Styles  Revisited:
From Iconology to Digital Image Studies

2021-2022 Artl@s/Visual Contagions Research Seminar.

Organizers: Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (UNIGE), Catherine Dossin (Purdue University), and Nicola Carboni (UNIGE)

The 2021-2022 Artl@s/Visual Contagions research seminar will be devoted to the ubiquitous yet elusive and challenging notion of “style”. The seminar forms part of two research projects: IMAGO at École normale supérieure, Paris, France (European Jean Monnet Excellence Center, 2019-2022), on the European circulation of images, and a new project launched in January 2021 at the university of Geneva, Switzerland, VISUAL CONTAGIONS (SNSF 2021-2025), on the globalization of images.

Questions we aim to address and explore include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Is style a transhistorical and transcultural concept? How have different periods, traditions, cultures, etc. used this notion – if they have used it at all? Are there alternative, understudied historiographies of the notion of style? How might such alternative approaches of style help us think globally in order to revisit, enrich and renew our existing concepts? What constitutes a style? When talking about style, are we making a de re or de dicto statement? Are there tangible qualities that we use to recognize a specific style and distinguish it from other styles? Could these qualities be formalized, and perhaps even analyzed using computational methods?
  • What is a style for an algorithm? Which are the best existing algorithms that could help us to classify images according to styles? which dimensions and features do they take into account? Could the results obtained from one style be reproduced for others? How does circulation affect style? For example, does a style become recognized as such only through circulation? How do cultural transfers affect styles? Do they strengthen styles, or rather dilute them? How can the study of stylistic circulations escape the center/periphery model and its implicit hierarchies?
  • Is it possible to detect, from large corpora of images, the factors surrounding the emergence of a style, its circulations, and its disappearance? Could these phenomena be detected and illustrated using numerous corpora of images? Are quantitative methods enough? Can we utilize databases of historical knowledge (e.g. EventKG, Wikidata) to determine trends and refine initial results?
  • Could computer vision and machine learning techniques help us come up with completely a new way of thinking about the history of art through styles?


Read the full Seminar's presentation at this link

Artl@s’s annual research seminar is hosted by the IMAGO Center at the Ecole normale supérieure, 45 rue d’Ulm in Paris (France), in collaboration with the project VISUAL CONTAGIONS at the ùniversity of Geneva (Switzerland) and with Purdue University (USA).

The seminar will take place online every month at 2pm (GMT+1) in  September 20, October 18, November 15, December 13, 2021 and January 24, February 7, March 7, April 11, May 16, June 13, 2022. A calendar file for all the sessions is available at this link.



  • Bèatrice Joyeux-Prunel, Nicola Carboni, Université de Genève - Perspectives over the notion of style

  • Amanda Wasielewski, Stockholm University - Computational Formalism: Art History and Machine Learning

  • Leonardo Impett, Durham University - Form and content in computer vision

  • Nanne Van Noord, University of Amsterdam - On the relationship between style and task

  • Marco Jalla, Université de Genève - Style and copy: the case of Johann Anton Ramboux

  • Anne Foucault, Université Paris-Nanterre - 'Style': with or without it? The notion of style in André Malraux’s, George Duthuit’s and André Breton’s writings of Art History

  • Claire Charrier, Université Paris-Nanterre - Style et transfert culturel : le cas des dessins et estampes de Rembrandt inspirés des miniatures mogholes

  • Francisco Mamani-Fuentes, Université Paris Sciences et Lettres - Style artistique ou réalité transculturelle : le mudejarismo vu depuis l’Amérique Latine

  • Jan Blanc, Université de Genève - What is the purpose of style? Questions of method in art history

  • David Lo Buglio, Université Libre de Bruxelles - From column to facade: Morphological and stylistic characterization of architectural digitizations

  • Karina Pronitcheva, St. Petersburg Institute of History (RAS) - The “Russian Style” in 19th-century Russia: concept, forms, perception

  • Carmen Popescu, École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Bretagne - No Need of Styles: Building up Architectural Historiography.

  • Simon Gabay, Université de Genève - Measuring style: the literariness of stylometric features

  • Michael F. Zimmermann, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt - Style - appropriation - parody. Habitus or visual rhetoric? Some thoughts on Manet, and on hermeneutics in art history.

  • Tatiana Senkevitch, The Paris Institute for Critical Thinking - The Classical in the Contemporary: On the Transformations of a Style

  • Rosário Salema de Carvalho, University of Lisbon - How many Annunciations are there? The impact of European prints on Baroque azulejos (1675-1750)

  • Maurizio Ghelardi, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University - Aby Warburg: The transformations of style

  • Jorge Sebastián Lozano, University of València - Just how bizarre are bizarre silks? A case study in style historiography and visual digital analysis

  • Alison Langmead and Christopher J. Nygren, University of Pittsburgh - The Substance of Style: Connoisseurship Between Art History and Digital Technologies

  • Peter Bell, Dirk Suckow, Prathmesh Madhu, Ronak Kosti, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg - Content vs. Style: two sides of the same coin