2015 ESNA Winter Seminar

ESNA winter seminar 30 January 2015 (Dutch spoken)
RKD, Prince Willem-Alexanderhof 5, 2595 BE the Hague

Following the successful seminar on the cooperation between museums and universities (31 January 2014), ESNA will organise another afternoon of debate. The topic will be recent methodological developments within 19th-century art-historical scholarship. As before, we welcome the participation of researchers from both universities and museums.

In recent decades, the field of art history, always multidisciplinary in character, has successfully made use of newly developed methodologies from cultural studies, media studies and aesthetics. A socio-economic and contextualising approach has proven most popular in the Netherlands: witness the growing number of studies on art market and the artist’s lived world since the 1990s. The relationship between the art object and politics was examined in April 2014 at the conference The Artwork Exposed. Reception aesthetics, in particular analyses of the medial faculties of the work of art and the role of the artist as media personality, provide new insights into 19th-century art history: see, for example, the international conference The Mediatization of the Artist in June 2014. Gender issues remain relevant and are part of the ongoing research into sculptors at the University of Ghent and the RKD. Recently, histoire croisée has lifted the traditionally nationalist boundaries of art-historical research onto a more global stage, with subsequent paradigm shifts: for example, the session National Histories of Art beyond the Nation’s Borders, announced for the AAH Conference in Norwich in 2015 (CFP on the ESNA website). And, last but not least, the field of digital humanities creates new points of view: can the application of network databases lead to new research questions? When considering these new approaches, the question arises: what do they have to offer us?

Traditional art-historical methodology meanwhile still serves its purpose, particularly in exhibitions and publications designed for a wider range of readers. One could think of the biographical approach, the analysis of an art object, the stylistic development within a body of work, and its historical positioning. Again we need to ask ourselves: what’s in it for the advancement of our particular field of research?

A third methodological issue ensues from recent art historiography itself: today we increasingly cross national boundaries; it is therefore all the more striking that much methodologically innovative research focuses on French 19th-century art. Current PhD research offers some examples: Camelia Errouane looks at the political connotations of the decorations of Paris’ mairies; Maite van Dijk examines the reception of foreign paintings at the Salon des Indépendants in the French press; and Mayken Jonkman trails Dutch artists on the road to Paris. Is French art still dominant within the study of the 19th-century, and how do American art- and cultural historians feature in this trend? How methodologically narrow-minded are we?

Stimulated by a number of short presentations, we will discuss the efficacy and scope of various research methods. In addition, we ask the question how we can implement new approaches in exhibitions and publications meant to appeal to a broad public.

Please note: Initially, we will not discuss the exciting and extensive field of digital humanities. This will be the theme of the ESNA winter seminar 2016.

Programme (please note: there is only one lecture in English)

13u: Doors open and registration

–          Welcome and introduction: Dr. Jenny Reynaerts (Rijksmuseum)

–          13.30-13.50u: Prof. dr. Saskia de Bodt (Universiteit Utrecht):
‘Per definitie interdisciplinair’ (‘Interdisciplinary by Definition’)

–          13.50-14.20u: Prof. dr. Wessel Krul (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen):
Hoe Nederlands is de Nederlandse kunst? Hippolyte Taine en de gevolgen (How Dutch is Dutch Art? Hippolyte Taine and the Sequences)

14.20-14.50u: Discussion and tea

–          14.50-15.10u: Dr. Jan Dirk Baetens (Radboud Universiteit):
Het falen van/in de kunstgeschiedenis: pleidooi voor een kunstgeschiedenis van mislukking en mislukkelingen (Art History’s Failure(s): Towards an Art History of Flops and Losers)

–          15.10-15.30u: Dr. Rachel Esner (Universiteit van Amsterdam):
The Artist and 19th-Century ‘New’ Media

–          15.30-15.50u: Drs. Maite van Dijk (van Gogh Museum):
De ontvangst van buitenlandse inzendingen op de Salon des Indépendants (The Reception of Foreign Art at the Salon des Indépendants)

15.50-16.15u: Discussion
16.15-17.00u: Drinks

The participation fee is € 15.00; please pay on the day.
Because of the limited number of places available, we ask you to please register via Esnaonline@hotmail.com until 15 January 2015, quoting: Studiemiddag 2015