Appel à communication : « Actual Problems of the Theory and History of Art / VII. Artifact, Art-object, Argument » (Saint-Pétersbourg, 11-15 octobre 2016)

emblem-2016-200 Dear friends and colleagues,

The Department of History and Theory of Art at the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Institute of History of Saint Petersburg State University invite you to take part in the Seventh international conference “Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art. Artifact, Art-object, Argument. Object in Fine Arts: Objectives, Methods, Results”.

Working languages: Russian, English

Deadline for applications: May 25, 2016


  • Saint Petersburg State University,
  • Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • The State Hermitage


  • Saint Petersburg State University, 199004, Saint Petersburg, Mendeleevskaya line 5
  • The State Hermitage, 191186, Saint Petersburg, Dvortsovaya embankment 34 and 197374, Zausadebnaya st. 37a.

We also plan a number of field trips and special events at the museums and libraries of Saint Petersburg, Novgorod the Great, Pavlovsk, Peterhof and Oranienbaum.

All additional info is available on our website:

Abstract. The seventh international conference “The Actual Problems of History and Theory of Art” is an interdisciplinary scientific forum dedicated to the whole spectrum of current issues of history and theory of visual arts and architecture, cooperation between art historians and museum staff, important questions of studying, conservation and interpretation of world artistic heritage.

The main theme. The conference is held under the patronage of the major Russian universities and supported by the leading museums of Russian Federation; it has a unified structure and a strict order of events. Our forum is interdisciplinary, but generally, we focus on traditional art history that includes wide spectrum of issues from the prehistoric era to the modern times. The majority of our participants are art historians, archeologists, museum staff, restorers and philologists.

Our plenary session this year will be more open for debates; its main theme goes as follows:

“Artifact, Art-object, Argument. An object in visual arts: tasks, methods, results”

An art-object as it is, from the moment of its creation to the time when it actually can be seen by viewers, will be in the focus of our upcoming conference. An artifact as a “thing-in-itself” acquires its existence from the day it has been created, but its real discovery starts at the time of its archeological acquisition, or in historical realities, or in the specific artistic environment.

There is a principal difference between an art-object and an artifact: the former is initially conceptual; it has already acquired its place in scientific classification system. The nature of an art-object, in its artistic integrity and uniqueness, is defined by its “inexpedient” functionality seeking an interaction with a viewer. There is a practical necessity to accumulate all true tendencies and events in art history into a conventional sort of structure using special techniques and methodology as our professional toolbox. In this case, what are theoretical grounds and methodological arrangements for constructing such a classification? In order to answer this question, we are to establish a criterion for a significance of an art-object and interpretation of an artifact as an art-object.

In order to find new research opportunities we have to revise and replenish our conceptions of attribution, dating, stylistic and typological definitions. The focal point for establishing criteria of an art-object true significance is to see art history as a fundamental science that has a number of integral rules such as fact gathering, methodology, ways of research, orientation towards a result and a sophisticated theory. The quality and importance of an art theory depends on logic of researcher’s intention that allows him to move on to new results and to use a reliable reasoning and proven argumentation. Nowadays, when the system of values in art history is put to the test, scientific argumentation system plays a crucially important role.

Current issue: This year, as we plan, main topics of our forum will be the discussion of fundamental ideas of history and theory of art, developing criteria for final wording of ambiguous statement, determining new tasks for a contemporary artistic research and new tendencies in contemporary art.

Main events schedule: There will be one plenary meeting, one final discussion forum in “round table” format and a number of sessions dedicated to the following topics:

  • Art and artistic culture of the ancient world. Archeological piece and a work of art: similarities and differences
  • Eastern Christian art
  • Russian medieval art
  • Western European medieval art
  • Renaissance art
  • Western art of the Modern Age
  • Foreign art of the 20th – 21th centuries
  • Russian art of the 18th – 19th centuries
  • Russian art of the 20th – 21th centuries
  • Art theory
  • Cult and artistic culture
  • Panel discussion «Museum. Creating the Future».

We are glad to inform you that during our conference there will be a presentation of the volume 6 of our annual book “The Actual Problems of History and Theory of Art” containing articles from our 2015 conference.

In addition to our main meetings and forums, there will be a number of other events that you, as a professional, might find interesting and helpful. We plan to conduct some master classes in Hermitage, the State Russian Museum and other major museums of Saint Petersburg and its suburbs. We also plan a field trip to Novgorod the Great (October 15). It is a great opportunity for our guests to become familiar with Russian medieval art and to meet some leading scientists and restorers from local museums. Visiting museums, churches, monasteries and landmarks of Novgorod would be especially useful for undergraduate and graduate students.

Postgraduate and PhD. students should also provide a recommendation letter from their academic supervisor either sent to from his/her personal e-mail box or scanned and attached to an application.

The applicants will get informed on our decision not later than July 30, 2016.

The most interesting papers and presentations are going to be published in our annual book in 2017.
We shall provide accommodation for the foreign participants during the conference.

Programme and Organizing committee:

Co-Chairmen: prof. A.Kh. Daudov, Director of The Institute for History of Saint Petersburg State University; prof. M.B. Piotrovsky, Director General of The State Hermitage Museum, associate member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; prof. I.I. Tuchkov, Dean of the Historical Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

The Committee Staff: prof. S. P. Karpov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences; prof. G.V. Vilinbahov, Deputy Director of The State Hermitage Museum; Dr. M.M. Dandamaeva, Academic secretary of The State Hermitage Museum; prof. A.Yu. Kazaryan, Deputy Director of the State Institute for Art Studies; Dr. A.A. Trofimova, Head of the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities (The State Hermitage Museum); prof. E.A Doronchenkov (European University in Saint Petersburg); prof. E. Stevovich (Belgrade university); prof. A. Jacobini (“Sapienza” University in Rome); Dr. N.C. Jijina, Senior researcher (The State Hermitage Museum); Dr. O.G. Makho, Head of the Research and Methodological Sector, Educational Department  (The State Hermitage Museum); associate prof. Z.A. Hakobyan (Erevan State University); S.V. Maltseva, Head lecturer (St. Petersburg State University); Dr. A.V. Zakharova, Head lecturer (Lomonosov Moscow State University); E.Yu. Stanyukovich-Denisova, Head lecturer (St. Petersburg State University) and others.


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