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Department of History of Art


An online seminar co-organized by Caroline van Eck (Cambridge University), Isabelle Kalinowski and Mildred Galland-Szymkowiak (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris).

This seminar will consider theories of art and art history developed in the German-speaking world from 1750 to the late 20th century. During this period aesthetics as a philosophical discipline was born and branched out into several varieties. Art history became an academic discipline, incessantly in search of methodologies. Morphological approaches to art entered into a dialogue with more historical approaches to ancient and non-Western art. This vast corpus of thought remains to the present day an inexhaustible source of methodological tools to think about the arts. It is particularly relevant today because it took on the challenge of developing global theories of art and its histories, and sought to integrate perspectives on art and material culture from adjacent disciplines such as anthropology.

In the course of this seminar the main figures, texts and concepts will be analysed from an interdisciplinary perspective, bringing together art and architectural historians, philosophers, and specialists of German language and culture. It is hosted by the research laboratory Pays Germaniques (Isabelle Kalinowski) and the Department of Philosophy (Mildred Galland-Szymkowiak) at the Ecole Normale in Paris (Translitterae Graduate Program), as well as by the Department of Art History in Cambridge (Caroline van Eck).

In 2023-24 the seminar will offer two strands. In Michaelmas we will pursue our exploration of the main Germanophone thinkers on aesthetics, always focusing on the relations between their theories and the arts; in Lent and Easter the seminar will develop a new theme, that of the impact of emigration, forced by Nazism, on thinkers such as Cassirer, Kracauer, Panofsky, Wind, and Gombrich.

Please write to and for all enquiries or to register. The seminar is open to all graduate students in History of Art, History, Philosophy and German or French Studies.

The seminar sessions will take place on Wednesdays, from 3.30 to 5.30 pm (British time) = from 4.30 to 6.30 pm (French time) and will be online. They will be held in English. Once enrolled you will receive the link.


Programme for 2023-24:


18 October: Francis Haselden (Rennes 2/ENS-PSL), Schopenhauer's Drawings: Faces and Thoughts


15 November: Gabrielle Charrak (ENS-PSL/École du Louvre): Hegel’s Egyptian ‘Musée Imaginaire’


13 December: Emeline Durand (Université de Bourgogne): The Aesthetics of Rosenzweig in his Star of Redemption


17 January (Migrations 1): Olivier Agard (Sorbonne Université): Siegfried Kracauer


7 February (Migrations 2): Leopoldo Irizbarren (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales): Ernst Cassirer


(Thursday) 14 March (Migrations 3): Audrey Rieber (ENS Lyon): Erwin Panofsky


24 April (Migrations 4): Koenraad Vos (Cambridge): Edgar Wind


15 May (Migrations 5): Richard Woodfield (Birmingham): Ernst Gombrich