Western esotericism and art
(Romantic art in Germany – Blake – Kupka – Mucha - Horta – Avant-garde in Prague/Vienna)
The planned publication The Initiated Artist. Methodological Introduction to Western Esotericism and Art, 18th-20th centuries (working title) aims to provide an introduction to a new field of academic study. The cross-disciplinary book is scheduled to be published by the Amsterdam University Press in 2009 in cooperation with the Sub Department for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam. A cross-disciplinary mix of PhD-students and professors at Universities in Europe, Canada and the USA, as well as independent scholars, are cooperating on this groundbreaking publication.
Each of the 10 chapters will deal with one particular esoteric current: hermeticism and neo-platonism, alchemy, rosicrucianism, esotericism and philosophy of nature, freemasonry, esotericism and Christian mysticism, spiritualism, occultism, theosophy, anthroposophy and developments after 1900. Each chapter will contain an introductory article on the history and characteristics of that current in relation to art (architecture, visual arts, interior design or theatre design), and is followed by several case studies which further explore the influence of this current on an important current in art, individual artist or specific work of art. As such, the book will be the first accessible standard work on the subject for academics and art lovers. A concept for a spin-off international exhibition has also been formulated.
The deadline for the initial call for papers has passed and the articles to be included have been selected. However, to complement the table of contents, the editors would welcome additional contributions on the following subjects:
- Western esotericism and 'Naturphilosophie' in Romantic Art (introductory article, 4500 words);
- Esoteric symbolism in the work of William Blake (case study, 3500 words);
- Esoteric influences on Romantic Art in German speaking countries (case study, 3500 words);
- Freemasonry and Art Nouveau (incl. Alphonse Mucha, Victor Horta e.a.; case study, 3500 words);
- Spiritualism in the Prague and Viennese avant-garde around 1900 (incl. e.g. Frantisek Kupka; case study, 3500 words);
- Anthroposophical concepts in the Visual Arts after 1900 (case study, 3500 words).
Both senior scholars and PhD-students are invited to submit paper proposals of ca. 400 words with a short c.v. and list of relevant publications. Because of the intended international character of the project, proposals from French and Eastern European scholars would be especially welcomed.
Papers proposed should be based on original (cross-disciplinary) research and the current academic discourse on history of Western esotericism.
Deadline for proposals is 1 November 2008. Deadline for submission of first drafts will be early 2009, followed by a tight deadline schedule for the further editorial process. All articles will be peer reviewed by a committee of museum and university experts in relevant fields of study.
(Enquiries from museums interested in the exhibition concept are of course also welcome.)
For the full text of the call for papers, submission of proposals or pre-order of the book, please contact the project editors, dr. Marty Bax & drs. Andréa Kroon.
Mrs. Marty Bax, PhD, art historian at Bax Art Concepts & Services, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Specialist in esoteric currents in art between 1850 and 1940, notably theosophy and anthroposophy. Member of ESSWE, see: http://www.esswe.org/member_detail.php?member_id=215&ref=10
Mrs. Andréa Kroon, MA , art historian at Kroon & Wagtberg Hansen art historical project management, The Hague, the Netherlands (www.kroonwagtberghansen.nl). Specialist in the material culture of freemasonry in the 18th-20th centuries / PhD researcher (University of Leiden). Member of ESSWE, see: http://www.esswe.org/member_detail.php?member_id=64&ref
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