Romanticism and the Peripheries: An International and Interdisciplinary Conference


Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon

"The Romantic phenomenon seems to defy analysis, not only because its exuberant diversity resists any attempt to reduce it to a common denominator but also and especially because of its fabulously contradictory character" (Michael Löwy and Robert Sayre, Romanticism against the Tide of Modernity, trans. by Catherine Porter, Durham/London: Duke University Press, 2001). In an attempt to accommodate both its diversity and contradictory character, Löwy and Sayre defined Romanticism as "a worldview constituted as a specific form of criticism of ‘modernity'" and expanded the term beyond artistic and literary phenomena to encompass a wide range of fields such as religion, political theory, philosophy, etc. Even though Löwy and Sayre may offer a guiding principle outside the interpretative confusion often generated by the term, their analysis is still mostly, if not exclusively, concerned with the definition of the phenomenon as it manifested in the principal centers of Europe (namely England, France, and Germany).

This 3-day conference, organized on the occasion of the bicentenary of Fernando II's birth, the Portuguese king responsible for the edification of what is widely considered the hallmark of Romantic Portuguese architecture, seeks to focus on Romanticism in the peripheries, both European and non-European, and explore the validity of the concept for the analysis of artistic and cultural forms that, for the most part, originated outside the centers of bourgeois industrial civilization. Taking as its starting point the definition proposed by Löwy and Sayre, the conference invites participations on a number of issues including, but not limited to:

  1. When Was Romanticism? Attempts at Periodization and Definition.
  2. Sublime matters: Romanticism and Material Culture.
  3. Transfers and Cross-Sections: Literature, Theater and the Visual Arts.
  4. The Romantic Traveler: Drawings, Prints and Souvenirs. 
  5. Artistic Education. Academy versus Nature?
  6. Romantic Landscape, Gardens and Architecture.
  7. Romantic Nationalism – Romantic Imperialism? The Politics of Style.

We are happy to announce that Laurens Dhaenens, PhD Researcher and member of the LGC staff, will present the following lecture at the conference: "A Modern Athens, a New Venice and Another Orient: Travel and Traditions in Argentine Art at the End of the Nineteenth Century"

Lieven Gevaert Centre
KU Leuven, Faculty of Arts
Blijde Inkomststraat 21 pb 3313
B-3000 Leuven

Lieven Gevaert Centre
UC Louvain, Archéologie et d'histoire d'art
FIAL - Place Blaise Pascal 1 bte L3.03.13
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve