Conference Gothic Modernisms

In collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, the Ateneum Art Museum / Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki and Radboud University Nijmegen, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Coventry University, the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture and the Huizinga Institute organises the conference 'Gothic Modernisms'. The conference is taking place on 29 & 30 June in the Rijksmuseum.

toorop Figuur met hamer en beitel, Jan Toorop, 1868 - 1928Gothic Modernisms is hosted by the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 29 and 30 June, 2107. The programme includes keynote lectures, papers from renowned international scholars and experts, and a private visit to the exhibition Small Wonders: Gothic Miniatures.

The ‘Gothic’ has often been positioned as a pre-modern past in opposition to a modern present, being recognised only through well-known tropes as the ‘middle’, the ‘pre-’, ‘the ‘dark’, the primitive, the barbaric, etc. Yet the Gothic has deeply permeated the culture of (western and global) modernity. It has returned to haunt modern art and culture again and again: from the Gothic revivals of 19th-century Romantic architects, writers and historians, to the neo-medievalism of pre-Raphaelite art; from the Gothic alterities of Symbolism, to Expressionist engagement with the art of a deep gothic past. Indeed, it inspired monumental events such as the 1902 Bruges exhibition Les Primitifs Flamands as much as foundational works such as Worringer’s Formprobleme der Gotik (1911) and Huizinga’s Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen (1919).

lamp Lamp bestaande uit acht zijden met ribben in grillige gebogen puntvormen, Joseph Crouwel, ca. 1920

The conference Gothic Modernisms focusses on the legacies, histories and contested identities of Northern European Gothic/early-modern visual cultures in modernity, in particular modernism and the avant-gardes. The conference will develop both a broad perspective in relation to gothic modernisms and a deepening of the issues—methodological, theoretical, aesthetic, archival—pertinent to this subject. Papers will explore the reception, construction and invention of Gothic and early-modern art in modern museums and institutions, art, architecture, art historiographies, and broader visual-cultural contexts (1880s - 1950s).

Organized by: the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Coventry University: the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture, University of Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Partners: Radboud University, Nijmegen; the Ateneum Art Museum / Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki; the Huizinga Institute; NICA (Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis) and OSK (Dutch Research School for Art History).

Supported by: NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and KNAW (Netherlands Royal Academy for the Sciences).

More information and the programme on Gothic Modernisms

This conference is part of a trilogy. For earlier events see Visions of the North.


Download the programme

Plan your stay

We recommend you book your hotel soon. You may find this booking website useful.

Cancellation Policy

Requests received in, on or before 31 March 2017 are eligible for a 30% refund. Refunds will not be honoured after 31 March 2017.

The following masterclass is organised by NICA and the OSK together with the conference organisers: From reception studies to transhistorical art history: method & theory in the study of the Nachleben of art and literature (28 June, 2017). Research Master-students and PhD-researchers are invited to apply for this 3 ECTS masterclass. Conference attendance is included. For more information, see

For more information please visit the conference website.



29 and 30 June 2017


Student fee: € 40
Regular fee: € 125

Note: Only the first day of the symposium appears in the calender. When you select the date (29 June), you will automatically book and pay for both days (29 and 30 June).


Auditorium, Rijksmuseum