AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award in History of Art: ‘Shifting Perspectives on German Renaissance Art’

Posted on 11 June 2012

The Department of History of Art at the University of York and the National Gallery, London are pleased to offer a three-year AHRC-funded doctoral studentship to commence in October 2012, investigating how perceptions of German Renaissance art changed between the era when it was made and the era when it was collected by modern institutions like the National Gallery.

The research will be supervised by Dr Jeanne Nuechterlein (University of York) and Dr Susan Foister (National Gallery), and further support from modern specialists will be available in both institutions.

In the 16th century, German artists and audiences appear to have highly valued qualities such as expression and inventiveness, but when German Renaissance art was collected in the 19th and early 20th centuries, opinions were mixed: some viewers admired the artworks’ technical mastery and their embodiment of a perceived German national identity, while others viewed these objects as excessive or even ugly.  Using the collection and archives in the National Gallery as a focus, this collaborative project investigates the criteria used to evaluate German paintings, drawings and prints in the two periods. How did the range of responses to German Renaissance art change both within and across these periods, and why? What evaluative concepts appear more or less important for each period, and how are they related (for example how does each period conceive of the relationship between nature and beauty in art)? How did such views shape the development of our national collections, and should this history affect how scholars and the general public evaluate these artworks today?

The successful candidate will choose the specific topic of their own doctoral research within the project’s general remit: s/he may focus more on the 16th century, or on the period of collecting, or both. The candidate will also contribute to a collections-based exhibition to be held at the National Gallery in spring 2014, by helping select and research objects for display and contributing interpretive materials. The exhibition will enable the student to work with leading experts in one of the world's most important museums and better understand the skills required for museum conservation and curatorship.

We are looking for a highly promising student who will value the opportunity of combining academic research in this area with involvement with a leading national museum. The successful candidate will meet the AHRC’s criteria for eligibility, including residency criteria (the full award is generally only available to UK applicants) and be able to demonstrate the potential to develop advanced research skills. The award pays tuition fees and a maintenance grant each year (£14,140 in 2012-13) for a maximum of three years of full-time doctoral study, subject to evidence of satisfactory progress.

For any related questions please contact Dr Jeanne Nuechterlein, Department of History of Art, University of York, York, YO10 5DD (jeanne.nuechterlein@york.ac.uk). Further information and application details can be found on our postgraduate funding web page.

Closing date for applications: 4 July 2012.