Prof. Hanneke Grootenboer (University of Oxford): "Painting as Thinking: The Case of the Pensive Image"

May 23, 2019 | 06:00 PM c.t.

Considered ‘sister arts’ in the early modern period, painting and philosophy had grown into separate disciplines by the end of the 19th century. In an attempt to re-unite art and philosophy, the lecture will propose the new category of pensive images, images that through their very form and materiality present a specific mode of thinking. When compared to enigmatic and awe-inspiring works such as Velazquez’ Las Meninas or Giorgione’s The Tempest that have continued to occupy a central place in art historical debates, pensive images appear quiet, shy even, and invite more intimate forms of interaction. Pensive images allow us to see that we as scholars normally set out to grasp an image without reflecting on how we are grasped by it. The lecture will focus on a selection of 17th-century Dutch paintings that have elevated everydayness to the level of the monumental, raising concerns that often point beyond the paintings themselves – towards the domain of philosophy. Within the larger scope of this project, Hanneke Grootenboer is interested in what painting, as a thing in the world, is doing to us by touching and affecting us, thereby triggering our thoughts. The lecture seeks to overturn the prevalent notion that modernist art is especially self-reflexive, arguing instead that early modern art is just as sophisticated theoretically, and capable of leading away from interpretation towards the realm of the encounter, the unthought.

Time & Location

May 23, 2019 | 06:00 PM c.t.

Freie Universität Berlin
Kunsthistorisches Institut
Hörsaal B
Koserstraße 20
14195 Berlin