CFP: On the future of (social) history of art

On the future of (social) history of art
Art History Supplement, March 2014

Deadline for submission of manuscripts: February 15, 2014

Contact: Ioannis Tzortzakakis,


Art History Supplement welcomes submissions discussing aspects and perspectives of social history of art. In addition, papers engaged with the history of social art history in Africa, in America, in Asia, in Australia and Europe (meaning in their countries and territories), for instance, are more than welcome. More, what might be the differences, if any, between a western and a non-western social history of art perspective?

Taking a closer look at the narrative elements / patterns of social art history, one could not help but wonder. Could historians and philosophers of art feel comfortable with the application of a simple generic social art history compound? This compound (as equation) may contain the variable, in size and content, elements of a) an “in vivo and in vitro context”, b) an “artwork”, and c) an “(ω) and (n) public,” while emphasising on and examining the quality and quantity of their bonds in history. Could also such a notion of an art history be translated as a systematic art history, or with a systematic approach? The element of context could also be translated as the in vivo environment, as historic, of that particular compound and as the in vitro environment of the examination of that particular compound. Further, the concept of an “artwork” central to the narrative may be used paradigmatically to denote an exhibition (permanent or not), a museum or any cultural institution, in their generic term. While (ω), from set theory, is indicating the least infinite ordinal number of publics in history – diachronically; whereas (n) notes the cardinal number – as description – of different publics in their synchrony. More, I might tend to consider the concepts of p/matron, curator, and artist to be distinct subcategories of that great and variable parameter of public. For patron, matron and artist are also viewers of art – some them even before making it, both in terms of style and iconography; as the meaning imposed to an artwork may originate well back before the time of its production; and as pictorial signs exist before their production.

Moreover, on these grounds, discussions may, thus, arise on the status of history of art as science; regarding patterns of methodology, for instance. Such a theoretical standpoint does not juxtapose, though, to, an almost innate, as far as I am concerned, distinction in art history – as history of art and technical art history; a distinction translated as intellectual discourses and practical applications.

However, could such an intellectual demonstration be necessary or useful for certain communities? In nothing but in art history for art history’s shake context, or better, it may well provide the foundations for threshold in a space for real life problems to be challenged, in the future.

Papers submitted must contain a minimum of 3,000 words. Authors are responsible for securing high-quality digital images and securing rights to reproduce them digitally. Additional author guidelines and editorial procedures can be found here:


CFP: Representations of the life of Leonardo da Vinci in motion pictures

Representations of the life of Leonardo da Vinci in motion pictures

Art History Supplement, May 2014

Deadline for submission of manuscripts: April 15, 2014


Contact: Ioannis Tzortzakakis,



This is not a history of art. Paying homage to Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation,” it adopts the subtitle of that milestone series: “A Personal View.”


With these words John J. O’Connor (1993 – 2009), American journalist and art critic, endorses in the New York Times of January 11, 1981, the American screening of the British documentary series The Shock of the New, written and presented by Robert Hughes, a native of Australia and, among other things, art critic for Time magazine. [1]  


John O’Connor himself continued: “Mr. Hughes is nothing if not refreshingly direct: “Unfortunately, epochs of art don’t start or end neatly on cue. Ours is finishing its run now, leaving behind it some of the most challenging, intelligent and beautiful works of art ever made by man, along with a mass of superfluity and rubbish. We’re at the end of the Modern era. Art no longer acts on us in the same way that it did on our grandparents. I want to see why.””[2]


Art documentaries like motion pictures as a term denote the technique in which a series of still images which, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images due to phi phenomenon, in the realms of Gestalt psychology. The nature of the content of their embedded narration may be of a fictional or factual character. By factual, as a board term, I am referring to documentaries, recorded, academic or not, lectures and seminars created for an audience.   


An example of such pictures could be the Italian miniseries La vita di Leonardo da Vinci, produced by RAI (1971); with Renato Castellani (director), Philippe Leroy, Giampiero Albertini and Giulio Bosetti, as the narrator. The same series had been on air in Venezuela, France, the USA, and in a shorter version in West Germany. Whereas, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) features many several appropriations, in the series, films, documentaries and cartoons categories.


In the mini-series, in question, for example, the first two scenes are a flying eagle, a signification of the Leonardo and the eagle incident narrate by Vasari, and a representation of the death of da Vinci in the hands of Francis I of France, as Ingres, at 1818, had visualised the words of Giorgio Vasari.


Taking the image of Leonardo da Vinci as a paradigm, this issue of Art History Supplement seeks papers that discuss the uses, and abuses, in the representations of the lives of Leonardo. The artist and the canonization, the commodification of the images of the artist and his oeuvre; the popularisation of Leonardo, or just making academic knowledge accessible to a public; as it seems happening in La vita di Leonardo da Vinci; combining fiction and documentary.


However, are these motion pictures the narrative of representation of a particular art history? In this occasion, the state of art history in Italy in 70s, as expressed by Renato Castellani; author and director. Which has been the scene of Art History in Italy in 70s? Even though, it could be anachronistic, had Renato Castellani expressed a personal view (aka a personal history of art) in this series? Or, had he been considering his visual narrative a history of art?


Nevertheless, is there any difference, indeed, between the terms of “history of art” and “personal view [on art]”?  As I understand the first term, it notes an academic or a widely accepted (collective?) art history. The mere fact that there is the need to someone to discern her/his position to a “personal view” implies the coexistence of an opposite, story; or another view of the things. Yet, in which context one could find these two, or more, sides of art history? What do we mean by “side of art history”? I understand it as a different methodology, approach and interpretation to or view of the artistic phenomena. Then, again, would the existence of simultaneously active various cultural, for instance, contexts mean also the existence of the same number of art histories and a (n) number of personal views (opposing to the “official” art history)? If this is true, could we speculate that a personal view in one context, in the same time, could be the “dominant” one in another context?


Papers submitted must contain a minimum of 3,000 words. Authors are responsible for securing high-quality digital images and securing rights to reproduce them digitally. Additional author guidelines and editorial procedures can be found here:

[1] John J. O’Connor (January 11, 1981) “TV View; A PROVOCATIVE NEW SERIES ON MODERN ART,” New York Times, (last accessed 06/12/2013). 

[2] Ibid.