Walter Pater, The Renaissance, and Legacies of Aestheticism

Trinity College, Oxford

26-27 June 2023

Marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Walter Pater’s Studies in the History of the Renaissance, this two-day conference will consider the place of Pater and The Renaissance in nineteenth-century debates on art, literature and culture, their legacies and those of aestheticism into the twenty-first century.
Pater’s first book, which he retitled The Renaissance in 1877, represented a turning point in nineteenth-century English art writing: it promoted new ideas on art and aesthetics whose influence went well beyond art-historical circles. Pater’s style and his sometimes controversial doctrine of art for art’s sake played a fundamental role in the development of aestheticism and decadence, literary impressionism and later in the genesis of modernism. His handling of artists’ lives predates ideas and techniques associated with psychoanalysis and queer historiography.
Organised jointly by the International Walter Pater Society and the scholarly journal Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism, the conference will examine the diverse legacies of Pater’s Renaissance.
Conference programme.