CFP: Art and the State in Modern Central Europe (18th – 21st Century)

CFP: Art and the State in Modern Central Europe (18th – 21st Century)

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Zagreb, Croatia, 2-5 September 2020

Deadline: 15 January 2020

Attempts to explore and define in more detail, both diachronically and synchronically, relationships and mutual influences between state bodies and art production, communication, education and reception have for decades formed an important part of numerous explorations in various academic disciplines such as art history, history, anthropology, sociology, education etc. The conference aims to provide insights into the current knowledge and interpretations of these relations from the 18th century to the present day, i.e. from the period in which Europe states went through intense centralization, leading to the growth of their influence on artistic production, public cultural and artistic institutions and education. In all these contexts the term “state” is taken to stand for a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory and the political organization of such a body of people (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Regardless of whether they were monarchies, republics, federations or centralized states, state bodies played an extremely important role in the production of art and in the institutionalization of knowledge, culture and art in all parts of Europe and throughout the aforementioned period. By fabricating its visual identity, commissioning works from artists whom it considered close, and censoring those segments of art production that it judged potentially dangerous to its survival, the state has largely been shaping the art scene in all parts of Europe. Additionally, states’ cultural and educational policies have influenced (and still does) the shaping of knowledge about the arts and teaching content in the field of art (history) on all educational levels.

The conference therefore welcomes contributions that deal with approaches to interpretation of these phenomena and various topics in the broad field of art history (painting, sculpture, applied arts, graphic design, photography, architecture, urban planning, curricula and study programmes in art history, etc.) but also other humanities disciplines.

The contributions could address the following topics:

  •   Representation, propaganda, image-making in European states
  •   Art and changes of state borders
  •   Art commissioning policies
  •   Control of art production through censorship
  •   State-sponsored artists
  •   State-funded education of artists
  •   Public sculpture and the state
  •   Public space furnishing campaigns
  •  Preservation of architectural heritage
  •   Formal and informal education and promotion of artistic and cultural literacy
  •   State policies and the acquisition of artworks for public museums and other institutions
  •   Architecture and state authorities
  •   Interstate artistic projects
  •   Art and war 
  • Art in totalitarian and democratic regimes 
  • Artists as social critics 
  • Church and public officials as art commissioners
  • Institutionalization of knowledge, culture and arts
  • Cultural and educational policies, national identity and visual arts
  • State Policy and Strategies of Designing Everyday Life
  • Art market, illegal trade and counterfeit art

As a topic that can provide almost limitless possibilities for reviewing, expanding and deepening current understandings, other issues concerning the complex relations between art and the state can also be touched upon within the given topics.

The Art and State in Modern Central Europe international conference will take place at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, from 2 to 5 September 2020. It will be organized within the project “Art and the State in Croatia from the Enlightenment to the Present”, IP-2018-01-9364, funded by the Croatian Sciences Foundation.


Paper proposals should contain author(s)’s name(s), title and the body of text, written in English, which should not exceed 400 words and a short author’s biography not longer than 250 words.

Proposals should be sent to

Deadline for the submission of proposals is 15 January 2020.

Contributors will receive notification of acceptance by 5 February 2020.

The official language of the conference is English.