'creative writing and art history' - publication launch

Thursday, 26 May 2011

18.00, Front Hall, The Courtauld Institute of Art

portrait of woman in 19th century clothes, Europe

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission
Organised by: Dr. Catherine Grant (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

A launch celebrating a special issue of the journal Art History on the theme of “Creative Writing and Art History”. Arising from the Research Forum’s Writing Art History project, the collection presents one theme from this series of lectures and symposia, highlighting work from the project’s seminar group. The essays consider the ways in which the writing of art history intersects with creative writing, from the creative writing of art history to dialogues between modes of creative and art historical writing. Whilst the subject matter covered is diverse – from late Neolithic stone circles to the writing of a sentence by Flaubert – there are a number of questions that circulate, in particular the stakes involved in various forms of art historical writing, and the claims made for the art historian’s interpretation. Some authors analyse historical examples of art historical writing that have a creative element, others explore conversations between literature and art history, whilst others attempt their own modes of creative writing about art. Topics include Paul Gaugin’s collages of quotations, Sophie Calle’s collaboration with Paul Auster, Henry James’ portraiture, Bernard Berenson’s fictional artist ‘Amico di Sandro’, Virginia Woolf’s ‘visual’ writing, Pablo Picasso’s solar mythology as re-written by Georges Bataille and creative writing in the ‘middle voice’.

A link to the online version of the journal can be found here:



‘A narrative of what wishes what it wishes it to be’: An Introduction to ‘Creative Writing and Art History’, Catherine Grant (The Courtauld Institute of Art and Goldsmiths, University of London)

Writing Perceptions: The Matter of Words and the Rollright Stones, Nicholas Chare (University of York)

(Blind Summit) Art Writing, Narrative, Middle Voice, Gavin Parkinson (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Connoisseurship, Painting and Personhood, Jeremy Melius (Princeton University)

Under the Hat of Art Historian: Panofsky, Berenson, Warburg, Francesco Ventrella (University of Leeds)

‘The Liar’: Fictions of the Person, Patricia Rubin (Institute of Fine Arts, New York)

‘Scattered notes’: Authorship and Originality in Gauguin’s ‘Diverses choses’, Linda Goddard (University of St Andrews)

‘Sudden gleams of (f)light’: ‘Intuition as Method’?, Charlotte de Mille (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Rotten Sun, C. F. B. Miller (University of Manchester)

Notes on Writing as Vertigo, Satish Padiyar (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

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