skip to Main Content

Image : Image Contagion – A collaboration between Artl@s, EnHerit (, and K. Bender (


Co-organisation :
École Normale supérieure, Université de Grenoble-Alpes/Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes, Purdue College of Liberal Arts.

Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, Paula Barreiro-Lopez, et Catherine Dossin.

As part of the 10th anniversary of the Artl@s project, we are organizing an international conference on the digital approach to the circulation of images and forms.

In his groundbreaking project, the Atlas Mnemosyne, Aby Warburg suggested that some shapes travel, passing times and cultures. On their way, accompanied by processes of mixture, borrowings, transfers and resemanticizations that contribute to their impact, they become acting symbols. Building on this idea, Herbert Read proposed in The origin of forms in art (1965) that artistic forms can be formalized and reduced to certain shapes that carry “lines of beauty” and thus symbolic meaning. Such ideas, we believe, could serve as a starting point for cross-disciplinary research that would bring together art historians, historians, linguists, and computer and cognitive scientists with the aim to discover the basic units of a generalizable “visual semantics” of artistic creation.

More and more art historical sources are available online worldwide. This should not only excite us to reconstruct the global circulation of images and artifacts, but also use these tools to (re-) consider the mobility of images, patterns, and styles. This international conference aims to assess the potential of digital technology in renewing our study and understanding of artistic circulations and in the collective and progressive deployment of alternative narratives which are more de-centered and more inclusive.



This Conference is organized by Artl@s (,

with the support of the Laboratoire d’excellence TransferS (

(programme Investissements d’avenir ANR-10-IDEX-0001-02 PSL and ANR-10-LABX-0099)

the Département d’histoire et Théorie des Arts, ENS (

the Institut d’Histoire moderne et contemporaine (ENS/CNRS:,

and the Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes (LARHRA,,

in collaboration with the project MoDe(s)
– Modernidad(es) Descentralizada(s):
arte, política y contracultura en el eje transatlántico durante la Guerra Fría
(Universitat de Barcelona, ref. HAR2017-82755-P).

Back To Top