CFP: El Greco and his oeuvre; between art history and visual culture

Art History Supplement, March 2015

Deadline for papers: January 15, 2015


This issue of Art History Supplement seeks contributions discussing the work and the life of the artist through the perspective of art histories and visual studies. Taking Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) as a case study, or a paradigm, for the manifold uses and values of images of his life and work.

In the light of the 400th anniversary of his death, papers are sought investigating dealing with aspects of intellectual engagement with these two, seemingly, different disciplines. El Greco and his oeuvre have become: papers, books, monographs, symposia, exhibitions, auction and/or exhibition catalogues, catalogues raisonné, slides, photocopies, smart phone or computer applications and databases, websites and blogs, flyers, advertisements, photo albums, comics, jigsaw puzzles, movies, documentaries, music, concerts, stamps, cover pages, haute cuisine and menus, name of streets, hotels, restaurants and taverns. On the other hand, there are artistic appropriations of his oeuvre, along with cultural, as national or local, promotions of identities. What does the celebrations of El Greco’s death imply today, particularly, for Greece and Spain?

Yet, how does an art history study of the critical reception of El Greco and his oeuvre differ from a visual culture one in practice? At first, a quick response could indicate that art history is history whilst visual culture is anthropology. Therefore, originating from two different intellectual starting points, they are two separate fields of study that both share the material aspect of their objects. Further, an answer, in short, could indicate the study by visual culture of artefacts that are not considered art; but in certain context. Quoting Margaret Dikovitskaya (2005): “Visual Culture, also known as visual studies, is a new field for the study of the cultural construction of the visual in arts, media, and everyday life. It is a research area and a curricular initiative that regards the visual image as the focal point in the processes through which meaning is made in a cultural context” and “An interdisciplinary field, visual studies came together in the late 1980s after the disciplines of art history, anthropology, film studies, linguistics, and comparative literature encountered poststructuralist theory and cultural studies.” In addition, Nicholas Mirzoeff (1999) had previously noted that “Visual culture is concerned with visual events in which information, meaning or pleasure is sought by the consumer in an interface with visual technology.” Taking into account that history is not only the presentation of events, but their explanation and an interpretation too. What would be the questions that history, for instance, cannot answer, regarding visual phenomena or symptoms?

Art history as history (or, according, to the Germanic tradition, science) of images, encompasses the notion of art, always in a certain context. More, an image could be described as conceptual, literary, pictorial, tactile, moving and digital. But If we are to study any ephemeral constructions and design, described by Vasari, as (sources of) art history, why should we study our contemporary graphic or web design as visual culture? Graphic design is considered art, isn’t it? An answer to this ought first to overcome that a time distance has to give its place to a critical distance in the study of art history, as presence is in anthropology.

Further, a simple Google image search, or a Twitter one, on El Greco will bring a vast variety of, artistic or not, ephemera, appropriations and manifestations of his life and work, which indisputably bring the artist in question between art history and visual studies.

Perspectives from graduate students are strongly encouraged.

Submissions should consist a minimum of 3000 words, a 100-150 word abstract, and a list of illustrations. Files should be submitted in English and in Microsoft WORD format. Each image should be sent as a separate file; jpeg or .tiff (min. 300 dpi). Please note that all necessary copyright documentation for all quoted material and / or all illustrations must be included in the submission package. For more information, visit:



OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
ArtHS Editor (May 15, 2014). CFP: El Greco and his oeuvre; between art history and visual culture. Art Histories Society. Retrieved July 16, 2024 from

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