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Department of History of Art


The 2023-2024 Professor of Fine Art is Professor Pascal Griener. This lecture series is entitled: 'The fate of Art in the Industrial Age: Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), and the Gates of Hell (1880-1917) in context'.

The history of the human race on earth now has a name: the Anthropocene. During the nineteenth century, the Anthropocene entered a crucial phase, that of industrialisation. Progress was being made at a very rapid pace, but the price to be paid was very high, notably in terms of the division of labour or the parcelling up of manufacture in small, repetitive tasks.  These developments did not even spare the art world. The mechanical production and reproduction of artworks gained much ground. These changes compelled most artists to question their practice, their understanding of art and even their identity.

Auguste Rodin was not only a major sculptor of the modern period, but also a technician who made full use of several new industrial processes that had been invented over the course of the nineteenth century. Rodin was also aware that he was living in an age of great upheaval. His masterpiece – The Gates of Hell – bears witness to an art world refashioned by industry. But it also unfolds a complex, contradictory, and ultimately tragic vision of Humanity on the threshold of the twentieth century.

Professor Pascal Griener, is Emeritus Professor of Art History and Museology at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, and now teaches at the Centre de Recherches, Ecole du Louvre, Paris, and Univ. Sorbonne, Abu Dabi (UAE). Prof. Griener’s completed a D. at the EHESS, Paris under the direction of Louis Marin, and a D. Phil. at Oxford under the direction of Francis Haskell. His main fields of research are the history of collections, historiography of art, history of the perception of art works (directly/through media), history of picture restoration, history of taste, history of material culture.

  • Tuesday 17th October: Auguste Rodin in his Time
  • Tuesday 31st October: Representing Reality in Space and Time
  • Tuesday 7th November: Artistic Creation in the Age of the Serial Production
  • Thursday 9th November: A New Image of the Renaissance
  • Tuesday 14th November: “Ceci tuera cela”: The Gates of Hell and the modern myth of the Cathedral
  • Tuesday 21st November: A new Dante for a secular age
  • Tuesday 28th November: Creating/Collecting art works
  • Thursday 30th November: The Artist’s Museum, a heterotopia around 1900.

All lectures will take place in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College from 5-6pm.Lectures are open to all and pre-registration is not required.