Dialectical images, imaginary museums, virtual museums

Dialectical images, imaginary museums, virtual museums

This project aims to understand how technical reproducibility transforms both the works of art and the museums that conserve and display them. In fact, one can create a “personal” virtual museum containing engravings, photographs, and films. Today, the digital revolution is leading a third revolution of the image and it provides virtual museums with unlimited expansion, i.e., “museums without walls.” Borrowed from Walter Benjamin, the concept of “dialectical images” embraces all of its meanings: past and present comingle as much within the images as they are rapidly reproduced, thus accessible. In order to approach this phenomenon, a triple paradigm has been chosen: “dialectical images” in connection with imaginary museums updated in the format of virtual museums. The phenomenon will be studied according to different corpuses, which, by the originality of their format, articulate these three aspects: postcards with their paradoxical relationship to monumentality, artists’ libraries, art historians’ photographs and illustrations, illustrations in sales catalogs, posters, images of cathedrals, and Artists’ Web Projects.

Project leaders
Ségolène LE MEN, university professor (art history), University of Paris West Nanterre La Défense, History of Arts and Representations
Claire BARBILLON, associate professor (art history), University of Paris West Nanterre La Défense, History of Arts and Representations

Internal cluster partners
History of Arts and Representations (HAR, EA 4414)
Library of Contemporary International Documentation (BDIC)
French National Library (BnF)

Associated partners
National Institute of Art History (INHA), France
Rouen Museum
Rodin Museum
École du Louvre
Collection France Debuisson
Department of art history and film studies, University of Montreal
Department of history, archeology, geography, arts, and performing arts, University of Florence
Department of art history, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
Department of history, Cambridge University

Duration: 4 years



Programme of the symposium "Scenes of the Impressionist Life:
 A Musée imaginaire" - September 7&8, 2016
programme_colloque_musimaginaire_impressionnistes-1.pdf ( pdf - 776.35 Ko )

Call for papers - Early career researchers workshop - "The transfigured cathedral"
appel_a_communication_-_atelier_jeunes_chercheurs.pdf ( pdf - 102.65 Ko )

Call for papers "The transfigured cathedral" (German version only)
appel_a_communications.pdf ( pdf - 79.19 Ko )

Programme of the symposium "The transfigured cathedral"
programme_colloque.pdf ( pdf - 3.84 Mo )