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York Summer Theory Institute: Art History and Picture Theory

Monday 5 June 2023, 10.00AM

York Summer Theory Institute: Art History and Picture Theory

Monday 5 June 2023, 10.00am to Fri 9 June

Speaker(s): Professor Whitney Davis, University of California at Berkeley


Although not all artworks are pictures and not all pictures are artworks, art history has always had many ideas, sometimes inchoate, about the nature and history of pictorial representation as a distinctive means of communication - how depiction works perceptually and culturally, what pictures can be used to do socially, how picturing relates to language, when depiction is an art, and so on. But important work has also been done outside art history in psychology, philosophy, media archaeology, digital humanities, and elsewhere, even if it’s unclear whether there’s a transdisciplinary ‘picture studies’. We will look at the range of this scholarship and consider what it can offer to art historians, as well as what art historians can contribute. 

Depending on participants’ backgrounds, interests, and research projects, topics might include the status of pictorial ‘illusions’ in different cultures; the development of picturing in children; the theory of visual propaganda and stereotype; gender, age, and other variables in ‘picture perception’; sculptural pictures; pictography; the history of virtual pictorial space; gesture and depiction; pictorial ‘presence’ and the ontology of pictures as objects; tactile/haptic and acoustic ‘cross-modal’ properties of pictures in different historical traditions; pictures, visualisation, and mental imagery. 

YSTI is led by Professor Whitney Davis (University of California at Berkeley and University of York). In addition to  the morning and afternoon seminar sessions, there will be two evening lectures

Event archive

Location: Hosted by the History of Art department, University of York


Location: History of Art department