Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Farewell symposium for Professor Henk Th. Van Veen

On the 9th and 10th of January a farewell symposium was organized at the University of Groningen to honour the work of Professor Van Veen, who retired last October. Van Veen’s scholarly career in the history of art, however, is far from over! In the coming years he will dedicate himself to the continuation and professionalization of the Patrician Patronage Project (PPP), a project that aims to gain further insight into the interesting world of Florentine patrician patronage during (grand-)ducal rule in Tuscany (1530-1670).

During the symposium several members of the Patrician Patronage Project shared their research with the audience, together with other art historians that were invited to address Professor Van Veen. On Friday the symposium was opened by Joost Keizer, a former student of Professor Van Veen who has recently been appointed assistant professor at the Art History department in Groningen. He spoke about Michelangelo’s Laurentian library and the historization of Art History. Elisa Goudriaan, who received her doctorate with Professor Van Veen as one of her promotors last April, discussed her new research on the diplomatic missions undertaken by Florentine patricians at the courts of Europe. The keynote speech was delivered by Alessio Assonitis, director of the Medici Archive Project. In a fascinating lecture he showed the diversity of grand duke Cosimo I’s library. The day was ended with a contribution of Professor Van Veen; step by step he reconstructed the design of a never built fountain by Baccio Bandinelli that was commissioned by duke Cosimo for his Pitti gardens.

On Saturday several members of the PPP took the floor. Bouk Wierda (PPP) talked about some fascinating aspects of the life of the Florentine patrician and cultural broker Bernardo Vecchietti. Sanne Roefs (PPP) presented new insights on the urban and ecclesiastical patronage of the Guicciardini family. Klazina Botke (PPP) presented the construction of the garden and the decoration of the Salviati palace, commissioned by Jacopo Salviati, to the audience. Julia Dijkstra (PPP) discussed two bronzes by Cellini: the portrait of duke Cosimo I and the portrait of Bindo Altoviti. She wondered whether there was a clash of titans to be noticed in the commissioning of the works of art. Lastly, Lotte van ter Toolen (PPP) took the audience – slightly off topic, but all the more interesting – to Rome in order to discuss the curious case of the tomb monument of Fra Angelico in Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

Michiel Plomp, who obtained his doctorate with Van Veen as his promotor, shed light on the coming about of the exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings that will open in the fall of 2018 in Teylers museum (Haarlem, The Netherlands). Lastly, Jan de Jong gave an interesting and humoristic overview of Professor Van Veen’s career at the University of Groningen.

The fascinating two-day symposium not only showed the importance of Professor Van Veen’s contribution to the field of Art History, in particular to the study of (grand) duke Cosimo I’s patronage, but attested to the fact that there is much to be explored and researched in the field of Florentine patrician patronage in the period 1530-1670 as well.

In the coming months members of the Patrician Patronage Project will share their – sometimes adventurous, or incredible – stories on quests they undertook while researching the patronage of Florentine patrician families with you on this blog.

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