.

The symposium will conclude with an invitation-only scholarly workshop on Sunday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., during which experts in literary, artistic, architectural, gender and other studies will address the larger challenges of understanding Michelangelo and his accomplishments, as well as the ways in which different perspectives on the artist may or may not be compatible with one another.

The Ray Smith Symposium Series was established in 1989 as the result of a bequest from the estate of SU alumnus Ray W. Smith '21 to support symposia on topics in the humanities in SU's College of Arts and Sciences. Travel for international speakers is being supported with a generous grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The College of Arts and Sciences Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship in the Humanities brings to campus scholars and writers whose work is esteemed throughout the humanities. The professorship was made possible by the generosity of the late Jeannette K. Watson.

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