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Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen. A New Look at the Beethoven Frieze

Donnerstag, 16.11.2023, 18.30 Uhr

Lecture (in English)


In cooperation with the Friends of the Secession


In her book Modern Art & the Remaking of Human Disposition (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen singles out Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze as the groundbreaking work of art marking the inception of modernism. She proposes a surprising new reading of the iconography of the mural, created in 1902 for a temporary exhibition in Beethoven’s honor at the Secession.

Placing particular emphasis on fundamental dimensions of the depiction of bodies in Klimt’s oeuvre—bodily weightlessness, buoyancy, and the characteristic motif of the “floating head”—the lecture will demonstrate that the Beethoven Frieze is a privileged artifact: it can help us understand a much broader phenomenon in European art and culture around 1900 that also reflects recent insights into human consciousness and the mind–body relation in art. 


Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen is a professor at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She holds a PhD in art history from Princeton University.

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