Eighth Graduate Workshop

The Problem of Religious Art in Modernity: Uses and Abuses of the Icon in Russia


October 14, 15, and 16, 2020

14.00-17.00 (Vienna)
8-11 am (NYC) | 3-6 pm (Moscow) | 8-11 pm (Singapore)

In Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche wrote: “that species of art can never flourish again which—like the Divine Comedy, the paintings by Raphael, the frescoes of Michelangelo, Gothic cathedrals—presupposes not only a cosmic but a metaphysical significance in the objects of art.” In his usual provocative manner, Nietzsche attracted attention to the problem of religious art in a secular modernity. This issue was already implicit in Kant’s notion of the viewer of the work of art as “indifferent to the real existence of the object of representation.”

The eighth graduate workshop of the Russian Art and Culture Group in collaboration with the “Eurasia in Global Dialogue” Program at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna, will consider the deep implications posed by the problem of religious art by examining the various ways in which the icon was adapted in modern Russia to serve different artistic, philosophical, and political agendas.

Wednesday, October 14

13.30 (Vienna) | 7.30 am (NYC) | 2.30 pm (Moscow) | 7.30 pm (Singapore)
Opening: Welcome Address
Isabel Wünsche, Jacobs University Bremen

13.45 (Vienna) | 7.45 am (NYC) | 2.45 pm (Moscow) | 7.45 pm (Singapore)
Some Inquiries Concerning the Understanding of Icons
Thomas Németh, University of Vienna

Panel I: Russian Icon-Painting
Chair: Clemena Antonova

14.00 (Vienna) | 8.00 am (NYC) | 3.00 pm (Moscow) | 8.00 pm (Singapore)
The Icon-Painters’ Pattern-Books and the End of the Byzantine Iconicity in the Post-Medieval Russia
Alexei Lidov, Lomonosov Moscow State University

14.30 (Vienna) | 8.30 am (NYC) | 3.30 pm (Moscow) | 8.30 pm (Singapore)
The Icon Within the Icon: The Rhetoric of the Composition and the Peculiarities of Icon Veneration in Russia
Oleg Tarasov, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow


Panel II: Fin de Siècle Russian Art
Chair: Isabel Wünsche

15.30 (Vienna) | 9.30 am (NYC) | 4.30 pm (Moscow) | 9.30 pm (Singapore)
Uniting the Opposite: Orthodox Script and Imagery in Russian Folklore Depictions
Ludmila Piters-Hofmann, Jacobs-University Bremen

Thursday, October 15

Panel III: The Mother of God and Her Portrayals
Chair: Clemena Antonova

14.00 (Vienna) | 8.00 am (NYC) | 3.00 pm (Moscow) | 8.00 pm (Singapore)
Marion Iconology and Women’s Agency
Viktoria Lavriniuk, University of Ottawa

14.30 (Vienna) | 8.30 am (NYC) | 3.30 pm (Moscow) | 8.30 pm (Singapore)
Liubov Popova and Reality as a Site of Construction
Petra Carlsson Redell, Stockholm School of Theology


Guest Lecture

15.30 (Vienna) | 9.30 am (NYC) | 4.30 pm (Moscow) | 9.30 pm (Singapore)
Presence and Power: Reflections on the Politics and Theology of Icons
George Pattison, University of Glasgow

Friday, October 16

Panel IV: Philosophical Ideas on Icons
Chair: Isabel Wünsche

14.00 (Vienna) | 8.00 am (NYC) | 3.00 pm (Moscow) | 8.00 pm (Singapore)
The Power of Images and the Failure of Aesthetics: The Russian Position
Clemena Antonova, Eurasia in Global Dialogue (IWM), Vienna

14.30 (Vienna) | 8.30 am (NYC) | 3.30 pm (Moscow) | 8.30 pm (Singapore)
Divine Darkness and Uncreated Light: Byzantine Meanings of Avant-Garde’s Icons
Tatiana Levina, Higher School of Economics, Moscow


Panel V: Twentieth Century Russian Art
Chair: Ludmila Piters-Hofmann

15.30 (Vienna) | 9.30 am (NYC) | 4.30 pm (Moscow) | 9.30 pm (Singapore)
Abstraction as Expression of Religious Truths in Wassily Kandinsky’s Painting
Lilia Sokolova, University of Cologne

16.00 (Vienna) | 10.00 am (NYC) | 5.00 pm (Moscow) | 10.00 pm (Singapore)
Stalin Christ as a Czar: On “Anachronic” (Socialist) Realism
Nikita Balagurov, independent scholar, St. Petersburg