International Conference – The wandering artist

Education, knowledge and (self-)perception of artists of the 17th and 18th centuries

International Conference : 21–22 October 2022 at Vitromusée Romont, Switzerland

Numerous craftsmen and artists continued to travel after their training and journeyman years, some out of economic necessity or to further their education, and others simply to seek their fortune elsewhere. The extensive scope of such travels within Europe is well documented. A research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation on the Speyer glass and reverse glass painter – and wandering artist – Ulrich Daniel Metzger (1671–ca.1738) examines various aspects of his career. His travel and recipe book, which is held by the Vitromusée Romont, and other insights into his life gained in the research project document his travels and his professional activities, and the impact on his life of prevailing socio-economic, political and religious developments.

At the conference, we want to focus the discussion on the behaviour of figures such as Ulrich Daniel Metzger: artisan or artist? Figures who often found themselves in the shadow of the great artistic personalities of the day. We will be discussing the following questions: Can we discern economic, social and confessional characteristics within this group of wandering artists? Did confession determine the destinations chosen by these artists? To what extent could artists of one faith assert themselves in areas where another faith predominated, and what was the effect on their creativity? How did these individuals situate themselves between guild, court and academy? What possibilities and opportunities were open to them in the 17th and 18th centuries and what limitations may they have encountered? What were the living, working and market conditions like? Was further education possible and, if so, under what conditions? To what extent can we evaluate the knowledge, skills and self-image of these artists on the basis of the works they left behind? What other sources of information can help us find answers to these questions?

Submission of abstracts

Call for papers in PDF

Please send your abstract by 16 February 2022 to: cr:ryvfn.nzoebfvb:ivgebprager.pu. The text should include the title of the paper as well as the name and address of the author and should not exceed 2,500 characters (incl. spaces). Please include a CV (max. 800 characters). The conference languages are English, French and German. Abstracts may be submitted in any of the three languages.


The conference is organised by the Vitrocentre Romont.

Vitrocentre Romont Au Château P.O. Box 150 CH-1680 Romont Phone +41 (0)26 652 10 95 Fax +41 (0)26 652 49 17 cr:vasb:ivgebprager.pu