Image in History. History in Image

Intensive graduate seminar

“Image in History. History in Image”
2­–3 ECTS credits

Hosting Institutions: Institute of History and Archeology of the University of Tartu, Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts

The intensive seminar invites PhD and advanced MA students to discuss the complex relationships of history and visual sources. Visual culture shapes our understanding of history as much as history writing influences our perception of visual sources. Image (e.g. painting, print, photo) as any other source of historical discipline is subject to source criticism. Examining different functions of visual material (e.g. liturgical, didactical, social, legal, propagandistic) enables us to view images not only as mere reflections of the past, but as extensions of the social context they were created in. Images are included as historical evidence in the broadest sense regardless of their aesthetic quality. The seminar is not focusing on a specific historical period or even exclusively on “art”. Rather it raises central questions in history writing such as context, function, and rhetoric. Keywords include: iconography/iconology, roles of authors/commissioners, technique, social structures and mentalities, politics, communication, function, viewers’ expectations and experiences.

Invited speakers include:, Prof. Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat (University of Applied Arts, Vienna), Prof. Gerhard Jaritz (Central European University, Budapest), Dr. Tiina-Mall Kreem (Art Museum of Estonia), Dr. Anu Mänd (Tallinn University), Dr. Ülle Sillasoo (Tallinn University), Ass. Prof. Heie Treier (Tallinn University), Prof. Barbara Welzel (Technical University of Dortmund).

Seminar consists of:

1) lectures and discussions conducted by Estonian and guest lecturers;

2) seminars in smaller groups moderated by Estonian and guest lecturers (requires previous preparation);

3) presentations by PhD students (30 min.) following the topic of the seminar. Interpretation of the seminar subject may emanate from specific questions arisen in personal research.

Programme (PDF)

Abstracts (PDF)

Students` abstracts (PDF)

Introduction of the lecturers

Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat is a Professor of History of Art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Her research interests include art history of the early modern era, especially the Netherlandish painting of 16th–17th century; art history as representational theory (social criticism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, gender studies); the complex relationship of art with other discursive and social practices – the specific power of art to make invisible visible, pointing out ambivalences and contradictions.

Barbara Welzel is a Professor of History of Art at the Technical University of Dortmund. Her research interests include early Netherlandish art history in the late Middle Ages and early modern era. She is also focusing on court culture and history of collecting. Prof. Welzel has been involved in several grand exhibitions (“Peter Paul Rubens. Barock passions”, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig, 2004, and “Charles the Bold: the splendour of Burgundy”, Bern, Bruges and Vienna, 2008–2010). She has done research on medieval Dortmund and its artists, cultural memory and artworks/edifices as places of memory.

Gerhard Jaritz is a Professor at the Department of Medieval Studies in the Central European University in Budapest. His research interests include history of everyday life (e.g. ritual), history of visual culture (e.g. images and communication, images and construction of identities) and gender history (e.g. gender and visual culture, gender and identity, female power in the Middle Ages, gender and space).

Tiina-Mall Kreem (PhD) is a curator at the Art Museum of Estonia. Her research interests include Lutheran church architecture and art during the reign of Alexander II; historic painting in the 19th century; originals, copies and casts in the 19th century collections; the pulpits and altarpieces of 17th and 18th century (with special attention to Christian Ackermann).

Anu Mänd (PhD) is a senior research fellow at the Institute of History in Tallinn University. Her research interests include history and archaeology – especially the cultural history of the Middle Ages (the history of guilds and confraternities). She has written on the subject of art history, being particularly interested in medieval altarpieces and goldsmith work.

Ülle Sillasoo (PhD) is an assistant at the Institute of History in Tallinn University. Her research interests include paleobotany and paleoecology; archaeobotany, etnobotany and the cultural history of plants. She has studied plant and animal depictions in the late medieval art and often approaches the visual sources through archaeobotany.

Heie Treier is an associate professor at the Institute of Arts in Tallinn University. She is a renowned art historian and art critic and has been a long-term editor of the leading Estonian art magazine Her research interests include art of the 20th and 21st century, focusing on the reflection of the paradigmatic changes in society in art (e.g. monuments). She has been involved in several exhibitions both as a curator and artist.

Requirements for participation

Interested graduate students can apply for the seminar by e-mail by March 15, 2013, specifying a preferred way of participation (with/without presentation). Students who are not members of GSCSA are required to add a short CV to specify their education and research interests. E-mail address:

Reading material (obligatory and suggested) is made available with the note of acceptance by March 25, 2013.

Maximum number of participants is 25. The program includes 4–5 student presentations. 2nd year PhD students majoring in history are strongly recommended to make a seminar presentation.

Working languages of the seminar are English (April 18–19) and Estonian (April 20).

ECTS points will be awarded on the following conditions:
2 ETCS participation in the seminar programme
+ 1 ETCS making a presentation

Participation in the course is free of charge; accommodation and travel costs of the students of GSCSA will be reimbursed.

The event is supported by the European Union through the European Social Fund (Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts)