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Fifth ESNA Talk: Modernism’s Peripheries

Just before summer, the successful three-day congress Thinking in the Box took place, organized by ESNA (The European Society for Nineteenth-Century Art) in collaboration with the RKD. Although the nineteenth century is known as a period of renewal, this congress was focused on the richness of the artistic tradition. Dr. Cordula Grewe's keynote lecture has been recorded and can be viewed here as fifth ESNA Talk.


Modernism’s Peripheries

From a Western European perspective, it seems as if the nineteenth century has created just one kind of modernism, with Paris as epicentre of art and culture. In this fifth ESNA Talk, dr. Cordula Grewe shows us what happens when we do not consider nineteenth-century art in the light of a dominant Europe, but when we 'glocalize' this art: when we look at the European peripheries and border areas, and try to understand them through the lens of a globalized art history. Proposing to break down the binary of thinking in or outside of the box, Grewe asks how the lessons of such a revisionist narrative of nineteenth-century art could be applied to other eras and arenas as well, and to this end explores interpretative approaches to art produced in and for the Third Reich (by both artists seeking accommodation with the Nazi regime and artists exhibited in the so-called Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937).


Cordula Grewe

Dr. Cordula Grewe (Indiana University Bloomington) is an art historian of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art, with an emphasis on visual piety, word-image relationships, and aesthetics. She obtained her master's degree at the American University in Washington, D.C., and her PhD at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg im Breisgau. Her recent projects concern contemporary subjects such as modern theo-aesthetics (from Ingres to the Leipzig School), the body as a medium (from Emma Hamilton to Nicki Minaj) and art in the Third Reich and its legacy (Nazi Cultures of Display: A Digital Reconstruction of the Great German Art Exhibition and the Degenerate Art Show).

1. Abraham Rattner, Place of Darkness, 1943, Eskenazi Museum of Art/Kevin Montague
2 & 3. Michael Triegel, Scenes from the Life of St. Augustine, 2010-2011, Main Altarpiece in Church St. Augustinus, Dettelbach


The European Society for Nineteenth-Century Art

ESNA was founded in 2012 by a group of scholars, graduate students and museum professionals and is linked with the Research School Art History (OSK) and the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History. Although originating in the Low Countries, ESNA aims to be active in a broad international field, because nineteenth-century artists and art were part of an international network, just as (art-historical) research into the nineteenth-century transcends borders.

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