Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, 1-2 December 2017

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, European artists began to express a new and profound interest in their unique local pasts and cultural inheritances. This was a discourse that was largely shaped by the desire within several countries for cultural and artistic, and ultimately social and economic, independence. Historical scholarship on the subject has been broadly established in many European countries, but research has been dominated by nationalist perspectives that have emphasised the cultural specificity of each country. The European Revivals research project (initiated by the Finnish National Gallery in 2009) aims to stimulate debate on a wider scale. From this perspective, late nineteenth-century cultural revivals appear as a set of complex and interconnected phenomena that are transnational, inherently modern, and with far-reaching consequences.

The topic of the 2017 conference is Cultural Mythologies around 1900. Its aim is to examine issues such as authenticity, ‘rewriting’ and reinterpretation in relation to the production and assimilation of national styles, symbols and cultural narratives in late nineteenth century European art and literature. The conference will draw attention to the constructed and imaginary nature of national identities and the role of various mythical traditions and ‘reinventions’ within this context.

Information about registering for the conference coming soon!


Friday 1 December

9.00         Registration
9.15         Welcome: Christopher Baker
9.20         Opening Words: Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff
9.30         Plenary Lecture: Hugh Cheape
10.30       Tea/Coffee
11.00       Session 1: Reinvention, Authenticity and National Identity

  • Iain Boyd Whyte (University of Edinburgh): Germanen Rediscovered
  • Richard Thomson (University of Edinburgh): René Ménard and the Mute Eloquence of Trees and Stones
  • Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer (Editor-in-Chief, The Art Bulletin): Frederic Leighton and the Politics of Aestheticism

12.30       Lunch
13.30       Parallel Sessions

 Session 2 a: Reinvention, Authenticity and National Identity

  • Juliet Simpson: Lucas Cranach’s ‘Reinventions’ – Reframing ‘Primitive’ and Rooted Identities of Art and Nation at the European Fin-de-Siècle
  • Claudia Hopkins: The Reinvention of El Greco by Spanish Artists around 1900
  • Nicholas Parkinson: The Myth of Nations: Scandinavism in France after the Franco-Prussian War

Session 2b: Reinvention, Authenticity and National Identity

  • Tonje H. Sorensen (University of Bergen): Visions and Dreams – Gerhard Munthe and the Draumkvedet (the Dream Lady)
  • Edyta Barucka (University of Warsaw): Stanislaw Witkiewicz and the Zakopane Style Questions
  • Silja Vuorikuru: (University of Helsinki): Variations of “The White Ship” in Estonian and Finnish Literature at the Turn of the 20th Century

15.00       Plenary Lecture: Riitta Ojanperä
16.00       Storytelling: Linda Perttula
17.00 – 18.00         Visit to Mansefield Traquair


Saturday 2 December

9.30         Session 3: Rewriting and Reinterpretation

  • Domhnall Uilleam Stiubhart (University of the Highlands and Islands): From Gaelic Charms to Carmina Gadelica: Alexander Carmichael as Celtic mythmaker
  • Michael Shaw (University of Kent ): The Celtic Revival and La Jeune Belgique in Scotland
  • Clare A.P. Willsdon (University of Glasgow): Mungo’s Magic – John Duncan’s Interpretation of Celtic Christian legend in The Journey of St Mungo at Ramsay Lodge, Edinburgh 1895-8
  • Abigail Burnyeat (University of Edinburgh): ‘As it hath been, so it shall be?’ Re-writing Cu-Chulainn as national hero in the Celtic Revival

11.30       Coffee/Tea
12.00       Plenary Lecture: Riikka Stewen
13.00       Lunch
14.00       Session 4: Spiritualism and Secret Societies

  • Michelle Foot (University of Edinburgh): The Witch as Spirit-Medium in Scotland’s Celtic Revival
  • Caroline Boyle-Turner (Independent): Paul Serusier and Breton Legends
  • Charlotte Ashby (Birkbeck, University of London): Einar Jonsson: National – Nordic – Universal
  • Scott Lyall (Edinburgh Napier University): ‘Seeking God by strange ways’: Symbolism and the Irish

16.00 – 16.30         Round Table and Closing Remarks

*** Please note: This is a provisional programme outline, changes are possible. ***