The international research and exhibition project Gothic Modern has been launched by the Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. The project schedule spans 2018 to 2025. ‘Gothic Modern: from Medieval and Northern Renaissance to Dark, Emotive, Uncanny Modern Art’ explores the pivotal importance of Gothic art for the artistic modernisms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
- An ambitious new approach to modern art focusing on the untold story of Nordic and Northern European medieval reinventions from the 1890s to the fall of the Weimar Republic.
- Illuminates the Gothic as a core fascination for late 19th and early 20th-century art, crossing cultural borders, transcending nationalism, straddling war and its aftermath.
- Reveals a hidden aspect of the work of Edvard Munch and Käthe Kollwitz through their deep attraction to the art of the ‘Gothic’ past, as well as how this resonated for their contemporaries, such as Theodor Kittelsen, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Hugo Simberg and Helene Schjerfbeck.
- Explores how these artists were inspired by medieval art through pilgrimages, eroticism and the ‘Dance of Death’ to create powerful new expressions of artistic and cultural identity: of sexuality and trauma; death and reconnection.
- The focus is on major fin-de-siècle and early 20th-century Nordic, German and Russian artworks alongside rare medieval and Northern Renaissance objects
- A compelling exploration of the Gothic for the 21st century, concerning the individual, gender, difference and transnational community, entwined with the dark, the emotive and uncanny, as well as connected cultures, places and new spaces of art.
(Juliet Simpson, 2021)
Professor Dr Juliet Simpson, Professor of Art History, and Chair of Visual Art and Cultural Memory, Coventry University, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Leader, Ateneum Art Museum – Finnish National Gallery
Dr Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, Chief Curator of exhibitions and research, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, email@example.com
National Museum, Oslo and Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin
Gothic Modern News and Upcoming Events
Forthcoming – Autumn 2021
- ‘Gothic Connections and Connectors – Afterlives of Medieval Art in the Baltic and Nordic Countries: 1870s–1920s’, international research conference, organised by Prof. Juliet Simpson and Dr Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, in the Ateneum Art Museum / Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Autumn 2021
Gothic Modern Publications – FNG Research New Online Series
- Juliet Simpson, ‘Lucas Cranach’s Legacies – “Primitive” and Rooted identities of Art and Nation at the European Fin-de-Siècle’, FNG Research 5/2020, https://research.fng.fi/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/fngr_2020-5_simpson_juliet_article1.pdf
- Krista Kodres, ‘Writing the Gothic: Defining the Character of Medieval Heritage in Estonia from the late 19th Century to the 1930s’, FNG Research 2/2021,
Featured image: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Death and the Flower, woodcut, 9.5cm x 5.5cm
Antell Collections, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis
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