7-8 July 2017

ETT workshop 3 – Visualizing and Enacting Emotions (Art, Space, Performance)

Vienna, Institut für Kunstgeschichte (Universität Wien)



This third and final ETT workshop completes our survey of emotions – having looked at how they were defined and theorized in ancient, late antique and Byzantine texts (Edinburgh) followed by case studies of how ancient and Byzantine rhetors and preachers sought to embed them in their texts and steer their audiences (Geneva) – by discussing the display and enactment of emotions in visual and performative contexts.

Byzantine artists (and their patrons), it turns out, were reluctant to visualize emotions – certainly with regard to facial expressions, somewhat less so when it came to depicting gestures. Often one finds absence of emotion, apatheia, were one would expect its display. Thus, martyrs, for example, often look unmoved; only their tormentors may display hatred in their faces. Our workshop will pursue the question of whether the visualization of emotions was negatively connoted, starting from the hypothesis that the idea was not for an image to show emotions, but to evoke these within the onlooker. This theory will run as a Leitmotiv through the art historical part of this workshop.

The afternoon session will look at evoking emotions in performative (reading) contexts. We shall read religious processions in medieval Constantinople as emotional performances: as litai were a re-enactment of the event commemorated (or at least are staged to be), illuminations from the Menologion of Basil II in combination with other textual and material sources will allow us to see how emotions were visualized and how they were performed. We shall look at passages revealing readers experiencing emotions through the (earlier) texts they are reading – Dionysius of Halicarnassus on reading Demosthenes, Gregory of Nazianzus on reading Basil, Michael Psellos on reading Gregory – and discuss texts in the homiletic tradition that feature a similar dynamic. Finally, we shall examine ekplēxis (a virtual ‘shiver of excitement’ or ‘start’, of ambiguous, usually negative connotations though a more positive notion is also present in Plato) as a key emotional response Byzantine rhetoricians played with when describing the impact of key events on themselves and/or their audience(s).



Prof. Douglas L. Cairns (Edinburgh), Dr. Galina Fingarova (Vienna), Prof. Niels Gaul (Edinburgh), Prof. Martin Hinterberger (Cyprus), Dr. Byron MacDougall (Vienna), Dr. Vicky Manolopoulou (Newcastle), Dr. Divna Manolova (Katowice), Prof. Margaret Mullett (Belfast/Uppsala), Dr. Ioannis Papadogiannakis (KCL), Dr. Aglae Pizzone (SDU), Dr. Viktoria Räuchle (Vienna), Ms. Sarah Teetor (Vienna), Prof. Lioba Theis (Vienna), Dr. Matteo Zaccarini (Edinburgh).




Friday 7 July:

 17.00: keynote lecture by Margaret Mullett

18.00-20.00: poster presentation & reception


Saturday 8 July:


10.00 – 10.10: Welcome by Lioba Theis and Niels Gaul


10.10 – 11.00: Sarah Teetor

11.00 – 11.50: Viktoria Räuchle


11.50 – 12.10: coffee break


12.10 – 13.00: Galina Fingarova


13.00 – 13.50: lunch break


13.50 – 14.40: Lioba Theis

14.40 – 15.30: Vicky Manolopoulou


15.30 – 15.50: coffee break


15.50 – 16.40: Byron MacDougall

16.40 – 17.30: Niels Gaul


17.30 – 18.30: concluding discussion