Looking Like: Mimesis/Imitatio in the Art and Architecture of the Middle Ages

Monday, 1 March 2010

14.00 - 18.00, Research Forum South Room

relief of man on horse plus birds and foliage
Photo: L. Cleaver, Loches.

Speaker(s): Jim Harris (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Jack Hartnell (The Courtauld Institute of Art), (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Janet Robson (Birkbeck, University of London), Laura Veneskey (Northwestern University/ The Courtauld Institute of Art), Géraldine Victoir (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Hanna Wimmer (University of Hamburg / Warburg Institute)
Ticket/entry details:
All welcome but numbers are limited. Advance booking by 22 February is essential. For further information and to book please contact Laura Cleaver

Organised by: Dr Laura Cleaver

The imitation (imitatio in Latin) of the natural world has long been considered an ideal quality of works of art. But what do we mean when we say an artwork resembles something, and what does it resemble?

Mimesis as a fundamental characteristic of art was discussed by Plato and Aristotle. The debate was revived in association with classical art by writers of the Renaissance including Vasari, who himself imitated Pliny in praising the deceptive qualities of works of art. Recent scholarship by authors including Erich Auerbach, Svetlana Alpers and Ernst Gombrich has established a discourse about the nature and purpose of mimesis in art. At the same time, such concepts as resemblance and reality have been reconsidered and undermined. This workshop will consider works of art and architecture in the light of both medieval and modern debates about mimesis.

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