CfP: What Is to Be Done? – Discussions in Russian Art Theory and Criticism I

CfP: What Is to Be Done? – Discussions in Russian Art Theory and Criticism I
6th Graduate Workshop of the Russian Art and Culture Group
Jacobs University Bremen, September 20–21, 2018
Guest Speaker: Stepan Sergeevich Vaneyan, Moscow State University
Language: English
Deadline for submission: May 31, 2018


The 6th and 7th graduate workshops of the Russian Art and Culture Group will focus on the main tendencies in Russian art theory. The 6th workshop will be dedicated to the period from the 18th to the early 20th century; the 7th workshop, which will take place in March 2019, will trace the developments from Russian modernism to the present day.


At the 6th workshop, we want to explore the responses to the question What Is to Be Done? (Что делать?) in academic circles as well as by art critics, writers, impresarios, and other members of the Russian intelligentsia. Furthermore, we wish to discuss Russian cosmism (Nikolai Fedorov) and sophiology (Vladimir Solovyov) and how these concepts were applied by Russian artists. We also want to examine how Romanticist ideas, German idealism, positivism, naturalism, essentialism, nihilism, and symbolism were mirrored in Russian artistic theory and practice.


Papers’ topics might include:
- the goals and methods of the Academy and its opponents (e.g. the Peredvizhniki and Vladimir Stasov)
- the role of museums in the preservation, presentation, and education of art
- the pilgrimage of Russian artists to Italy, France, or ancient cultural sites
- reactions to Western aesthetic/philosophical ideas (e.g. Winckelmann, Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kant, Hegel, Berliner and Wiener Schule, Ruskin, Nietzsche, etc.)
- the promotion of plein air painting as an essential part of artistic work
- the arguments of followers and opponents of l’art pour l’art (Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, Benois, Diaghilev, etc.)
- Nicholas Roerich’s theosophical concepts
- the shaping of the image of Russian art beyond Russia (Benois, Grabar, Ettinger)
- the role of art critics in public and artistic education (Khudozhestvenny zhurnal, Apolon, Zolotoye runo, Mir iskusstva, Puni, Jaremich, Radlov, Tugendhold, Efros)


We invite doctoral students, postgraduate researchers, and established academics to submit proposals for 30-minute presentations. Interdisciplinary approaches are very welcome. Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words along with a short biographical note of 100 words by May 31, 2018 to


For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the organizers Tanja Malycheva and Ludmila Piters-Hofmann using the email address above. You will receive notification of the acceptance of paper proposals by mid-June 2018.


Please understand that travel expanses cannot be reimbursed by the organizers.


Initial idea and organization: Prof. Dr. Isabel Wünsche, Jacobs University Bremen; Tanja Malycheva and Ludmila Piters-Hofmann