Appel à communication : « Speculation, Imagination, and Misinterpretation in Medieval and Renaissance Art » (Tel Aviv, mars 2015)

Statue qui pleureArt history, as we knew it, had changed in the year 1989 with the publication of two major contributions to the field : David Freedberg’s The Power of Images and Hans Belting’s Likeness and Presence. These books redirected our understanding as to the relations between humans and crafted images, in the context of response, ritual, manifestation, and communication. Image production and consumption became a crossroads of cultural practices and forces, projected upon and through, tempting their users to ascribe to them thought, act, and impact.

Rethinking these seminal works, the IMAGO annual conference seeks to explore the role of imagination, speculation, and misinterpretation of images ; it attempts to unravel the processes by which phantasy becomes a res, which, in turn, generates an artistic reality and presence. Do images simulate a possible reality, one that could have existed, as advocated by Aristotle ? A phantasmagoria ? Or, do they generate the reproduction of a distorted actuality ? Is the power of imagination synthetic, reflexive, passive, or is it imbued with corporeal intercreative forces ? If God was genitum non-factum, were images factum, non genitum, and therefore open to continuously changing speculations ? If images produce presence in the form of imaginative actualitas, do they intentionally encourage misinterpretation ?

Proposals for talks may refer (but are not limited) to the following topics :
1. Imagination and representation as a dimension of history
2. Misinterpretations as artistic invention / misunderstanding as creative force
3. Moving images (Imago movens)
4. Living images (lebendes Bild)
5. Collective and individual phantasy
6. Canonization of misinterpretation / of phantasy
7. Magical objects
8. Miraculous images in legendae and hagiography
9. Disappointing images
10. Somaticism as artistic experience
11. Spectacle and interactive spectatorship
12. Images as self-projection
13. Images as speculation

Keynotes Speakers :
Professor Hans Belting, Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe
Professor David Freedberg, Columbia University
Professor Stephen Perkinson, Bowdoin College, Brunswick

Please send English abstracts of up to 250 words to the conference organizers to before 10.11.2014.
Abstracts should include the applicant’s name, professional affiliation, and a short CV. Each paper should be limited to a 20 minute presentation, followed by discussion and questions. All applicants will be notified regarding acceptance of their proposal by November 30, 2014.

For more information or any further inquiries please contact the Conference Chair; Assaf Pinkus at

IMAGO– The Israeli Association for Visual Culture of the Middle Ages, and the Art History Department, Tel Aviv University



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