Beate Söntgen

 Porträt Beate Söntgen

Beate Söntgen

Professor of Art History
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

In Residence

April 2013 – September 2013

Research Project

More Naturalness: Diderot – Greuze – Chardin

Diderot chose the umbrella term “Naturalness” for his reformist goal of effective depiction. However, the criteria by which “natural” and “convincing” are judged change from subject to subject. This research project concerns two issues: firstly, the artistic and textual means used for Evidenz generation in the work of Greuze and Chardin; secondly the mutual illumination of image and art-critical text. Diderot demonstrates the impact of the image in his own writing, either reinforcing it by the written word, or causing it to appear in the first place. By the same token, the written word feeds on the qualities of the image to which it refers, despite idiosyncratic transgressions. At the same time the painting is instrumentalized by Diderot in order to persuasively demonstrate his understanding of art with the help of the Evidenz of the pictorial: images, by dint of the nature of their realization, become telling proof of Diderot’s theory of depiction. In addition there will also be reflective refractions on the rendering of a judgment that counters the Evidenz effects of images and texts without abrogating them.

Research Interests

  • Art from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, above all French and German painting in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and contemporary art
  • Theory and cultural history of the image
  • Reception aesthetics, history and theory of perception and of affects
  • Modernist art theory
  • History, theory, and praxis of art criticism


Manets Pathos, in: Flaubert-Jahrbuch 2011, Barbara Vinken (ed.), 2012.

Das Interieur als psychische Installation. Zur Einrichtung des Innenraums bei Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler und Eija-Liisa Ahtila, in: Kinematographische Räume, U. Frohneu. and L. Haberer (eds.), Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag 2012, p. 419-446.

Entleerung und Re-Möblierung. Zur Einrichtung des Innenraums in Bildern der Romantik und des Biedermeier, in: Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen ? C. Holm and G. Oesterle (eds.), Würzburg: Verlag Königshausen & Neumann 2011,  p. 263-281.

Bild und Bühne. Das Interieur als Rahmen wahrer Darstellung, in: Räume des Subjekts um 1800, J. Steigerwald and R. Behrens (eds.), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag 2010, p. 53-72.

Arbeit am Bild. Gerhard Richters Diskretion, in: Abstrakte Bilder, U. Wilmes and Gerhard Richter (eds.), Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag 2008, p. 35-43.


Beate Söntgen

Center for Advanced Studies BildEvidenz

Arnimallee 10
14195 Berlin