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Art Historiographies in Central and Eastern Europe An Inquiry from the Perspective of Entangled Histories

Project description

Periodisation, style and influence: new insights into art historiographies

Art history is a visual window to the past, allowing us to understand how society has evolved. With a focus on Central and Eastern Europe, the EU-funded ArtHistCEE project will offer a fragmentary account of the art histories produced between 1850 and 1950 from an entangled histories perspective. In doing so, the project will offer new perspectives on the history of the region and challenge the sometime nationalistic, descriptive, and uncritical bent of the region’s art historiographies.


Our project proposes a fragmentary account of the art histories produced in present-day Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia between 1850 and 1950, from an entangled histories perspective. We will look at the relationships between the art histories produced in these countries and the art histories produced in Western Europe. But, more importantly, we will investigate how the art histories written in the countries mentioned above resonate with each other, either proposing conflicting interpretations of the past, or ignoring uncomfortable competing discourses. We will investigate the art histories written between 1850 and 1950 because we are interested in how art history contributed to nation building discourses. Therefore, we will focus on those art histories that concur to nationalising the past. Our project is articulated around three crucial concepts – periodisation, style and influence – set in the context of relevant contemporary historiographies produced in Western Europe, and analysing the entanglements with competing historiographies in each of the countries considered. We will focus on two main issues: 1. How did Central and Eastern European art historians adopt, adapt and respond to theoretical and methodological issues developed elsewhere, and 2. What are the periodisations of art produced on the territory of Central and Eastern European countries; what are the theoretical and methodological strategies for conceptualising local styles; and how was the concept of influence used in establishing hierarchical relationships. Researching the conceptualisation of a theoretical framework that would accommodate the artistic production of the past will show the difficulties in dealing with a complex reality without simplifying and essentializing it along ideological lines. The research will also show that the three concepts that we focus on are not neutral or strictly descriptive, and that their use in art history needs to be reconsidered.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 638 618,70
023971 Bucuresti

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Macroregiunea Trei Bucureşti-Ilfov Bucureşti
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 638 618,70

Beneficiaries (1)