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Events

Ad Vivum? Conference


  • Courtauld Institute of Art 151 Strand London, WC2R 1HL United Kingdom

The term ad vivum and its cognates al vivo, au vif, nach dem Leben and naer het leven have been applied since the thirteenth century to depictions designated as from, to or after (the) life. This one and a half day event will explore the issues raised by this vocabulary in relation to visual materials produced and used in Europe before 1800, including portraiture, botanical, zoological, medical and topographical images, images of novel and newly discovered phenomena, and likenesses created through direct contact with the object being depicted, such as metal casts of animals.

It is has long been recognised that the designation ad vivum was not restricted to depictions made directly after the living model, and that its function was often to advertise the claim of an image to be a faithful likeness or a bearer of reliable information. Viewed as an assertion of accuracy or truth, ad vivum raises a number of fundamental questions about early modern epistemology – questions about the value and prestige of visual and/or physical contiguity between image and original, about the kinds of information which were thought important and dependably transmissible in material form, and about the roles of the artist in this transmission. The recent interest of historians of early modern art in how value and meaning are produced and reproduced by visual materials which do not conform to the definition of art as unique invention, and of historians of science and of art in the visualisation of knowledge, has placed the questions surrounding ad vivum at the centre of their common concerns.

This event will encourage conversation and interchange between different perspectives involving a wide range of participants working in different disciplines, from postgraduate students to established academics.

Organised by Professor Joanna Woodall and Dr Thomas Balfe (The Courtauld Institute of Art).

Ticket/entry details: £25 (£15 students, Courtauld staff/students and concessions)
BOOK ONLINE: http://ci.tesseras.com/internet/shop Or send a cheque made payable to ‘The Courtauld Institute of Art’ to: Research Forum Events Co-ordinator, Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, stating ‘Ad Vivum’. For further information, email ResearchForumEvents@courtauld.ac.uk.

Full programme here