Past event

English Research Seminar Dr Stephanie O'Rourke (School of Art History, St Andrews)

Self Evidence and Romanticism
This talk reflects on the evidentiary authority of human experience around the turn of the nineteenth century in Western Europe. It is part of a larger project that explores how artistic and scientific practices questioned the extent to which the human body could act as a source of reliable knowledge. After sketching out some of the broader theoretical and historical concerns of the project, I will look specifically at Henry Fuseli, an artist whose notoriously distorted representations of the white male nude puzzled viewers. Yet Fuseli remained significantly invested, intellectually and artistically, in the legibility of the body: for over two decades, the Swiss-born, London-based artist collaborated with his childhood friend Johann Lavater on a treatise on physiognomy, the study of the face and body to determine man's inner traits. What were the epistemological stakes, I ask, of Fuseli's art? Can ‘self evidence' reanimate how we understand some of the formal devices now associated with the emergence of pictorial romanticism?

Dr O'Rourke's talk will be followed by a question and answer session.
All welcome! We hope to see you there.

The link to join is below. Please direct any queries in advance of the event to Katie Garner, [email protected].

Dr Katie Garner
Head of 18C, Romantic, and Victorian Research Group
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