Focus 7: National traditions, circulations and identities in European art

The Titian, The rape of Europa
Titian, Europa. 1560-1562, oil on canvas.
Source: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Research Area 7 examines the history of art with the LabEx’s objective of providing elements to both explain and respond to the crisis Europe is currently experiencing. This involves highlighting the catalysts for unity and the factors for division acting upon the complex development of a European cultural identity, from the Middle Ages to the present, through the study of three priority subjects: geography, historiography, and heritage.

The first involves the geographies of artistic production and exchange, and the impact of geopolitical conditions on art history: how artists approach European territory and insert themselves within it, or on the contrary free themselves from certain centers. This research will reflect on the founding of an artistic identity within a Europe of shifting boundaries, and on the spatial dimension of sedentary or nomadic artistic “societies.”

Research on historiography reflects on European self-representation, including “revealing” images and the words associated with these images. Images of an iconic nature—allegories, emblems, maps, symbolic objects—express speech;

inversely, the speech “orchestrates” the image by connecting it to a certain type of language: national, European, or universal.

Finally, the third subject explores questions connected to European artistic heritage in the broad sense of the term. The subjects explored will notably include awareness of the need to protect heritage, and the emergence of institutions relating to the conservation and protection of heritage in Europe.


Research Area Director: 

  • Dany SANDRON:  a scientific director and Professor of Archeology and Art History, Dany Sandron is a specialist on architecture and monumental art (11th – 15th centuries). He works in particular on the integration of edifices within a broad context in order to define the iconological aspect of monuments, the sole way of appreciating the full scope of architectural choices, and the inclusion of monuments in their urban context. It is from this viewpoint that he explores architecture and the decor of Gothic cathedrals.

Postdoctoral fellow in charge of research: 

  • Etienne Faisant – Research area coordinator.

Steering Committee:

  • Christine GOUZI – Designated contact for the theme of “Geography,” Associate Professor in the History of Early Modern Art. Research subjects: 18th century religious painting; the relations between religion, politics, and censorship; the relations between art and Jansenism; religious engraving during the 17th and 18th centuries; religious commissions during the 18th century; painting and decor during the turning point of 1900-1914.
  • Alexandre GADY – Director of the centre André Chastel, Professor of Early Modern Architectural History. Research subjects: French architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries; urban planning in Europe during the early modern period; the history of Paris; heritage.
  • Philippe LORENTZ – Professor of Medieval Art History. Research subjects: painting and the figurative arts during the medieval period (illumination, stained glass windows, tapestries, sculpture). Emphasized areas: the nature of sources in medieval art, artistic geography and the mobility of artists, versatility of artists.
  • Larisa DRIANSKY – Associate Professor of Modern Art History. Research subjects: art of the second half of the 20th century; American art; cartography and art; video art; science and art.
  • Jean-Baptiste MINNAERT – Professor of Modern Art History. Research subjects: history of architecture and the city, 19th—20th centuries. Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modernist Movement, urban peripheries.


Research notebook :