CONF Sep 17, 2018

Stone Face (Copenhagen, 1-2 Oct 18)

Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, South Campus Building 27, room 27.0.09, Oct 1–02, 2018
Registration deadline: Sep 20, 2018

Lejla Mrgan

STONE FACE: The psychology of the face, the phenomenology of the bust

This seminar explores the portrait from a phenomenological and psychological approach, looking at how it affects the viewer and what kinds of reactions it prompts. We will be discussing the significance of the bust format, primary sources describing encounters with portraits and busts as well as the significance of the face and the psychology of face perception. The seminar is a preparatory work for understanding the Neoclassical artist Bertel Thorvaldsen as a portrait sculptor within a broader context of sculpture theory and art history.


All papers 25 minutes (followed by 20 minutes discussion)


8:45 Arrival and coffee 9:00 Welcome (Jane Fejfer)

Session 1: Imagination and attachment (9:15-12:45)

9:15 Melissa Percival. The Painted and Sculptural Imagination: Short Cuts

10:00 Lejla Mrgan. Perception and imagination: Busts as objects of attachment

10:45 Coffee

11:15 Tomas Macsotay. Women and Sculptural Resignification: The cases of Catherine the Great and the Countess of Albany

12:00 Andreas Grüner. Strike! Diderot and the reproduction of immediacy in ancient portraits

12:45 Lunch

Session 2: Bust and body (13:45-16:30)

13:45 Jeanette Kohl. The Silence of Busts. Phenomenology, Ontology, Presence?

14:30 Joris van Gastel. The Coat of Arms and the Portrait Bust: Sculpted Presence in Late Renaissance Florence

15:15 Coffee

15:45 Helen Ackers. Networks of interaction: The Roman portrait bust in its familial context

16:30 Josefine Baark. 'The Originals’: Commemorative Clay Likenesses and Portrait Sculpture in Qing China

17:15 Drinks

19:00 Dinner (speakers only)


Session 3: Portraits and faces

9:30 Malcolm Baker. Busts and faces: aesthetic theory and perceptual difference

10:15 Alexander Todorov. The Inherent Ambiguity of Facial Expressions

11:00 Coffee

11:15 Anna Schram Vejlby: The inner gaze

12:00 Rubina Raja. The Palmyrene more-than-bust funerary portraits

12:45 Michael Yonan. Messerschmidt, Thorvaldsen, and the Specious Surfaces of the Self

13:30 Lunch

14:00 Summary and perspectives (Whitney Davis and Rolf Schneider)

Special event at Thorvaldsens Museum
This event requires a ticket, see Thorvaldsens Museum's website:

16:00 Portrait talk between artist Trine Søndergaard (Copenhagen) and professor of Art History Jeanette Kohl (University of California Riverside)

17:00 Closing reception at Thorvaldsens Museum

The seminar is free and open to everyone. For programme and registration (deadline September 20), please visit:
For more information, contact: Lejla Mrgan,

The seminar is the second in a series of seminars under the cross-disciplinary project research and dissemination Powerful Presences. The sculptural portrait between absence and presence, group and individual, see website:

CONF: Stone Face (Copenhagen, 1-2 Oct 18). In:, Sep 17, 2018 (accessed Jun 21, 2024), <>.