The International Consortium on Art History

13th International Springtime Academie


Eichstätt, may 11 to 15, 2015

Program (PDF)

Brochure with abstracs (PDF)

Vision - such is the topic of the 13th International Spring Academy of The International Consortium on Art History ( which will take place during the week of May 11 to 15, 2015, at Eichstätt in Bavaria. Vision is not the passive recording of the outside world entering our conscience through the window of our eyes. It is not some data in the sense of an input. In addition, it is not sufficient to remember that vision involves time – in order to understand it as a process. The data collected by the senses do not always produce the same effects on the same subjects and in the same circumstances. To see does not simply follow an automatic process set into motion, so to say, by the sensory data. To see is an activity affected by education, cultural formations, habits and disciplines, by media and their equipment, by reception and its institutional frameworks. The aim of this conference is to examine the issue of vision as caught in historical conditions.

Through images and works of art, one has for a long time meditated on the activity of aisthesis, that is to say of a kind of intelligence specific to any visual perception. However, in this Spring Academy the focus will not be yet again on the image. We shall avoid the question “what is an image?”, be it from an ontological, anthropological or universal point of view. Suspicious as we are of any meta- historical definition of the image as such, we will engage the discussion inside the domain of vision and the practices within which it takes place. Nobody has ever seen purely sensory data or the world as an objective given. While one cannot avoid some general terms such as form, subject, world vision or image, they will be used, in this coming Spring Academy on Vision, in order to scrutinize their import in the context of historical usages.

How has vision been conceptualized, how has it been defined? How has its education been effected? In what discourses were visual practices inscribed? Within what apparatus did they take shape? Learning how to draw or paint also means, and has always meant, sharpening and shaping vision. The practices of art education – be it artistic anatomy or history painting, perspective or landscape – are therefore domains to be scrutinized during the Spring Academy, insofar as they are examined as contributing to the education of sight. But we shall also discuss such issues as the meta-poetics of vision, that is, vision theorized in the art itself, be it images within images or remnant images, trompe-l’oeil or visual demonstrations of mimesis, or the power of visual media. Some major concepts – and equally powerful metaphors– are at the core of certain historical discourses on vision. Imagination and fantasy, clarity and evidence, sensation and perception, creation and fiction are key words thanks to which the debate about the various activities linked to vision has been developed. Certain metaphors such as evidence, Stimmung, understood in English as “mood”, synesthesia and “correspondences”, have known a less sustained favor. Shadows and mirror images have always contributed to the education of sight; but none of them can escape being trapped in the image and acquire an independent existence of their own. As Doppelgänger, Vampires or Avatars within the visual narrative, they can then provoke a critical reflection about the medium and thereby affect the use of the medium itself.
The relation of art to the philosophical and scientific history of optics will be an important concern. The history of science provides a renewed approach to such issues as vision and blindness, attention and visual memory. The physiology of sense organs and neurosciences will be examined in relation to optical instruments and contraptions – in general to the apparatus destined to supplement natural vision, or to allow for the artificial projection of images. Specialized philosophers, historians of science and of literature will engage in discussion with the art historians selected by the various national committees of The International Consortium on Art History about the processes and strategies that structure the practices of Aisthesis.

In this call for papers, we do not want to suggest the specific sections that would articulate the thematics of this conference. It will be the most interesting, enlightening and original proposals that will help structuring the program. – The guiding principle will be to stress vision as active, i.e., vision as constantly renewed in its practices, practices that are part and parcel of all other cultural activities.

The baroque town of Eichstätt, where the Spring Academy will take place, is situated in the center of Bavaria midway between Munich, Nuremberg, between Augsburg and Regensburg. The campus of the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt boasts a group of exceptionally fine buildings that run from the baroque to the post-modern and deconstructivist period, organized around an 18th century garden. This will be a favorable environment for intense meditations and dialogues, in a thoroughly international and interdisciplinary atmosphere.


THE INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM OF ART HISTORY, ITS CHARACTER AND ITS GOALS The Academy will be an opportunity for doctoral students and recent PhDs from diverse origins and specialties to share their research, their approaches and their experience in a meeting during which they will cooperate with more advanced scholars. The programs of previous Spring Academies can be found on the site Participation in a Spring Academy is required to obtain a supplementary diploma from the International Consortium. We encourage candidates, either doctoral students or recent PhDs, to propose precise contributions related to their particular research, whatever the period or particular domain they study, and whatever the media they wish to address.

The call for papers will be posted on the websites of the Consortium (, of the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art (INHA) (, of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich (, on the German website h.arthist as well as on the website of the institutions of the other members of the network.
Graduate or post-graduates who wish to participate should send a proposal for a paper of not more than 20 minutes length, together with a short CV specifying the foreign language(s) they master. Proposals should be no longer than 1800 signs or 300 words, and can be written in English, French, German or Italian. They should be submitted in a Word document, and include the candidate’s name, her/his addresses (both electronic and postal), the country and institution she/he is attached to. The proposal and CV should be attached as a single document to an e-mail. The “subject” line of the e-mail must specify the name of the candidate and the country of his/her institution. The proposals are to be addressed to: before Monday, February 2, 2015.
Proposals will be collected, examined, and selected by each country. The national representatives will send the accepted proposals by e-mail to the organizing committee before the 28th of February 2015. After consultation with the scientific committee of the consortium, the organizing committee will establish the final program of the Academy. The selection of participants will be announced mid- March on the websites of the Consortium, the DCLC, the INHA and the member institutions of the Consortium.
The selected candidates will be asked to send a summary (300 words maximum), as well as its translation in another official language of the Consortium. These summaries and translations must be sent by March 23 to: in a Word document and accompanied with a Power Point presentation.
Since the participants will present their work in their mother tongue, mastery of other languages is essential. Participants of Latin countries should at least be able to understand spoken English or German; conversely, the German or English speaking ones should understand French or Italian.

Students who participated twice or more times in previous Academies can only apply as respondents. This is a way of encouraging young scholars, whether post-doc or PhD candidates who are already far along, to participate in the Academies by opening the discussion at the end of each session. The respondents will do a critical assessment of the session, ask new questions and open the debate to new problematic, whether or not they were already brought up by the participants. They can also open new alleys for the discussion suggested by their own research.
Those interested in participating to this Academy as respondents should send their application according to the application procedure described above: by sending a CV to their national representative by the February 2, 2015. Instead of a proposal for a paper they should send a short letter explaining their reasons to apply and their specific competence.

As in previous years, members of the Consortium are invited either to propose a paper or to chair a session. Professors who wish to contribute to the program should inform the Organizing Committee by e-mail before February 2nd 2015 at:

Canada: Johanne Lamoureux (Paris, Institut national d'histoire de l'art) and Todd Porterfield (Université de Montréal); France: Frédérique Desbuissons (Paris, Institut national d'histoire de l'art), Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (École normale supérieure de Paris), Christian Joschke and Ségolène Le Men (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense); Germany: Thomas Kirchner (Paris, Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte) and Michael F. Zimmermann (Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt); United Kingdom: David Peters-Corbett and Bronwen Wilson (Norwich, University of East Anglia); Italy: Marco Collareta (Università di Pisa) and Maria Grazia Messina (Università degli studi di Firenze); Switzerland: Jan Blanc (Université de Genève); United States of America: Henri Zerner (Harvard University); Japon: Atsushi Miura (Université de Tokyo)

The International Consortium of Art History ( Réseau International de la Formation à la Recherche en Histoire de l’Art