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“Modern Art and the Remaking of Human Disposition”

Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen, Clark Art Institute

Tue, 11/15 · 5:00 pm6:30 pm · Room N107, School of Architecture

Program in Media and Modernity

Why did artists working in Europe around 1900 depart so dramatically from prior norms of depicting human body language? Modern Art & the Remaking of Human Disposition isolates a hitherto unexamined formal phenomenon in turn-of-the-century modernism––a rupture in conventions of corporeal disposition––to bring new concretion to our historical understanding of how turn-of-the-century European modernity was transforming its concepts of what it means to be human. Drawing out the main historiographic and methodological claims of the book, this talk will explore how new understandings of human consciousness emerging in psychological and evolutionary sciences were theorized simultaneously in written discourse and in art across a range of media, through a new vocabulary of postures and poses. More broadly, the talk will elaborate on how and why bodily pose served in European art and philosophy as a primary device to both conceptualize and visualize psychological concepts.

Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen is Acting Director of the Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art at the Clark Art Institute.

Bridget Alsdorf is Professor in Princeton’s Department of Art and Archaeology. She is author of Gawkers: Art and Audience in Late Nineteenth-Century France (Princeton University Press, 2022) and Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting (Princeton University Press, 2012)

Please note:
A discount code will be provided to each attendee of the event. This code will provide a 30% discount on orders of Modern Art and the Remaking of Human Disposition placed on the University of Chicago Press website.

Image: Waslav Nijinsky and Flore Revalles in “Afternoon of a Faun”, Jan. 1917, University of Washington: Special Collections.

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