Hanneke Grootenboer (University of Oxford)
Fellow in Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters"
May – June 2019
Painting as Thinking: The Case of the Pensive Image
Hanneke Grootenboer's project at EXC 2020 is dedicated to the question of how painting, as a thing in the world, does something to us by touching and affecting us, thereby triggering our thoughts. In an attempt to re-unite art and philosophy in a manner that resembles their early modern relationship as 'sister arts', the project seeks to examine the 'pensiveness' of images. Pensive images are often quiet and invite their audiences to an intimate encounter; in investigating this category, Hanneke Grootenboer focuses on 17th-century Dutch paintings that represent everydayness in a new monumentality, raising concerns that often point beyond the paintings themselves – towards the realm of philosophy. Within the larger scope of the project, the pensive image may be the vehicle through which we can examine the ways in which thinking is conflated with critique, theory and philosophy by asking what role painting as a form of thinking may play in disentangling these overlapping undertakings. In the context of Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters", Hanneke Grootenboer's concept of art as philosophy will provide a new perspective on the complex relationship between the materiality of art and literature.
Hanneke Grootenboer is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford. She works on early modern art, continental philosophy and critical theory with a special focus on 17th-century Dutch painting and Northern European portraiture. She is the author of The Rhetoric of Perspective: Realism and Illusionism in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Still Life Painting (2005), for which she received a CAA Milliard Meiss Grant, and Treasuring the Gaze: Intimate Vision in Eighteenth-Century British Eye Miniatures (2012). She has been awarded a Paul Mellon Author and Publisher Grant and the Kenshur Prize for Best Book in Eighteenth-Century Studies.