Nineteenth International Baroque Summer Course of the Werner Oechslin Foundation
Memoria is more than history and more than history turned into a monument. The focus is on the conscious act of remembering. And this always means drawing historic objects and events into one’s own realm of experience; hence, it concerns a visualization at each corresponding point in time. History is not situated “vertically” through various epochs as a sequence in a presumably causal context. Instead, it is integrated horizontally in the vivid realm of lived experience. (Precisely this aspect is very often foregrounded in tomb inscriptions, in the sense of overcoming time and transience.)
Thus, for its representation, Memoria particularly requires a whole series of mental capabilities and efforts, covering the entire spectrum from “spetie & forme dell’animo”; it possesses its own force (“vigore della memoria”) and avails itself furthermore of some specific devices. In his “Dialogo” dedicated to Memoria (1562), Lodovico Dolce speaks with relation to Cicero of an “imaginaria dispositione delle cose sensibili nella mente” and adds: “sopra lequali la memoria volgendosi & piegandosi, viene a eccitarsi, & a ricevere giovamento.” It concerns how one handles the comprehensive world of imagination, our “imaginaire.” One can, according to Dolce, appropriate and avail oneself of a memory by this method “con più agevolezza, più distintamente.” Taken by itself, that has long been an “art”. But if one adds the specific artistic means, then the possibilities of representing and shaping Memoria seem nearly limitless.
Inasmuch, art history shows us the virtually overwhelming riches of various characteristics and manifestations. Cathedrals and major churches become receptacles of entire cycles of tombs and monuments. In Mainz, generations of prince bishops are posed and demonstrate in their daily presence the union - in their case a special one – of worldly (dominium temporale) and spiritual (dominium spirituale) power. For this they employ the entire repertoire of images and signs, from the “effigies” to inscriptions and symbols.
The course is open to doctoral candidates as well as junior and senior scholars who wish to address the topic with short papers (20 minutes) and through mutual conversation. As usual, the course has an interdisciplinary orientation. We hope for lively participation from the disciplines of art and architectural history, but also from scholars of history, theology, theatre and other relevant fields. Papers may be presented in German, French, Italian or English; at least a passive knowledge of German is a requirement for participation.
Conditions: The Foundation assumes the hotel costs for course participants, as well as several group dinners and the excursion. Travel costs cannot be reimbursed.
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