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Grootenboer, Hanneke

Grootenboer, Hanneke


Hanneke Grootenboer, born in Harderwijk, The Netherlands, in 1969. Ph.D. from University of Rochester. Professor of the History of Art at University of Oxford.

Fellow (1 Sept 2016 – 30 June 2017)

The Pensive Image: Case Studies in Visual Thinking

Research Question

This project explores the extent to which art works offer us thoughts (rather than narratives or meanings) and are capable of shaping concepts in visual terms, thus directly engaging with the development of philosophical ideas.

Project Description

Starting from the premisse that painting is a form of thinking, this study demonstrate how seventeenth-century paintings, in the wake of the Reformation and the rise of Humanism, became sites of speculation (and not just instruction) about the possibilities and limitations of thinking as such. Still lifes, landscapes and interior paintings were used as vehicles for contemplation and reflection and thus served as models for thought processes as such.

Selected Publications

‘Visualising Thought’ in: Interdisciplinary Critique of Visualization, ed. by James Elkins and Erna Fiorentini (Berlin, 2015).

Treasuring the Gaze: Intimacy and Extremity of Vision Eye Miniature Portraits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

’The Pensive Image: On Thought in Jan van Huysum’s Still Life Paintings,’ Oxford Art Journal 34:1 (March 2011), 13-30.