Aesthetic Practices and Spatial Descriptions

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By Philip Geisler and Lucy Jarman

Configurations of Micro, Macro, Meso: Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices Workshop in Florence, 6th – 8th June 2014

Peacock room of the Castello di Sammezzano.

Peacock room of the Castello di Sammezzano (Photo: Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

The concluding workshop for the 2013/14 fellows of Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices followed up on one of the central themes of the year’s program which was describing spaces. Taking a closer look at the interconnections of the spatial categories micro and macro – and meso as the mediator between these two poles, Florence seemed an ideal city space which negotiates these categories and which would provide the fellows with the opportunity to connect with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, the institution which initiated the fellowship program.

The workshop included a city walk with Hannah Baader and Gerhard Wolf, a welcome at the KHI and an introduction to its library and photo library. Visits of the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Museo degli Argenti served as the framework within which to discuss spatial configurations and their implications. The Pietre Dure for instance, an elaborate technique with semi-precious stone inlaid, illustrated how micro and macro are interwoven by displaying whole landscapes and seascapes, naturally grown in finest crystalline structures.

The Art Histories group at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure on July 7th, 2014.

The Art Histories group at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure on July 7th, 2014 (Photo: Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

A portrait made of stone, 16th century.

A portrait made of stone, 16th century (Photo: Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

On Monday evening the fellows of Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices as well as the CAHIM fellows (Connecting Art Histories in the Museum) presented an aspect of their own research, focusing on a configuration between micro, macro and meso within their own work. The event was generously hosted by the KHI and followed by a lively discussion joined by fellows of the KHI as well as external guests.

Discussion during the Art Histories Presentation at the Kunsthistorisches Institut Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut, Palazzo Grifoni on July 7th, 2014.

Discussion during the Art Histories Presentation at the Kunsthistorisches Institut Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut, Palazzo Grifoni on July 7th, 2014 (Photo: Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

The final activity and probable highlight of the workshop’s schedule was the visit of the Castello di Sammezzano, a palazzo and former hotel about an hour from Florence. The castello, erected in the early 17th century, was redecorated in the second half of the 19th century in an opulent and eclectic Orientalist style, becoming a space in which ornamental micro forms are freely combined, creating a macro space of the fantasized other, the Orient. Accompanied by Gerhard Wolf, Hannah Baader, Avinoam Shalem and Eva-Maria Troelenberg, the participants used this event concluding the workshop with a discussion in the castello’s sunny garden facing an imposing indo-saracenic façade –somewhere in the middle of Tuscany.

Indo-saracenic façade of the Castello di Sammezzano.

Indo-saracenic façade of the Castello di Sammezzano (Photo: Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Philip Geisler studied media studies at the Medienakademie Berlin, as well as art history, Islamic studies and political science at the Free University Berlin. He is Student Assistant of the research program Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices.

Lucy Jarman studies European art history, East Asian art history and Korean studies at the Free University Berlin since 2008. She is Student Assistant of the research program Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices.

This text was produced in the context of the Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices Workshop in Florence: “Aesthetic Practices and Spatial Descriptions. Configurations of Micro, Macro, Meso”

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Citation: Philip Geisler/ Lucy Jarman, Aesthetic Practices and Spatial Descriptions, in: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research, 18.08.2014 https://trafo.hypotheses.org/1220.


Forum Transregionale Studien

The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien is a research organization that promotes the internationalization of research in the humanities and social sciences. The Forum provides scope for collaboration among researchers with different regional and disciplinary perspectives and appoints researchers from all over the world as Fellows. In cooperation with universities and research institutions in Berlin and the rest of Germany, it carries out research projects that examine other regions of the world and their relationship to Germany and Europe systematically and with new questions.

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