Art and Death: Call for Papers

Henry Lamb ‘Death of a Peasant’ (1911)

Not an exclusively Edwardian subject, of course, but Edwardian scholars may nevertheless be interested in the following:

A series of three workshops will be held at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2012-2013 to explore the inter-relationship between art and death. These workshops have arisen from an informal group of doctoral students with shared interests in funerary monuments. The workshops will be structured to recognize that the certainty of death is accompanied by the foreknowledge and uncertainty of what may come after, and that visual representations of these phases have varied over time and between countries. The first workshop will focus on the images and objects related to the impact that the certainty of death has on individuals and the community; the second on art in the context of dying, death and burial; and the final one on representations of the perceived fate of body and soul after death, as well as the continuation of a relationship (if only in memory) between the living and the dead.

Subjects for the workshops could include, but are not limited to:

Workshop 1 (1 November 2012): Anticipation and Preparation

• Death insurance? Religious gifts and foundations

• Protective objects and amulets

• Tombs commissioned during a lifetime, testamentary desire and fulfilment

• Contemplating images of death, warnings to the living

• The cult of the macabre, images of illness and decay

• Apocalyptic visions

Workshop 2: (21 February 2013): Death and Dying

• A ‘good death’

• War and violence

• Funerals/Professional mourners

• Funerary monuments, memorial architecture, cemetery design

• Post-mortem portraits

• Images of the corpse in painting, sculpture, film, photography, etc.

• Crucifixion imagery

• Death in museum collections

Workshop 3 (23 May 2013) Life after Death

• Images of the soul /resurrected or re-incarnated body

• Depictions of the afterlife

• The incorruptible body, saints, relics and reliquaries

• Remembering the dead, commemoration in art and/or performance

• The ‘immortality’ of the artist, post-mortem reputations

Format and Logistics:

• Length of paper: 20 minutes

• Four papers per workshop

• Location: Research Forum, Courtauld Institute of Art

• Timing: 10am-midday

• Expenses: funds are not available to cover participants’ expenses

We welcome proposals relating to all periods, media and regions (including non-European) and see this as an opportunity for doctoral and early post-doctoral students to share their research.

Please send proposals of no more than 250 words to:  and  by the following dates:

• 20 September 2012 for workshop 1 (1 November 2012): Anticipation and Preparation

• 10 January 2013 for workshop 2 (21 February 2013): Death and Dying

• 11 April 2013 for workshop 3 (23 May 2013): Life after Death

For planning purposes, it would be helpful to have an indication of interest in the later workshops, in advance of submission of a proposal.


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