ISSUE #1 – 2020
BEITRÄGE – ARTICLES
Sacred Mountaineering and the Imagery of Ascent from Catalonia to Provence, c. 1370–c. 1520
This article explores the history, imagery and function of stational cycles of wayside crosses and oratories deployed to structure the ascent of pilgrims to four mountain sanctuaries in the western Mediterranean (Monserrat in Catalonia; Lluc on the island of Mallorca; Notre-Dame de la Garde at Marseille and the Sainte-Baume, both in Provence). Focusing in particular on the relationship between a chosen sequence of pictorial narratives and their specific geophysical environment, this study is meant as a contribution to both the current debate on the furnishing, lay-out and iconography of the sacred mountain landscapes of premodern Europe and to the nascent field of Mountaineering Culture Studies.
Francisco Zurbaráns „Christus am Kreuz mit einem Maler“ als Metapher der Christusverähnlichung
Francisco Zurbarán’s ‚Christ Crucified with a Painter‘ is one of the most enigmatic paintings in the artist’s oeuvre. Following recent metapictorial considerations, this article analyzes the painting’s ambiguity of presence and representation in the context of early modern practice of prayer. In addition, the work is placed in relation to the motif of the ‚picturing‘ soul, which is frequently used in the devotional literature of the seventeenth century. As a trope of meditative image-making, the painting visualizes an important issue of monastic spirituality: the metamorphosis of one’s own soul into the image of the suffering Christ.
A Tale of Three Cities. Between Jerusalem and Gerusalemme – Gernrode of (St.) Scholastica
The twelfth century Holy Sepulchre chapel of Gernrode is renowned in literature as the earliest existent copy of Christ’s sepulchre in German-speaking lands; however, the first (and most numerous) written sources relating to the chapel, go back to the fifteenth century. Combining textual and visual sources, the paper examines the later history of the chapel, exemplified by the 1489 Jubilee celebration at the convent, initiated by Abbess Scholastica of Anhalt. On this occasion, the chapel, known as “Iherusalin”, functioned as a station in a virtual visit to the main churches of Rome. Apart from providing an instance of the richness of late medieval symbolism, the interchangeable identity of Gernrode as both Jerusalem and Rome is discussed in relation to fifteenth century female monastic devotion.
„Windhauch, Windhauch, […] das ist alles Windhauch.“
Zu einer Neubewertung des Vanitas-Stilllebens
It has become common practice in art historical scholarship to interpret Western still life painting under the aspect of transience. This tendency, however, has obscured our view of the various pictorial solutions and types of representation encompassed within the genre, with the result that the subgenre of Vanitas still life itself has been neglected. This article aims to reconsider and reassess Vanitas still life by studying the origins and historical contexts that significantly influenced the genre. It starts with a close examination of the meditatio mortis of Saint Jerome who, from the 14th century onwards, enjoyed increasing popularity because his teachings corresponded most closely to humanism and a changed theology of piety. As translator and exegete of Ecclesiastes, the Church Father embodied the model of a new scholarly view of death in which mortality was understood not as punishment but as human condition and, thus, became the object of individual reflection. A decisive turning point in the relationship between Hieronymus imagery and autonomous Vanitas still life, so will be further argued, then occurred in the middle of the 16th century when the Protestant-Calvinist movement, especially in the university city of Leiden, began to take an increasingly critical look at the Hebrew original text of the Bible and its translations and commentaries. Discussions of these texts certainly included the Book of Ecclesiastes and the term hæbæl (“breath of wind”, “(blown) breath/air”, “steam”, “breath”), which serves as a leitmotif there. This term, which is so complex and meaningful in its pictoriality and semantics, found its way into the new genre of Vanitas still life emerging in Leiden around 1600. As will be shown, it is inherent in (or rather underlies) the new genre, which needs to be understood as a speculative pictorial form.
On a Walkway to Hell. Vantages on Art and Life's Exhaustion
In this article the widespread phenomenon of neoliberal institutions’ production of architectural vantages, windows or walkways onto working artists or “creatives” is subjected to a double analysis. On the one hand, the spectacularised views are read as an outcome of art’s own “corporealisation” or becoming body, and neo-avant-garde movements’ development of life performances. On the other, the resources of biopolitical theory are used to critique the separation of the artist’s appearance from their own powers of self-affection fixing them as a creative yet static “form of life” within these views. This phenomenon, by which the artist’s bare life is rendered creative in itself, is read in relation to the figure of homo economicus whose innate competitiveness is given a biological grounding. Finally, the article compares the fixing of creative life as spectacle to capitalist biotech’s enclosure of life’s innate generativity in the interest of producing speculative and commodified lifeforms and to the detriment of existing life.
Restitution Is Not Enough.
Deaccessioning for Justice in Contemporary Art
REZENSIONEN – REVIEWS
Thomas W. Gaehtgens, Die brennende Kathedrale. Eine Geschichte aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg
Christopher S. Wood, A History of Art History
Wiederholen, verfremden, ausbrechen. Zeitlichkeit in der (post-)sowjetischen Kunst. „Russia.Timeless“ 4.10.2019 – 6.1.2020 / DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prag