GOTHIC MODERNISMS: 29 & 30 June, 2017, The Rijksmuseum: A two-day international conference discussing the legacies, histories and contested identities of European Gothic/early-modern visual cultures in (global) modernity, in particular in contexts of new fin-de-siècle cultural modernities, modernism, avant-gardes, nationalisms and cosmopolitanisms.

More information here; registration here.

Conference fee (two days): 125€; 40€ for students – includes conference, access to the Rijksmuseum Collections on both days, guided visit to the exhibition Small Wonders, coffee, tea, lunch, snacks and drinks. For enquiries please contact both: Professor Juliet Simpson (Coventry University): and dr. Tessel M. Bauduin (University of Amsterdam)

This conference is the culminating in a trilogy, including ‘Primitive Renaissances’ and ‘Visions of the North’: for earlier events, see ‘Visions of the North’.

Full Programme (Provisional)


THURSDAY 29 June 2017


9.00-9.30        Registration

9.30-9.40        Welcome – Taco Dibbits, Director of the Rijksmuseum

9.40-9.50        Opening words – Juliet Simpson

9.50-11.10      Panel 1: Gothic ‘Revivals’ – Politics and Poetry of Buildings, Play and Panic

                          Chair: Juliet Simpson (Coventry University)

  • Matthew Reeve (Queen’s University, Kingston/Royal Society of Antiquaries, London): ‘Politics of bodies, politics of buildings: from “play” to “panic” in the Gothic architecture of the long eighteenth century’
  • Jozefien Feynaerts (Ghent University): ‘Le choix du style: neo-Tudor prison gatehouses in 19th-century Belgium’
  • Ole Fischer (Utah University): ‘The birth of modernity from the spirit of Gothic? Henry van de Velde and the figure of the iron cathedral’

11.10-11.30   Coffee & tea

11.30-12.45   Panel 2: Belgian Gothic Modern Interiors/Uncanny Spaces

Chair: Jan-Dirk Baetens (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

  • Dominique Bauer (KU Leuven): ‘Enclosures, windows and mirrors. The Gothic interior in the work of Georges Rodenbach and Xavier Mellery’
  • Aude Campmas (University of Southampton): ‘Gothic passion and interiority in J.-K. Huysmans’s St. Lydwine of Schiedam
  • Claire Moran (Queen’s University, Belfast): ‘Moody Princesses at home in Maeterlinck, Rodenbach and Khnopff’

12.45-14.00   Lunch & visit to the Rijksmuseum collections

14.00-15.45   Panel 3: Gothic Alterities at the Fin de Siècle
Chair: Rachel Esner (University of Amsterdam)        

  • Laura Morowitz (Wagner College, NY): ‘Alt-Deutsch and avant-garde: the prints of Joseph Sattler’
  • Stefan Huygebaert (Ghent University): ‘The image of Gothic law in (anti-)Modernist art’
  • Graça Correa (Lisbon University): ‘Landscapes of the Gothic uncanny in Symbolist theatre’
  • Marja Lahelma (University of Edinburgh/University of Helsinki): ‘Gothic elements in Nordic fin-de-siècle art’

15.45-16.05   Coffee & Tea

16.05-17.00   Plenary and Q&A – Professor Elizabeth Emery (Montclair State University, NY)
Chair: Tessel M. Bauduin (University of Amsterdam)

17.00-18.00  Visit to the exhibition Small Wonders

Guided tours for conference guests by curators Ingmar Reesing (UvA) & Frits Scholten (Rijksmuseum)


Friday 30 June 2017
9.00-9.20        Registration


9.20-9.30       Opening words – Tessel M. Bauduin

9.30-11.15     Panel 4: Gothic Modern Cathedrals ― Politics and Potencies of Buildings beyond the ‘Gothic’
Chair: Petra Brouwer (University of Amsterdam)

  • Maria Männig (Karlsruhe University of Design): ‘From Schlegel to Le Corbusier: Modern concepts in Hans Sedlmayr’s “Cathedral”’
  • J. Kirk Irwin (Birkbeck College, University of London): ‘Medieval and Modernist space’
  • Robert S. Nelson (Yale University): ‘Modernism and colonialism in the neo-Gothic of Southeast Asia’
  • Matthew Mullane (Princeton University): ‘The cathedral and the pagoda: Itō Chūta’s Gothic world’

11.15-11.45   Coffee & tea

11.45-13.15   Panel 5:  Reimagining Gothic Nationalisms and Avant-Gardes
Chair: Jenny Reynaerts (Rijksmuseum)

  • Leena Elina Valkeapää (University of Jyväskylä): ‘Gothic Modern discovered: the process of the art historical expeditions in Finland, 1871-1902’
  • Stephanie Glaser (Ruhr-Universität Bochum): ‘The Gothic spirit: Cultural nationalisms on the eve of World War I’
  • Marjan Groot (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam): ‘Gothic Modernism and Expressionism in the 1920s in the Netherlands’

13.15-14.30   Lunch & visit to the Rijksmuseum collections

14.30-16.15   Panel 6: Contested German Gothic Identities:  Legacies, Ideologies, Museums
Chair: Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff (Ateneum Finnish National Gallery)

  • William Diebold (Reed College, Portland): ‘The Magdeburg and Bamberg Riders on display in modern Germany’
  • Gitta Ho (Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, Paris): ‘George Grosz and the art of Late Gothic’
  • Leonie Beiersdorf (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg): ‘Art history’s anthropological turn and its support of Gothic Modernisms’


16.15-16.45   Coffee & Tea

16.45-17.30   Round table & closing remarks ― Juliet Simpson & Tessel M. Bauduin

17.30              Close of conference

17.45              Drinks reception

This conference is organized by Professor Juliet Simpson (Coventry University) and Dr Tessel M. Bauduin (University of Amsterdam), in collaboration with the Rijkmuseum Museum, Amsterdam. Conference Steering Committee: Dr Jenny Reynaerts, Rijksmuseum; Dr Jan Baetens, Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL, Professor Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, Ateneum/Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki.

We are indebted to our sponsors: Coventry University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, UK;  University of Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis, OSK, Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture, the Huizinga Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Ateneum/Finnish National Gallery.