Caroline van Eck: How does an Idol enter a Museum? The Fetish of Aesthetic Autonomy in Debates about the Musée Charles X at the Louvre

The Musée Charles X in the Louvre (1819-26) was designed to house the Egyptian collections recently acquired by the French government. Its decoration and arrangement led to intense conflicts between the curator, Champollion, and the management of the Louvre, that reflected and shaped debates about the autonomy of art, the nature and status of Egyptian art as idols, art works or antiquarian artefacts, and the question whether the museum should be a place for scientific analysis or immersive experience. An almost contemporary of the Altes Museum in Berlin, the Musée Charles X thus allows priviliged access to clashes between aesthetic, arthistorical and anthropological approaches to art.


Caroline van Eck is Professor of Art and Architecture to 1800 at Leiden University. From 2006 to 2011 she directed the NWO-funded VICI-program 'Art, Agency and Living Presence'. Recent publications include Art, Agency and Living Presence: From the Animated Image to the Excessive Object (Munich: Walter Degruyter/Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2015), and, with Stijn Bussels,  Theatricality in Early Modern European Art (Oxford: Wiley, 2011).

03 September 2015, 4:00pm

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz

Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze


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