In preparation for the “Symposium XXII for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting”, UCL (Louvain-la-Neuve) and Musea Brugge and its Flemish Research Center for the Arts of the Burgundian Netherlands, in collaboration with the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (Brussels), its Centre for the Study of the Flemish Primitives, and Illuminare (Centre for the Study of Medieval Art, KU Leuven), invite you to submit an abstract on the theme: ‘Alla Maniera’: Technical art history and the meaning of style in 15th to 17th century painting.

Ever since 15th and early 16th century writers used the word maniera to describe an artist’s personal style, the term has known many ambivalent meanings. Alla maniera di … implied the deliberate and eclectic imitation of someone else’s style (for example that of Raphael or Michelangelo) and also offered the possibility that an artist had more than one maniera at his or her disposal. This ambivalence presents a challenge for stylistic analysis which has always been an important art historical tool for dating, situating and attributing works of art. For painting, this has traditionally been limited to the surface appearance but technical examination and scientific analysis now reveal additional layers of information that may offer a better and even different understanding of style. Infrared photography and reflectography can reveal underdrawing and offer insights on technique and working methods. Imagery and analysis often bring to light more details on the development of the composition, the paint layer structure and materials used. Recent developments in artificial intelligence may offer alternative perspectives on these questions. The symposium focusses on how technical research can provide additional insights or challenges concerning the style of an individual painter, a workshop or a group of painters. Stylistic similarities might indicate cultural, social, geographical or chronological connections in paintings, drawings, prints, applied arts, etc. as well as across artistic media.

We welcome submissions related to paintings from the 15th to the 17th century from an art historical, scientific, curatorial or conservation perspective. The authors of selected abstracts will be invited to speak at the international conference, to be held in Bruges. The language of the conference will be English. Each speaker will be given 20 minutes (plus 5 minutes for questions and discussion). The conference proceedings will be published.

We would be very grateful if you would send us a preliminary title, a short abstract (maximum 300 words) and your curriculum vitae as soon as possible and at the latest by 20 November 2019 to

For more information, please see the symposium website.