Style and Cultural Transfer

Style et transfert culturel : le cas des dessins et estampes de Rembrandt inspirés des miniatures mogholes

Author: Claire Charrier, Université Paris-Nanterre


The notion of cultural transfer supposes a meeting between two cultures, which confront each other with otherness. At the same time, the welcoming culture gives a new context to what it receives. Putting the concept of style to the test of this notion requires analyzing how the imitation of one culture by another can bring about reciprocal stylistic transformations. Rembrandt (1606-1669) questions the fact that artists (stands out in his own way) single themselves out through their manner of painting , by practicing etching experimentally. This receptivity to otherness helps to understand another originality of hish graphic work: the study of contemporary Mughal miniatures. These also come from a cultural transfer, as one of their sources is European Renaissance art. Mughal portraits capture individual psychology, while having a political aim. The figures magnify the dignitaries who are subjected to a powerful ceremony. Rembrandt's drawings isolate the figures from all context and transform them into "figures of attention" (Aloïs Riegl), characterized by their interiority. However, the choice of oriental paper attests to the existence of a real encounter. It allows the viewer to recognize the origin of the imitated work, while referring to the sensitive beauty, exalted by the work of Rembrandt. The work from the miniatures helps Rembrandt to reinforce his own way style, that can be understood as an absence in a unique way, and thereby capturing the kairos (Longinus, Du sublime.) So the object and its artistic expression fit perfectly.


Claire Charrier has a doctorate in philosophy associated with the HAR (History of arts and representations) laboratory at the University of Paris Nanterre. In 2016, she presented a thesis on "The sublime in the engraved work of Rembrandt". The latter is in the process of being published by Presses Universitaires de Rennes. Claire Charrier has participated in numerous conferences and has written several articles, in particular the Rembrandt engraver entry of the “Dictionnaire des Pays-Bas au Siècle d'Or”, under the supervision of Catherine Secretan and Willem Frijhoff (2018 Prize of the Society of Seventeenth Century Study). At the crossroads between philosophy and art history, her research themes focus on the tradition of the sublime as offering tools for art criticism; the relationship between painting and printmaking in modern times; Rembrandt's artistic thought studied from his printmaking techniques, variations in his style and the different themes of his iconography. This involves the theology of kenosis; the hermeneutics of testimony; the relationship between the work of art and its audience, self-portrait, landscape, the iconography of the beggar and its political and social dimensions.

Style artistique ou réalité transculturelle: le mudejarismo vu depuis l’Amérique latine

Author: Francisco Mamani-Fuentes, Université Paris Sciences et Lettres


One of the great debates in Spanish historiography has been the status of the Mudejar style or mudejarismo in architecture. Since its birth as a style, it has been a source of intense discussions about its place within Spanish architectural nationalism and about the ethnic and religious origins of its builders. Nowadays, visual studies have approached mudejarismo through the artistic circulations between the Iberian world and the Islamic Mediterranean or from the redefinition of Iberian forms in colonial spaces, eliminating it as stylistic category. This artistic phenomenon is not exclusive to Europe: the Iberian colonization of the Americas allowed the transfer and circulation of visual forms and construction techniques that were selected, adopted and adapted in architecture as well as in the arts and material culture. This americanization of mudejarismo is an area of study that needs to be revitalized by accessing and learning about an alternative historiography from the Americas. These "other" perspectives question mudejarismo as an Iberian and European phenomenon, and insert it in a space that allows to escape from the center-periphery model, installing a horizontal vision of historiography. To this end, I will present the different historiographical perspectives that, since the early twentieth century, have been devoted to the study of American mudejarismo and I will focus especially on those that have questioned the notion of style and have resorted to a cross-cultural definition from visual studies and the history of construction.


Francisco Mamani-Fuentes is a PhD in art history. He is doing his thesis in cotutelle between the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris Sciences et Lettres University) and the University of Granada, under the supervision of Dr. Nadeije Laneyrie-Dagen and Dr. Rafael López Guzmán. The topic of their PhD research is “The white carpentry in the religious architecture of the viceroyalty of Peru in the 16th and 17th centuries. Transfers, agents, and contact zones”. Before coming to ENS, they completed a MA in History and Comparative Civilizations (Paris VII University) and a degree in Pedagogy in History and Geography (University of Concepcion, Chile). They also earn a certificate of specialization in historical carpentry and timber frame (Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico, Spain). Their research is supported by the Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo (Chile), IRIS-Global Studies (PSL University), the Institut des Amériques and Doctoral School ED 540. Francisco is member of the Association internationale de recherche sur les charpentes et les plafonds peints médiévaux (RCPPM), the Latin American Studies Association - Colonial Section (LASA), the European Architecture History Network (EAHN), the Association francophone d’histoire de la construction (AFHC), the Association d’histoire de l’architecture (AHA), and the Asociación Chilena de Historiadores


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