Image and Ascent: Mountain Terrains in the History of Art

Image and Ascent: Mountain Terrains in the History of Art
14 Sep 2020, 15:00 to 17 Sep 2020, 17:00
Conference / Symposium

Organised by Dr Joanne W. Anderson (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Carla Benzan (The Open University)

That artworks are closely tied to the landscape in which they are produced is often taken for granted, and yet the recent ecological turn in the humanities has only begun to critically intervene in the methodology of writing art’s histories. Image and Ascent: Mountain Terrains in the History of Art brings recent interest in mountains across the humanities into dialogue with the history of images, offering a forum for new research concerning images of, and images produced in, mountainous terrains. Seeking an alternative to the hierarchical opposition between the base and the summit, we emphasise the notion of the terrain to raise the way in which human agents – artists, patrons, beholders, and scholars – must accommodate and respond to their natural environment. 

Originally scheduled as a two-day conference in June, Image and Ascent will now take the form of a series of afternoon online sessions scheduled between 3-5pm GMT via Zoom, and hosted by the Warburg Institute. The final schedule will be released in mid-August and will include two keynote addresses and thematic sessions of two or three papers with time for conversation and discussion to follow. 

Keynote Addresses: 

  • Professor Jason König (University of St. Andrews) “Mountains and Vision in Ancient Literature and Culture” 
  • Christopher P. Heuer  (University of Rochester) “Evaporating Dürer” 


  • Linda Schädler (ETH Zürich) “Irene Kopelman. In Search Of Glaciological Traces”
  • Marianne Cailloux (Lille University) “Multimodal Mountain perceptions of the mountain: how artistic workshops convey the idea of the Alps”  
  • Philipp Meurer (Kiel University) “Deictic Shifts into the Image? – Fictional Aspects in Pieter Bruegel’s Large Landscape Series”
  • Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) “Mountain site related performance: bringing mountain culture into the climate crisis debate”
  • Jonathan Westaway (University of Central Lancashire) “‘But there is Art and ART’: George Leigh Mallory, positional deixis and the aesthetics of mountaincraft”
  • Shaun Midanik (University of Toronto): “Simulating the Ascent: Jacopo Ligozzi and the Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Verna (1612)”
  • Henrietta Simpson (Slade) “Moving a Mountain: The Distance and Presence of the 13th-Century Wilderness Image.”
  • Rhoda Eitel-Porter (Print Quarterly) “Mountainous Terrain: Visualizing Dante in Sixteenth-Century Italy”
  • Cristóbal Barria Bignoti (Concordia University) “William Morris Davis: Drawing the geomorphology of mountains”
  • Denise Koller (Princeton University) “Shaping the Lithic Mass: Ferdinand Hodler’s Mountain Landscapes”
  • Rachel Daphne Weiss (UCLA) “Atlas/Mountains: Jan Hackaert’s Alpine Landscapes in the Atlas Blaeu-van der Hem”
  • Barnaby Nygren (Loyola University): ““Indian Wonders:” The Landscapes of Early Colonial Mexico”
  • Elizabeth Griffith (Independent): “Mountain Imagery in Genoese, Ragusan, and Venetian Cityscapes”
  • Diana Mellon (Columbia University) “Bathing and Descent in De balneis Puteolanis”
  • James Pilgrim (Johns Hopkins University/CASVA)  “Bassano’s Alluvial Painting”
  • Anna Grasskamp (Hong Kong Baptist University) “Miniature Mountains: Landscape Constructions in German Handstein and Chinese penjing” 



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