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Dynamics of Artistic Interaction in the Swiss Space (Middle Ages and Early Modern Period)


29 septembre 2020


Dre Manuela Studer-Karlen, UNIFr Dr Thomas Kaffenberger, UNIFr


Prof. Frédéric Elsig, UNIGe M. Jürg Goll, UNIZh NN Dre Manuela Studer-Karlen, UNIFr Dr Thomas Kaffenberger, UNIFr Prof. Michele Bacci, UNIFr


The workshop, organised at the University of Fribourg on 21.04.2020, aims at gathering young scholars dealing with the history of Medieval and Early Modern art in the cultural context corresponding to present-day Switzerland. The general aim will be to think on and discuss some general questions as to the objectives, theoretical frame, and methodologies of our art-historical understanding of Switzerland as a site of multiple geographies and dynamic artistic exchange.

The research on the country's heritage has namely played an important role in the development of new interpretive paradigms which, in the 20th century, contributed to overcome the nationalistic approaches inherited from traditional art history and, in particular, the notion of Kunstlandschaft. The notion of art as a strategy through which a human group, defined as a coherent and internally homogeneous cultural entity, gives a distinctive and original shape to the region where it is settled has been especially challenged by Enrico Castelnuovo's understanding of the Alpine space of Switzerland and its neighbouring countries as a cultural frontier where the artistic traditions stemming from different major centres frequently coexist and give birth to a complex, variegated juxtaposition of artistic manifestations of different origins. New perspectives have been opened by the subsequent studies by Dario Gamboni and Frederic Elsig, who have laid emphasis on the need to expand the notion of "artistic geography" by exploring the specific cultural, material, religious, and political factors underlying the stylistic manifestations privileged in each context and in different historical phases.

A number of recent studies have been committed to investigating the specific dynamics of artistic exchange in Medieval and early Modern societies, especially in the Mediterranean context, by laying emphasis on the ways in which some forms, originally associated with the artistic tradition of a specific community, came to be selected, used, and transformed by another in a specific context. The appropriation of other people's form can be either intentional or unintentional and can result from the combination of different factors (such as the mobility of objects and artists, the reuse of spolia, the aesthetic efficacy of some specific forms, the technical efficacy of some objects, the purposeful imitation of forms associated with specific political and religious meamngs, the intensity of commumcations between different areas, the coexistence of different groups, etc.).
The Fribourg workshop will tackle such issues and discuss the limits and advantages of such new methodologies when applied to the Swiss macroregional context in the Late Middle Ages and the early Modern period.

During the workshop day, 4-5 PhD candidates will prepare papers related to their current research, which investigate topics within this methodological context. Two renowned specialists for medieval and early modern Swiss art history will be present during the day and contribute keynote speeches.

We would like to ask current PhD students interested in the above-described topic for submission of paper proposals of around half a page, for papers of ca. 30 minutes. Papers can be held in French, German or English. Deadline for the submission of an abstract is the 31.01.2020, it should be sent to or
Manuela Studer-Karlen
Thomas Kaffenberger
Michele Bacci







Délai d'inscription 29.09.2020
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