0199 CIHA as the Subject of Art Theory

The Methodological Discourse in the International Congresses of Art History from Post-War Years to the 2000s

  • Jennifer Cooke (Author)

    In 2016-2017, Jennifer Cooke worked as a fellow at the University of Turin on a research project regarding the methodological debate within the international congresses organised by the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art. In 2015 she published a book on Millard Meiss (Millard Meiss. Tra Connoisseurship, Iconologia e Kulturgeschichte), which is the result of a 3-year PhD research at the University of Turin. Meiss was also the subject of her Master’s thesis submitted in September 2009. In the past years, Cooke has published on a range of subjects regarding the history of art criticism between the 1920s and 1970s, such as Carlo L. Ragghianti and the Warburg Institute, Erwin Panofsky’s Imago Pietatis, Frederick Antal and the social history of art.

Identifiers (Article)


The title of this article recalls a session of the 2012 CIHA congress in Nuremberg – 'CIHA as the Object of Art History' – that analysed the role the Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art in the development of art history as a discipline. Only a few years earlier, Heinrich Dilly had drawn an overview of the International Congresses of Art History, together with specialists of other fields. Dilly explained the lack of interest of art historiography for the import of such conferences with the fact that they were 'too big a matter', as the papers had rapidly multiplied, and also 'very large a matter', in the sense that the debate was difficult to frame and, more often than not, the choice of participants depended on a political agenda rather than scientific reasons. This article thus endeavours to tackle this very large matter as a vantage point on the methodological reflection, in the attempt to trace the continuities and discontinuities of the theoretical discourse insofar as discussed in CIHA meetings, from the Lisbon conference in 1949 to that held in Nuremberg in 2012.


CIHA, art congresses, Aby Warburg, Erwin Panofsky, world art, visual studies, iconology, art theory