Call for Papers Uncategorized

CFP: The Network of Cassinese Arts, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Florence, 16-18 Mar 2017

800px-abbey_of_saint_scholastica2c_subiacoCFP: The Network of Cassinese Arts, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Florence, 16-18 Mar 2017
Deadline: Oct 30, 2016

Organized by Alessandro Nova and Giancarla Periti

From the late fifteenth to the mid sixteenth century, an impressive
corpus of architecture, sculpture, and painting was created to
embellish monastic sites affiliated with the Benedictine Cassinese
Congregation of Italy. A religious order of humanistically trained
monks whose mobility among the network of Cassinese monasteries was
paramount to their spiritual reformed agenda, the Cassinese fruitfully
engaged with the most eminent artists and architects of the early
modern period, supporting the production of imagery and architecture
that was often highly experimental in nature. The Cassinese
Congregation constituted a spiritual infrastructure that spread across
the northern, central and southern regions of Italy, through which not
only monks but also works and models circulated, intersected, and
interacted. The mobility and flow of artists, materials, and motifs
tied together the reformed religious communities affiliated with the
Cassinese Congregation and simultaneously connected an antique with a
modern Christian artistic corpus. This system resulted in a virtual
continuum linking works of architecture, sculpture, and painting,
including the Byzantine church of San Vitale in Ravenna, the Norman
cloister of Monreale (Palermo), and Raphael’s Sistine Madonna in

Scholarship has presented the Cassinese monks principally as learned
patrons of ambitious but locally-inflected works created by credited
Renaissance masters. But such an approach has obscured the fact that
these modern instances of Cassinese Christian arts existed within a
larger cultural network and coexisted with others of differing value,
including the management of late antique buildings, the preservation of
Byzantine mosaics, and the custody of poorly made votive images in
popular shrines. Not only did these lesser-known episodes assure the
survival of late antique arts, and artifacts of limited aesthetic
appeal, but they also provided occasions for Renaissance masters active
in Cassinese communities to confront alternative forms of antiquity in
a dialogue among the arts for the reinvention of a modern Christianized

The present conference proposes itself as a forum for the task of
reconnecting various artistic episodes that were once Cassinese
initiatives in Renaissance Mediterranean Italy and of re-considering
the spatial monastic settings in which the artworks were originally
placed. Investigating the network of Cassinese arts therefore offers a
fresh occasion to gain new perspectives on a rich body of antique and
Renaissance artworks and their life across time, as well as their
makers’ approaches to past models, recipients’ modalities of viewing
and the pressures put on images as agents of religious reform.

Proposals engaging with all aspects of the network of Cassinese arts
are welcome, with a preference for investigations of little-explored
Cassinese works in southern Italy or new readings of major artworks and
their modes of functioning. Comparative approaches to cycles depicting
rebus-like art forms such as grotesques and hieroglyphs are also of
great interest, as are explorations of the social life of Renaissance
artists building on the evidence that some set up workshops within the
Cassinese precincts while working for the monks. Other topics could
include the appropriation and recycling of Early Christian and
Byzantine materials in Cassinese edifices, the ecological management of
built resources (for example, the transfer of antique columns from San
Vitale in Ravenna to the abbey of Santa Maria del Monte in Cesena) that
served to symbolically link Cassinese monasteries, and considerations
on the Cassinese visual network of the sacred, spreading throughout
Mediterranean Italy by means of copies of primary objects and the
mobility of monks, artists and forms.

How to Submit: Please send your proposal (maximum 400 words) and CV in English, German and/or Italian to Dott.ssa Mandy Richter:

Call for Papers Uncategorized

CFP: New Tendences in research on the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance

1280px-san_miniato_intarsio_dei_12_segni_zodiacali_06CFP: Neue Tendenzen der Italienforschung Workshop, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence, November 7-9 2016
Deadline: May 31, 2016

Vom 7. bis 9. November 2016 findet am Kunsthistorischen Institut in
Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut der interdisziplinäre Workshop “Neue
Tendenzen der Italienforschung zu Mittelalter und Renaissance” für
Nachwuchswissenschaftlerinnen und Nachwuchswissenschaftler statt. Ziel
des Workshops ist es, die jüngeren Ansätze der Italienforschung in
Geschichte und Kunstgeschichte zusammenzubringen, zu kommentieren,
kritisch zu würdigen und vor allem die Italienforschung in Deutschland
durch den Austausch insgesamt zu stärken. Die Veranstaltung gibt
fortgeschrittenen Doktoranden/Doktorandinnen, Post-Docs und
Habilitanden/Habilitandinnen vor allem aus der Geschichte und
Kunstgeschichte des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit bis um 1600 die
Gelegenheit, ihre Projekte vorzustellen und diskutieren zu lassen.
Vertreter und Vertreterinnen beider Epochen, beider Disziplinen und
aller anschlussfähigen Nachbardisziplinen sind willkommen.

Der Call for papers richtet sich an Nachwuchswissenschaftler/innen, die
unter anderem zu folgenden Schwerpunktbereichen arbeiten: Raum- und
Stadtgeschichte, Kartographie und Weltbild, Mittelmeergeschichte,
Sakralität und Objekte, Kirchen-, Ordens- und Papstgeschichte,
Schriftlichkeit, Gender Studies, Kunsttheorie und Begriffsgeschichte.

Geplant ist die Einladung von ca. 15 ausgewählten Doktoranden/innen und
Habilitanden/innen, deren Arbeiten wechselweise kommentiert werden.
Dazu sollte eine Kurzform der jeweiligen Präsentationen bis spätestens
zum 30. Oktober eingereicht werden, um schon vor der Tagung
wechselweise gelesen zu werden. Im Workshop selbst steht die Diskussion
im Vordergrund. Die Betreuung erfolgt seitens der Geschichte durch
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Baumgärtner (Universität Kassel) und Prof. Dr. Klaus
Herbers (FAU Erlangen Nürnberg), seitens der Kunstgeschichte durch
Prof. Dr. Tanja Michalsky (BH Rom), Prof. Dr. Alessandro Nova (KHI
Florenz) und Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf (KHI Florenz).

Die Kosten für Reise und Unterbringung können anteilig übernommen
werden, wenn eine Finanzierung von anderer Seite nicht möglich ist.

How to submit: Bitte schicken Sie ein einseitiges Abstract für eine 20-25minütige
Präsentation sowie einen kurzen akademischen Lebenslauf auf Deutsch,
Englisch oder Italienisch an und

Bei Rückfragen stehen wir gern zur Verfügung.

Veranstalter: Prof. Dr. Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel), Prof. Dr. Klaus
Herbers (Erlangen Nürnberg), Prof. Dr. Tanja Michalsky (Rom), Prof. Dr.
Alessandro Nova (Florenz) und Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf (Florenz)


Job: Postdoctoral Position at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Project “Language(s) of Art History”

kunsthistorisches-institut-in-florenz-max-planck-institutJob: Postdoctoral Position at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Project “Language(s) of Art History”
Deadline for applications: 15 March 2016

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Department of Professor Alessandro Nova, invites qualified candidates to apply for one postdoctoral position.

Starting on 1 June 2016, the position is offered for two years. We are looking for outstanding candidates with passive German language skills, who are interested in the problem of how language shapes and limits intellectual discourse in art history (“Language(s) of Art History”).

Candidates are asked to address their application in German, English or Italian, in a single pdf (max. 2 MB), via e-mail to Prof. Dr. Alessandro Nova (, including the following documents:

  • detailed cv with photo
  • certificate of graduation / PhD
  • research proposal (max. 2 pages)
  • two reference letters

The deadline for applications is 15 March 2016.

More information:

Jobs Uncategorized

Job: Research Collaborator (pre-doctoral, part-time) (Florence)

Research Collaborator (pre-doctoral, part-time)
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (KHI)
Deadline: 8 December 2014

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (KHI) invites applications for the post of research collaborator at the pre-doctoral level (Wissenschaftliche Assistentin / Wissenschaftlicher Assistent) for three years in the department of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf.

KHIThe position is intended for excellent young scholars interested in pursuing research for their dissertation at the institute as well as in collaborating in its ongoing or future projects. The KHI is a Max-Planck-Institute focused on investigating the history and theory of Italian and Mediterranean art, architecture and object culture in their global connections. Doctoral students from all disciplines engaging with these fields from Antiquity to the present are encouraged to apply. What is important is the quality and originality of the project proposal.

Part of the collaborator’s time will be committed to directed research in the projects and activities of Professor Wolf’s department (for a list, see: We seek an independent, creative-thinking scholar with an interest in collaborative research.

Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program and demonstrate proficiency in two foreign languages. The research collaborator is expected to reside in Florence and fully participate in the activities and intellectual life of the KHI. The position is awarded without regard to nationality.

The application (in English, Italian, German) must include:

– a cover letter, which includes goals and motives for applying;
– the names and contact details of two referees;
– a dissertation proposal (max 100 words);
– a curriculum vitae;
– a summary of the master’s thesis (max 500 words)
– two letters of referees

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from disabled individuals.

Applicants are required to merge all the documents in a single PDF (max. 2 MB) and submit it via e-mail to by 8 December 2014.

Call for Papers Call for Participants Uncategorized Upcoming Events

CFP: Imaging the Public Square (Florence, 22-24 October 2015)

Call for Papers:
Imaging the Public Square. International conference within the framework of the „Piazza and Monumento“ project at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
Florence, 22 – 24 October 2015
Deadline: 15 January 2015

Recent broadcasts of scenes playing out in Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine have reinforced our awareness of the significance of the public square as a venue of action and assembly. As a consequence of protest movements, but also independently of them, images circulated in various media have participated in the construction of a visual culture of the public square. Each of these images should be historicised and analysed according to its own logic. The conference, organized by the collaborators of the “Piazza e Monumento” project at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institut, will take the image and imagination of the square as a point of departure for a discussion, ideally through comparative analysis, of the following themes:

The square is often the result of a pictorial concept in the architectural planning process, whether it results in entirely new venues or the partial alteration of older ones. Carl Linfert has provided a methodological model for this kind of research in his investigation of tactile responses to the architectural drawing. Regarding the depiction of the public square in architectural designs, the question likewise arises: how do approaches to representation shape the image of the square, and how do they relate to structural, formal-aesthetic, legal, and urban-spatial conditions and possibilities? The built city and the designed city are mutually dependent entities. The degree to which architectural designs are capable of intervening in the existing structure of a city is thus worthy of consideration. In other words, to what extent do such plans and drawings develop a dynamic of their own, above and beyond the function assigned them, leading in the long term to changes in the existing built environment?

II ARTISTIC REPRESENTATIONS OF THE CITY SQUARE: The square is often the main feature of a picture, situated in a larger spatial context, and it can be regarded as an embodiment of the city – regardless of whether we are looking at prints of the Early Modern era of the Meidan in Isfahan, built by Shah Abbas I, Menzel’s painting of the Piazza della Erbe in Verona, or photos of Tahir Square in Egypt in the 1950s. Since images of squares vary historically and culturally, but also respond to one another and are subject to processes of change, images of piazzas should also be analysed as pictorial solutions. What perspectives on the public square, and thus on the city and the territory, are developed pictorially? What artistic media are employed in the process, and who are the makers and recipients of these pictures?

III SCHOLARLY RESEARCH ON THE SQUARE AND THE CITY: Images of squares find their way into many publications, whether as illustrations, elements in a visual argument, or the focal points of research itself. From Renaissance architectural theory and pre-modern engravings to modern architectural and urban anthologies, images of squares are important players on theoretical and methodological levels. What is the significance of these images in architectural and urban studies – including from a history of science perspective – and what social, political and cultural conceptions of society are linked to them?

IV THE MEDIATISATION OF THE SQUARE: The public square is the subject of popular media in various forms, ranging from film, literature and comics to (often anonymous) newspaper, television, and cell phone images. To discuss the square’s mediatisation is thus also to consider the rapid blending of media reality with social and political reality, and to take the pictorial history of the square into account. How much do pictures tell us about the square when protestors climb onto monuments with fluttering flags, as in Kiev? Does this form part of the visual history of liberty, whose canon includes works such as Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’, and which can be examined against the background of studies such as Jutta Held’s ‘Monument und Volk’? What impact does the mediatisation of the square have on the ephemerality of certain elements (platforms, public artworks, protest signs, etc.) that temporarily re-design and semanticise the square? And what is the relationship between the visual focus on the square and the construction and transformation of squares? In other words, what effect do experiences of the square from near and far have on not only its perception, but also on its material-physical constitution?

The conference is intended for art historians as well as representatives of neighbouring disciplines. It welcomes case studies and synthetic reflections on the above-suggested themes, which can be treated individually or together, as well as on other topics. Papers should not exceed 25 minutes. Please send your proposal (max. 300 words) and a short CV in German, English or Italian to Dr Brigitte Sölch ( and Dr Stephanie Hanke ( by 15 January 2015.

Uncategorized Upcoming Events

Doctoral Workshop: “Neue Tendenzen der Italienforschung zu Mittelalter und Renaissance” (Florence, 13-15 November 2014)

Doctoral Workshop: 
Neue Tendenzen der Italienforschung zu Mittelalter und Renaissance
Florence, Kunsthistorisches Institut – Max-Planck-Institut
13-15 November 2014

unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel), Prof. Dr. Klaus Herbers
(Erlangen-Nürnberg), Prof. Dr. Alessandro Nova (Florenz/Frankfurt am Main) und Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf (Florenz/Berlin).

Giotto-CrucifixionVom 13. bis 15. November 2014 findet am Kunsthistorischen Institut (Max-Planck-Institut) in Florenz der interdisziplinäre und internationale Workshop „Neue Tendenzen der Italienforschung zu Mittelalter und Renaissance“ für Nachwuchswissenschaftler_innen statt. Unter Leitung von vier im Bereich der Italienforschung ausgewiesenen Expert_innen sowie zwei eingeladenen Keynote-Speakers präsentieren fortgeschrittene Doktorand_innen und Post-Docs ihre Projekte aus der Geschichte des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit sowie aus der mittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Kunstgeschichte. Zur Diskussion stehen dabei sowohl inhaltliche Fragen als auch die theoretische und methodische Ebene. Zentrales Anliegen des Workshops ist es, die jüngeren Ansätze der Italienforschung in Geschichte und Kunstgeschichte zusammenzubringen, zu kommentieren, kritisch zu würdigen und vor allem dieses Themenfeld in Deutschland durch den Austausch der Forschenden zu stärken. 

Die Schwerpunktbereiche der Tagung sind in insgesamt vier Sektionen gebündelt. Thematische Ausrichtungen wie Kunsttheorie und Begriffsgeschichte, Kirchen- und Herrschaftsgeschichte, Raum- und Stadtgeschichte oder Formen von Sakralität und Objekten stehen mit verschiedenen Zeitschnitten in Korrelation, also dem Hoch- und Spätmittelalter, der Renaissance und der Gegenreformation. Ausgewählte Keynote-Speakers rahmen die Beiträge der Referent_innen ein; sie bieten Anregungen für übergreifende Einordnungen und stehen für die Diskussionen der unterschiedlichen Arbeitsschwerpunkte zur Verfügung. Die Veranstaltung richtet sich an Nachwuchswissenschaftler_innen beider Epochen, beider Disziplinen sowie aller anschlussfähigen Nachbardisziplinen. 


Donnerstag 13. November 2014

14.30 Alessandro Nova und Gerhard Wolf: Begrüßung
Ingrid Baumgärtner und Klaus Herbers: Einführung

I. Text und Bild im Mittelalter
Diskussionsleitung: Gerhard Wolf (Florenz/Berlin)

14.50 Diana Nitzschke (Erlangen-Nürnberg): Frühchristliche Bodenmosaiken in Sakralbauten im Westen des Römischen Reichs unter besonderer Berücksichtigung Italiens

15.30 Armin Bergmeier (München): Vergrabene Reliquiare und göttliche Visionen. Unsichtbare Bilder im Frühmittelalter

16.40 Larissa Düchting (Erlangen-Nürnberg): Heiligkeit in Süditalien im frühen Mittelalter

17.20 Anselm Rau (Frankfurt am Main): Emotion und Bildgenese. Zur Affektsteuerung im Lignum vitae vor dem Hintergrund der monastischen Meditationskultur

18.30 Keynote-Sprecherin Daniela Bohde (Frankfurt am Main/Marburg): Maria Magdalena am Kreuzesfuß oder: Plädoyer für eine Ikonographie des Ortes

Freitag 14.11. 2014

II. Kirche, Frömmigkeit und Herrschaft im hohen und späten Mittelalter
Diskussionsleitung: Klaus Herbers (Erlangen-Nürnberg)

09.20 Katrin Getschmann (Tübingen): Mönche und Kanoniker im Streit: Ein
Mailänder Konflikt in der ersten Hälfte des zwölften Jahrhunderts

10.00 Viktoria Trenkle (Erlangen-Nürnberg): Expertise und Ehre: Kardinäle im hohen Mittelalter

10.40 Giuseppe Cusa (Frankfurt am Main): Die Laiengeschichtsschreibung in der Mark Verona-Treviso während des politischen Wandels von der Kommune zur Signorie

11.50 Mona Alina Kirsch (Heidelberg): Der Handel in Sizilien von der Machtergreifung Karls I. von Anjou 1266 bis zur Re-Affirmation der aragonesischen Herrschaft im Jahr 1396

12.30 Katharina Weiger (Berlin): Kunst im Königreich Neapel und Giotto: Kreuzigungsikonographie zwischen Tradition und Innovation

III. Signorie, Hofkultur und Gemeinschaft
Diskussionsleitung: Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel)

14.30 Vera-Simone Schulz (Berlin): Globale und lokale Nahtstellen zwischen den Künsten. Textile Ästhetik in der Toskana und in Florenz

15.10 Claudia Jentzsch (Berlin): Ordnung und Gemeinschaft. Die Ästhetik der Florentiner Augustinerkirche Santo Spirito

15.50 Gerda Brunnlechner (Hagen): Die ‚Genueser Weltkarte‘ von 1457 – Alternativen und Wandlungen von Raumdarstellungen in der Kartographie des 15. Jahrhunderts

17.00 Andreas Hermann Fischer (Kopenhagen/München): Aufschlag für Alfonso: Tennis im rinascimentalen Ferrara und die Spielkultur(en) des italienischen Cinquecento

17.40 Mauro Spina (Turin): Rapporti figurativi tra Germania del sud e Italia settentrionale nel primo Cinquecento

18.30 Keynote-Sprecherin Petra Schulte (Köln/Frankfurt am Main): Ungleichheit in den italienischen Städten des Hoch- und Spätmittelalters

Samstag 15.11.2014

IV. Religiosität und Affekt – Von der Renaissance bis ins Zeitalter der Gegenreformation
Diskussionsleitung: Alessandro Nova (Florenz/Frankfurt am Main)

9.00 Katharine Stahlbuhk (Hamburg): Der Einsatz von monochromer Monumentalmalerei innerhalb der Kirchenreformen nach dem Großen Schisma und der Observantenbewegung

9.40 Angela Tietze (Bochum): Tiefste Trauer und Angemessenheit – Affektmodellierungen in der bildenden Kunst der Frühen Neuzeit (1450-1750)

10.20 Maurice Saß (Hamburg): „Come cane e gatto” – Affektive Tierblicke als Momente künstlerischer Selbstvergewisserung

11.30 Filine Wagner (Zürich): „Pittore delicatissimo e molto vago“. Die Bedeutung Bernardino Luinis in der Lombardei der Gegenreformation

12.10 Steffen Zierholz (Bern): Räume des Selbst. Kunst und Spiritualität in der Gesellschaft Jesu (1580-1700)

12.50 Schlussdiskussion

See also

Funding and scholarships Jobs Uncategorized

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (Florence, 2015)

Postdoctoral Fellowship
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence
Deadline: 31 October 2014

Das Kunsthistorische Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut vergibt in der Direktion Nova zum 1. Januar 2015 ein einjähriges Postdoc-Stipendium für promovierte Kunsthistoriker/innen mit der Möglichkeit der Verlängerung um ein weiteres Jahr. Der monatliche Stipendiensatz beträgt mindestens ca. 1.400,00 Euro. Interessierte sind gebeten, bis 31. Oktober 2014 folgende Bewerbungsunterlagen einzureichen:

– Lebenslauf mit Studiengang und Passfoto
– Nachweis des bestandenen Promotionsexamens
– Beschreibung der Dissertation (max. 4 Seiten)
– Beschreibung des Arbeitsvorhabens (max. 4-5 Seiten)
– ggf. Schriftenverzeichnis und Sonderdrucke
– zwei Empfehlungsschreiben

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz
Prof. Dr. Alessandro Nova
Via Giuseppe Giusti 44
50121 Firenze

For further information, see

Uncategorized Upcoming Events Workshops

Workshop: Catastrofi e ricostruzioni nei centri storici italiani (Florence, 15 September 2014)

Catastrofi e ricostruzioni nei centri storici italiani
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
15 September 2014

organised by Carmen Belmonte, Elisabetta Scirocco and Gerhard Wolf

Le recenti catastrofi sismiche in Abruzzo e in Emilia hanno ancora una volta mostrato la vulnerabilità del patrimonio monumentale italiano. Nonostante gli interventi istituzionali, il lavoro e l’attività scientifica dei professionisti impegnati sul campo, molteplici sono, a distanza di anni, le questioni irrisolte relative alla ricostruzione di centri storici danneggiati, ma non per questo annientati dal sisma.
L’emergenza da catastrofe è stata più volte affrontata in Italia nell’ultimo secolo. Ma quali sono stati nel passato e quali sono oggi i principi e le linee guida da adottare nella ricostruzione?

Il Workshop del KHI, a conclusione dello Studienkurs dedicato a L’Aquila, allargherà la prospettiva di indagine ad altri centri storici colpiti da catastrofi naturali. Il coinvolgimento di studiosi impegnati in difesa del patrimonio culturale italiano offrirà un’occasione di confronto sui temi legati alla tutela e alla conservazione, e di riflessione sull’impegno civile e sulla responsabilità etica dello storico dell’arte in situazioni di emergenza.

Lunedì 15 settembre

Gerhard Wolf

Carmen Belmonte – Elisabetta Scirocco
L’Aquila. Dal progetto all’esperienza dello ‘Studienkurs’

Cristiana Pasqualetti
Fare storia dell’arte all’Aquila prima e dopo il sisma

Valentina Valerio
Istantaneità e lunga durata: danni sismici e ricostruzioni nell’Italia dei terremoti

16:30 Pausa

Tomaso Montanari
Com’era e dov’era: perché?

Marco Ciatti
L’OPD e i danni da castastrofi al patrimonio culturale: problemi, esperienze e risultati

Salvatore Settis

For further information, see

Funding and scholarships Jobs Uncategorized

Fellowship: Pre- or postdoc fellowships at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence

Fellowship: Pre- or postdoc fellowships 
The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz
Application deadline: 15 August 2014

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institut is pleased to place a call for applications to pursue studies in Art History within the independent Max Planck Research Group (MPRG) “Objects in the Contact Zone – The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things”, directed by Eva-Maria Troelenberg.

– 1-2 pre- or postdoc fellowships for up to 6 months, beginning approximately 1 October 2014 
– 1 student assistant position (BA or MA level, 80h/month) for October – December 2014

KHIThe research group seeks to adapt the notion of the “contact zone” as a key term, connecting it to the object: non-European objects which are shown and stored in Western museums or collections, reproduced in Western media or are regarded, described, analyzed and categorised through a Western lens – such objects are situated in a contact zone. This follows approaches of cultural anthropology, while maintaining genuinely art historical solutions as the investigative aim. As such, these contact zones create particular conditions of perception and reception, resulting both from the object’s own aura, provenance, or biography and from the recipient’s predisposition and intentions.

Following a potentially asymmetric, but basically reciprocal or polycentric working hypothesis of transculturation, we are looking at case studies which can shed significant light on the production of knowledge in such contact zones.

Our examples deal with the interrelation between particular objects or groups of objects and their cross-cultural reception as mediated through museums, collections, publications or other visual or performative cultural practices in the colonial and postcolonial age. We are mainly focusing on exchange processes within the larger modern Mediterranean and its global connections.

Together, our case studies can bridge the theoretical space between cross-cultural studies and visual culture phenomena and may also induce critical reassessments of established narratives, categories and key terms such as the very idea of “transculturation” itself. As our work is embedded into questions of institutional history as well as into the history of science, knowledge and representation, our overarching research queries have developed significantly towards fields such as:

– museum theory and exhibitions in cross-cultural context
– agency theories for polycentric and transcultural art histories
– political and social functions of aesthetic differences and convergences
– critical approaches to canon and chronology in art history

For further information on the MPRG see also

Fellowship applications in German or English language should include 

– detailed CV
– research proposal (max. 4 pages)
– list of publications and one substantial writing sample
– one letter of recommendation

Student assistant applications should include

– letter of motivation
– CV
– one letter of recommendation
– certificate of matriculation

Please send your electronic application in one pdf file (max. 2 MB) by 15 August to

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz is an equal opportunity employer and particularly encourages applications from women and disabled persons. Fellowships follow the rules of the Max Planck Society.

Upcoming Events

Workshop: Precious Stones in Art and Nature

450px-Spanish_jewellery-Gold_and_emerald_pendant_at_VAM-01Precious Stones in Art and Nature from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
Workshop at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, February 12 2014

Max Planck Research Group “Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe”
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

Organized by Hannah Baader and Sean Nelson

Precious stones were a source of constant fascination for artists and
natural philosophers in pre-modern Europe. Diamonds, rubies, pearls and
other gems were both visually striking and rich in symbolism. They
served as subjects for painters, as raw materials for jewelers and
sculptors, as components in scientific instruments, and as stimuli for
reflection on the nature of light, colour, and the structure of matter.
Gems were hybrid objects par excellence, blurring the lines between
science and art, and between theory and practice. The talks in this
workshop, given by Sven Dupré and his research group, illustrate this
hybridity with examples drawn from England, France, Italy, and the
Netherlands. The subject matter addressed ranges from the fifteenth to
the eighteenth century, from astronomy to electricity, and from baroque
miniature painting to rococo furniture.


Hannah Baader, Welcome and Introduction

Sven Dupré, Introduction-MPIWG Research Group “Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern

Moderation: Hannah Baader

14:20 – 14:55
Marjolijn Bol, Gems in the Water of Eden: Traveling the Rivers of Paradise in Early
Netherlandish Painting and Natural Philosophy

14:55 – 15:30
Karin Leonhard, Painted Gems: Portrait Miniature Painting and Baroque Colour Theory

15:30 – 15:50 Coffee Break

Moderation: Sean Nelson

15:50 – 16:25
Sven Dupré, Galileo’s Glass: Light in the Heavens, Precious Stones on Earth

16:25 – 17:00
Michael Bycroft, The Physics of Furniture: Science and the Rococo in the Gemmological
Research of Charles Dufay

17:00 Discussion