Appel à communication : The Episteme of Early Modern Drawings and Prints (Berlin, 28–29 Sep 23)

The Episteme of Early Modern Drawings and Prints (Berlin, 28–29 Sep 23)

Berlin, Sep 28–29, 2023
Deadline: Apr 30, 2023

Cristina Ruggero

The ‘Apelles-Problem’. Visualizing Antiquity. On the Episteme of Early Modern Drawings and Prints – I.

The academy project “Antiquitatum Thesaurus: Antiquities in European Visual Sources from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries”, hosted at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (, and the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Munich ( are organizing a series of colloquia in 2023-2024 on the topic “Visualizing Antiquity. On the Episteme of Drawings and Prints in the Early Modern Period.”

The significance of drawings and prints for ideas, research, and the circulation of knowledge about ancient artifacts, architecture, and images in Europe and neighboring areas from the late Middle Ages to the advent of photography in the mid-19th century will be examined.

The first colloquium inquires into a form of the ‘Apelles problem’: according to Pliny, the Greek painter knew how to depict “what lies outside the realm of painting.” Therefore, for the representation of ancient artifacts, the question is asked how in drawing and printmaking actually ‘unrepresentable’ qualities of the depicted object – such as color, material properties, proportions, three-dimensionality, and the like – can nevertheless be conveyed? In terms of colorfulness, for example, colored hand drawings have an advantage over prints, but they do not have the same range. Is an attached scale key sufficient to clarify dimensions? And what possibilities do new techniques of representation open up? Or can accompanying texts, commentaries, annotations, source citations, etc. do justice to the difficulties of depicting the above-mentioned characteristics, or help to classify and interpret the artifact depicted? These are some of the central questions posed; suggestions beyond these are welcome.

The following colloquia in the series will address other aspects of the creation of images of antiquity: “Find and Display, Fragment and Whole”; “Fake News? Fantasy Antiquities”, and “Collectors, Artists, Scholars: Knowledge and Intention in Collection Catalogs.”

Solicited for the first colloquium are papers in English, French, German, or Italian, 20 minutes in length, ideally combining case study and larger perspective. Publication in extended form is planned.

Travel and hotel expenses (economy-class flight or train; 2 nights’ accommodation) will be reimbursed according to the Federal Law on Travel Expenses (BRKG).

Place & time: Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, September 28–29, 2023.

Please submit your proposals (max. 400 words) until April 30, 2023, together with a short CV (max. 150 words) to:

Conceived by Antiquitatum Thesaurus (Ulrich Pfisterer, Cristina Ruggero, Timo Strauch)


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