Historical sketches of diverse trees

Logo of the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions fellowship programme

Ecocritical Study of Landscape Representations
in Contemporary Art

A Marie Skłodowska-Curie-funded Project



Olga A. Smith, PhD

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Eva Horn

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (No 101023548)

This interdisciplinary project identifies the genre of landscape as offering rich material for an ecocritical study of art. Ecocriticism emphasizes issues of environmental interrelation, sustainability, and justice in cultural interpretation. Having first emerged in literary studies, over the last two decades environmental and ecocritical inquiries flourished in many fields of the humanities. Art history is yet to take an active part in these debates. This project seeks to demonstrate that art history has a distinct and unique role in formulating a cultural response to one of the most urgent global priorities, identified in the UN Sustainable Development Goals as Goal 13: Climate Action. In this, the aim of the project is to establish a theoretical meeting point for art historical study and the burgeoning concentration of research in ecocriticism and environmental humanities.

The objectives of this project are both historical and theoretical. The overall historical aim is to produce a study of the developments in the genre of landscape in the contemporary period (since the 1980s). The distinctive feature of this project is to consider new imaging technologies (photography, digital, animation) as not just material supports of landscape pictures but as active participants in the evolution of the genre. The main theoretical aim of the project is to develop new tools for the study of landscape in an ecocritical perspective, so as to appraise the fundamental shifts in the paradigmatic conceptions of nature and human, and epistemic ramifications of such changes.


Workshop Series - Towards Ecocritical Art History: Methods and Practices

A series of three workshops on ecocritical methods in art history which will take place over 2021-2022.

Organised by Dr. Olga Smith (University of Vienna) and Prof. Andrew Patrizio (University of Edinburgh)

The main objective of this series of workshops is to identify methods that will facilitate the work of art historians engaged with the issues of environmental interrelation, sustainability, and justice, across all historical periods. Rather than repeat assertions of existing theoretical positions, we wish to encourage open and forward-looking dialogues on methods and practices for all those working 'in the field'.