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[CESCM]

French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published ...

Article

Anthony D. King

Like capitalism, industrialization, and slavery (with all of which it is connected), colonialism is one of the most significant and powerful historical forces that has shaped and continues to shape the cultures of the contemporary world. In architecture and the visual arts, stylistic categories such as Orientalism, Chinoiserie, or Modernism have been constructed through the prisms of colonialism. Concepts of the ‘primitive’, the ‘traditional’, or the ‘vernacular’ have been invented, defined, and legitimized through colonialist assumptions. In addition, social practices such as collecting have been facilitated and institutionalized through colonial ventures (Jasanoff, 2009). These trends have also produced a string of counter-movements deeply critical of colonialism in architecture and the fine arts that continue through the present day.

Colonialism describes a dominant–dependent relationship in which the territory and resources of one people are taken over and exploited, usually by violent means, by the people of another territory, generally of a different culture and ethnicity. It can be described as the unequal distribution of social, political, and physical power. Any definition of colonialism immediately poses the question as to whether it represents the position of the colonizer or the colonized. The definitions of Balandier (...

Article

Charles T. Little

(b Paris, 1931; d May 1, 2009).

French art historian of medieval art. As Professor of the University of Paris IV (Paris-Sorbonne) from 1981 until 1998, she was a leading specialist in French architecture and stained glass. She was president of the French section of Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi from 1980 to 1988. Studying at the Ecole du Louvre, she wrote initially on the sculpture of Reims, followed by a study on Notre-Dame-en-Vaux at Châlons-en-Champagne, Notre-Dame-en-Vaux. Her doctoral dissertation for the Sorbonne, under the direction of Louis Grodecki (1910–82), became an important monograph on St Remi at Reims. This was later followed by several books on Chartres Cathedral that stand out as classic studies. Aside from technical studies of the origin and development of the flying buttress, she was able to determine building sequences for a number of monuments by utilizing dendrochonological analysis of wooden beams. Her interest in Gothic architecture lead to a new series devoted to the Gothic monuments of France by Editions Picard. Her important contribution to Zodiaque publications included books on the ...

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....