Visual Arts and Communication of Power

Activities in 2017


International conference The Power of Media

The conference will be held in Split, 13–15 June 2018. A call for papers has been sent out.

The conference on the power of media will focus primarily on the interactive function of the early modern period's media as carriers of (political) representation, propaganda and memory in the defined geographic, political and historic area. The role of paintings, prints, theatre, music and historic narratives (chronicles, collected biographies, genealogies) will be considered within the context of their utilisation by art commissioners – primarily secular and religious dignitaries, but also various city institutions (communal authorities, fraternities, universities, academies etc.).

Project team members' seventh meeting

In accordance with project work plan, project team members held their seventh meeting on December 5, 2017, at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb.

Topics discussed at the meeting:

  1. Croatian Science Foundation's evaluation of project’s third year work

    According to Foundation's evaluation panel members, during the third (as well as the second) year great progress has been made. This positive feedback shows that work on the project has been proceeding satisfactorily, and it encourages team members to make even greater efforts in the last year of the project.

  2. Work plan and financial plan for the fourth year

    In the next, fourth, year the focus is not so much on field research as on completing the database, which should be finished by June 2018. Since Croatian Science Foundation does not finance the creation of software tools for a virtual exhibition, it has been decided that the entries from the database will be used for preparing a real exhibition at Klovićevi Dvori Gallery. According to the current work plan, the exhibition has been planned for 2019, about which a preliminary agreement has been made with the exhibition curator, Ana Medić, and Klovićevi Dvori Gallery management.

  3. Final international conference

    Final international conference organized within the project entitled The Power of Media will be held in Split, June 13–15, 2018. The call for papers has been sent, and twenty-three participants from Croatia and abroad have applied so far.


Scientific Colloquium Semantics of Self-Presentation

On June 6, 2017 a scientific colloquium entitled Semantics of Self-Presentation: Coat-of-arms, Insignia and Portraits in Commissioners’ Iconography 15–18th ct. in Croatia (‘Semantika osobne reprezentacije: grbovi, insignije i portreti u ikonografiji naručitelja od 15. do 18. st. u Hrvatskoj’; programme in PDF) was held at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb. Colloquium was an important activity listed on the VACOP project work plan. In a series of interesting presentations, new materials within this specific field of visual art have been presented, whereas some already known examples have been observed from a new point of view. In accordance with the colloquium’s programme, participants have discussed the issues concerning the commissioners’ self-presentation manifested  through their coat-of-arms, portraits, insignia and other attributes that have been incorporated in the works of visual art and architecture from the 15th to 18th century. The debate about the role and function of coat-of-arms and portraits ranged from recognizing their importance in identifying the art-commissioner to various strategies of the ‘rhetoric of the image’,which mediates the open or hidden intentions of  patrons in symbolic communication with  their social environment.

Project team members’ sixth meeting

According to the project work plan, project team members held their sixth meeting as a part of the scientific colloquium Semantics of Self-Presentation (‘Semantika osobne prezentacije’), which was held on June 6, 2017 at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb. Members discussed the dynamic with which the activities planned for the 3rd year of the project have been preformed. Project leader asked the team members to intensify the rate at which they are preparing entries for the database that will serve as a source for a virtual or real exhibition scheduled for the end of 2018. Team members also discussed the final international conference, which will be held at the beginning of June 2018. The call for conference participation will be sent out at the beginning of autumn this year.


Mirjana Repanić Braun at international conference in Ljubljana

On the international conference about The Role of Religious Confraternities in Medieval and Early Modern Art in Ljubljana (Mai,10-12) M.  Repanić Braun participated with the  paper about Baroque Artistic Legacy of Confraternities in the Croatian Franciscan Province of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Essential facts about the history of foundation and the activities of the confraternities in the Croatian Franciscan Province of Saints Cyril and Methodius may be obtained by collecting the data issued in a series of publications on the monasteries and churches of the Province by the friar Paškal Cvekan on the basis of his study of the Province’s archives. The paper brings insight into the results of further field and archival research of the artistic legacy of the brotherhoods active in the monasteries of the Province, with special attention given to the social status of their members, iconography of patronage and influence on visual identity of the 17th and 18th centuries’ religious art in North West Croatia. Religious brotherhoods that promoted their devotions and values within the monastery churches of the present-day Province established in 1900 by uniting the Croatian-Crainian province of the Holy Cross, the province of St Ladislas, and the Slavonian province of St John of Capistran, undoubtedly acted as commissioners of artistic works, primarily their 'altars' together with associated sculptural and pictorial equipment. Nevertheless, in a wider frame these works, with a few exceptions, do not bring anything new or exciting when it comes to the artists and craftsmen involved. As commissioners confraternities followed previously defined paths of other donors, relying mostly on artists workshops in Novo Mesto, Maribor, Ljubljana, Graz and Pecs, and far less on domestic forces, engaging mostly woodcarvers and sculptors active in the Franciscan monasteries or larger north Croatian towns, mainly Zagreb and Varaždin. The iconography of commissioned artworks is simple, and except for few examples, was based on themes related to the utmost appreciated patrons of the three confraternities – the Confraternity of the Cord of Saint Francis, the Scapular Confraternity and the Confraternity of St Anthony of Padua.


Petra Batelja at doctoral seminar in Ljubljana

Doctoral student Petra Batelja participated in a doctoral seminar held at the Geographical Museum Hall of the Ljubljana Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Slovenian: ZRC SAZU) on 26th May, 2017. The seminar was organized as a part of a workshop within the project “Artistic Representation of Nobility: Commissions on the Territory of Styria in the Early Modern Period“, which is headed by Polona Vidmar, PhD and financed by Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS). In her lecture entitled “Role of Oršić Family as Art Commissioners in the 18th Century“, P. Batelja presented the methodology of her doctoral dissertation as well as the results of her work with the focus on Slovenian comparative materials and sources.



Public lecture held by Milan Pelc in Vienna

Project leader, Milan Pelc, PhD gave a public lecture entitled Die Wiener Schule der Kunstgeschichte und die kroatische Kunstwissenschaft (“Vienna School of Art History and Croatian Art History Discipline”) on March 9, 2017. The lecture was organized by and held at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Vienna. In his lecture, Milan Pelc presented the work of the Vienna School of Art History’s scientists who researched Croatian cultural heritage in the second half of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries: Rudolf von Eitelberger, Dagobert Frey, Hans Folnesics, Max Dvořák, Josef Strzygovski and others. These scientists have greatly contributed to establishing the discipline of art history and protection of monuments in Croatia, which was at the time part of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. They also had strong connections with Iso Kršnjavi, Gjuro Szabo, Artur Schneider, Ljubo Karaman and other Croatian art historians who obtained higher education at the Vienna University. They were responsible for implementing the methods of the Vienna School of Art History into Croatian art-historical discipline, which are most noticeable in the critical approach to archival sources and the analysis of monuments.