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A one-day work-shop about the theme of the Return.


Friday, July 11, 2008 from 9:00-18:30 at Istituto Svizzero di Roma, via Ludovisi 48, I-00187 ROMA.






  • Gustavo Chataignier Gadelha da Costa (Paris 8 Université de Vincennes-Saint-Denis)

    Maria Lluïsa Faxedas Brujats (Universitá di Girona)


    Dietrich Heissenbüttel (Stuttgart)

  • Christophe Marchand-Kiss (Villa Medici, Roma)


    Susana Martins (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven –

    Faculty of Arts)


    Irène Salas (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences

    Sociales, Paris)


    Société Réaliste, Ferenc Gróf & Jean-Baptiste Naudy

    (Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht)


    Nicolas Valazza (John Hopkins University, Baltimore)


    Ariane Varela Braga (Université de Neuchâtel)


    Antonietta Angelica Zucconi (La Sapienza, Roma)




Noémie Etienne (Université de Genève)





Download the provisional program (pdf, 72 Ko).




The Eternal Tour 2008 project will present a one-day workshop on the theme of the Return, which will consider the inevitable trip back home, the hidden or sometimes lesser known aspects of a journey, the flip side of the coin.


This study-day presumes that concepts taking into account the semantic field of movement (i.e, notions of directionality, "to return towards", implications of repetitive dimensions,..) are essential approaches to the liberal arts.

The workshop is open to researchers of any type, graduates, post-graduates or young practitioners. We welcomed papers addressing one of the two categories suggested below. These categories, general and non-exhaustive, are only to be considered as possible approaches and are in no way restrictive.  

The first axis of thought is specific to art history. It will try to measure both the direct and indirect consequences of the Grand Tour in contemporary cultural milieus. What remains of the Tour in literature and the arts ? What has been the influence of the Italian models, ancient or modern, on the various productions in the 18th and 19th centuries? This last aspect includes not only the diffusion of Roman experience and knowledge throughout Europe, but also the manner in which the return is addressed in various narrative accounts, as well as the impact upon foreign countries of artists' massive migration towards Italy.


One may also consider the relative importance given to the Italian canons when writing an art history often tainted with nationalism. This tendency is made clear when an author from the Mercure de France in 1727 expresses his regrets regarding "a certain Italian venom" that seems to invade private collections to the detriment of local productions. Reproval regarding the absolute superiority of Italian paintings is emphasized when D'Angiviller tries to make the setting in Louis XVI Museum imply an Art History conscious of context, distinguishing between the various schools and giving privilege to national painting. The Marquis D'Argens proposes a peaceful resolution to the rivalry by suggesting a systematic comparison between Italian and French artists. He demonstrates that they are in all points equal. And if only Raphael does sometimes exceed his Gallic colleagues, Paris on the other hand offers as many treasures as the eternal city. The journey to Italy is no longer the panacea. He makes it almost appear prejudicial, as when he speaks in praise of le Sueur (The French "Raphael") stating "our better artists, with the exception of two or three, were not in Rome" (1768).
The second category favors a contemporary and interdisciplinary approach. Considering the return as a movement towards an origin and yet as a repetition, a starting anew. It can be reflected upon as a formal and/or conceptual component in different fields of research: repetitive structure in poetic text, recurring images in art, refrain, deleuzienne ritournelle or nietzsche's eternal return…


These lectures will study the logical specificities and the structural particularities implied within the concept of the return. They might also develop the notion of revival, sometimes implicit as when the different Roman institutions re-interpret the Tour, or in a more conscious and explicit form, when claimed as an ironic category (for example the " May '68 revival" organized by Myspace and opening in may 2008).






July 11, 2008, 9:00 - 18:30


Istituto Svizzero di Roma

via Ludovisi 48

I-00187 ROMA


Lectures will last no longer than 30 minutes.

Conferences may be held in English, French or Italian. Speakers will be asked to hand in papers of approx. 20'000 signs for the publication.


For further information, don't hesitate to contact us to the following address:



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