Experimental International Project “Migrating Art Historians”

The project Migrating Art Historians has risen from the students and teachers’ experiences at the Department of Art History, Masaryk University, that they have been gathering on French medieval pilgrimage paths for the past five years. What they came to realize is that observing artwork while traveling on foot considerably changes the ability to understand it and makes one study the artwork as an actual event. Of course, behind the process of image creation, there is primarily the intention of a patron and the ability of the artisans. However, it is the pilgrim who – in a particular moment and at a particular place – apprehends and thus possesses the image. Because of this immediate personal contact, the immobile images gain the capacity to enlarge their own visual impact and to retroactively grasp a part of the movement dynamism. That is why a group of twelve students decided to widen their experience as well as to put it into a specific scientific framework and – with the help of modern technology – to transmit it to the wider public.

documentary movies

During the four-month pilgrimage – going from Lausanne to Mont-Saint-Michel – every student will work on a topic that is also the subject of their Master thesis. Their works will then come out as a joint publication, which will also include the texts written by eminent medieval art historians such as Michele Bacci, Hans Belting, Herbert Kessler, Eric Palazzo, Daniela Mondini and Tanja Michalsky. These same scholars will meet the students during their three-week breaks from the walk in such monasteries as Conques and Saint Benoît sur Loire. Through a series of lectures and discussions, these scholars will help the students to move forward in their research. Moreover, the lectures will be streamed online on the Masaryk University e-learning platform. Another outcome accessible to the wider public will be a series of short films available on YouTube. The project Migrating Art Historians will thus present a brand new way of looking at and thinking about ancient images.

migrating art historians


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