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Call for Papers: Anna Dorothea Therbusch in Context: 18th-Century (Women) Artists in Berlin and Europe

26.07.2023
Gemäldegalerie

The Berlin Gemäldegalerie is currently conducting an art-historical and art-technological research project on the paintings by Therbusch that are held in the collections of the Staatliche Museen in Berlin. A symposium in September 2024 will seek to broaden our perspective on this artist and her work. Paper proposals can be submitted until 17 September 2023.

Symposium on 26 and 27 September 2024

The symposium, organised by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie will bring together researchers in the field with the aim of shedding light on Therbusch’s work in relation to larger art-historical contexts, to share research findings, and to point out further avenues for future research.

Download: Full call for papers (PDF, 300 KB)

Anna Dorothea Therbusch

Born into a Prussian family of painters, the Lisiewskys, Anna Dorothea Therbusch (1721–1782) carved out a remarkable international career in the 18th century, at a time when women’s access to artistic training and art academies was structurally impeded. After artistically productive stints at the courts of Stuttgart and Mannheim and admission to the art academies of Stuttgart and Bologna, Anna Dorothea Therbusch spent about two years in Paris from summer 1766 to fall 1768, where she was admitted to the Académie royale. She exhibited at the Salon and socialised with figures such as the encyclopaedist and art critic Denis Diderot.

After returning to Berlin in 1769, the painter took up a studio on Unter den Linden in 1772/73, where she worked for a time with her brother Christoph Friedrich Reinhold Lisiewsky. She became a sought-after portraitist among Berlin’s high society, also working for the Russian court, and her mythological history paintings won favour with Frederick II.

Call for Papers

Of particular interest are proposals for presentations on the following topics:

  1. Therbusch’s artistic role models and her working environment:
    Which artists did she look to for inspiration, and which paintings and collections was she able to study in Prussia and on her travels? What was Therbusch’s working environment like and how did she relate to other artists?
  2. Therbusch’s working methods and the thematic range of her oeuvre:
    What can be said about the processes of creation and execution of Therbusch’s paintings by way of art-technological findings and comparisons of different works? Where can her painterly technique be situated with respect to other artists? What were the significance and function of her genre and historical paintings? What modes of representation did she choose for her portraits?
  3. Therbusch’s networks and career strategies:
    How did Therbusch obtain her commissions in Prussia, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Paris (and possibly beyond)? Which acquaintances and family or aristocratic connections might she have used for this purpose? Who were her clients and patrons? How did she promote herself?
  4. The early reception of the painter and her work by contemporaries and up to the early 19th century

Please submit your proposal for a 20-minute presentation (working title, 300-word abstract [max], short biography) in English or German by 17 September 2023 to Nuria Jetter (n.jetter[at]smb.spk-berlin.de) and Dr. Sarah Salomon (s.salomon[at]smb.spk-berlin.de):

  • Working title
  • Abstract (max. 300 words)
  • Brief bio