Art combines ars and ingenium, craftsmanship and creativity, logic and intuition. Hence its fundamental proximity to those means for comprehending reality that the modern concept of scientific knowledge has termed parascience and relegated to the periphery — to alchemy, astrology, theories of temperaments, physiognomy, etc. The nineteenth century added to these a number of esoteric practices that aimed to unite irrational and scientific ways of interpreting the world — theosophy, and so on.
By dedicating the Second International Congress In Memoriam Dmitry Sarabyanov to studies that have fallen outside the visual field of contemporary art history, we would like to highlight problems in the study of art itself.
Can present-day scholars not only supplement historical research with fascinating details, but also improve and develop their methodological instruments by studying the interaction of art, magic, alchemy, astrology and other forms of unconventional knowledge? Is it possible to regenerate the methodology of art studies by addressing these areas of knowledge? Can the idea of renovatio, which forms the basis of esoteric sciences, facilitate the renovation of contemporary knowledge about art? Is it feasible to use the methodological characteristics of what has been regarded as parascience yet clearly influenced art, and thereby attain a new and improved understanding of art?
A special day during the Congress was dedicated to the 150th anniversary since the birth of Aby Warburg, who headed an entire school of learning directly concerned with these problems.
Religion and the Historical Imagination: The Esoteric Tradition and Poetic Creativity
Serio Ludere. Aby Warburg’s Bilderatlas: a role-playing game to study Classical Tradition
The World of the Visible and the Invisible: Art, Image and Imagination in the Philosophy of Paracelsus
Marsilio Ficino, Neoplatonism / Hermeticism and Iconology: some reflections on the established stereotypes
Hermit vs Hermetism. Hermits and the Hermetic Tradition in European Art of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
The Alchemical “Image of the World” in the Allegorical Programme of the Gardens and Park at Peterhof
Horapollo’s Hieroglyphica and its Possible Influence on Depictions of The Adoration of the Magi in Fifteenth-century Florence
Rethinking Modern Art, Science, and Occultism in Light of the Ether of Space: Wassily Kandinsky, Umberto Boccioni, and Kazimir Malevich
Images of the East between Spontaneity and Civilisation: From Nikolai Karazin to Lev Bakst
The Poor Knight and the Poetics of Alchemy: The Phenomenon of “Creativity of the Spirit” in the Work of Elena Guro
Jantzen and sedlmayr or the magic of the diaphanous. On several sources for modern concepts of liturgical space