Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship 2011: "A different language. Images and the principles of human communication"

Swiss art historian Gottfried Boehm lectures on the language of images


What is an image and what contribution do images make to human communication? The answers to these questions are part of Professor Gottfried Boehm's opening lecture "A different language. Images and the principles of human communication" on the occasion of his receipt of the 12th Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship 2011 from the Friends of Mainz University. The internationally renowned Swiss art historian and image researcher Professor Gottfried Boehm will discuss the meaning and effect of images together with the guests of the lecture series "The language of images" during the 2011 summer semester. He will also deal with their function and variety as an artistic, scientific, religious, and communication medium. The goal of the lecture series is to highlight the basic principles of modern discourse surrounding the image, the current state of image research, and its significance for science, art and society.

Discourse on imagery began to appear late in European academic history, which is surprising, considering the age and prominence of artistic culture. It is even more surprising when considering image reproduction methods, which made photographic and moving images available to the masses for practical use. Thanks to digital technology, images have become something they have never been before in history - an everyday medium for global communication. Art historian Professor Gottfried Boehm has made the history of images and image studies his research topic. The head of the Swiss national research unit "Eikones - image studies. The power and relevance of images" will discuss the importance and impact of images as part of the Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship for 2011. He will also deal with their function and variety as an artistic, scientific, religious, and communication medium.

Professor Gottfried Boehm, born in 1942 in Braunau (Bohemia), studied art history, philosophy, and German studies in Cologne, Vienna, and Heidelberg. After receiving his doctorate in philosphy and completing his professorial dissertation in art history, he was lecturer and adjunct professor of art history at Ruhr University Bochum from 1975 to 1979. From 1979 to 1986, he held the Chair for Art History at Justus-Liebig University in Gießen. Gottfried Boehm has been a full professor for history of modern art at the University of Basel since 1986 He has also been director of the national research focus (NFS) "Image studies" here since 2005. Professor Boehm was a fellow of the Berlin Science College in 2001/2002, and has been a corresponding member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences since 2006, and a member of the Leopoldina - German Academy of Scientists since 2010. The focus of his work includes the art of the Renaissance, the art of the 19th and 20th centuries, contemporary art, issues concerning genres (in particular, portrait, landscape, still life), image theory and image history, methodology and hermeneutics as well as art theory. Gottfried Boehm is the author and publisher of numerous publications relating to images, image history, and image studies.

The Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship

The Friends of Mainz University established the Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship as a non-profit foundation on the occasion of the 600th birthday of Johannes Gutenberg in 2000. The endowed professorship is financed by private donations and their proceeds. It is reserved for personalities who, due to their academic contributions or significance in cultural and public life, are in a position to connect professional perspectives and develop interdisciplinary approaches. The endowed professorship was awarded to the cultural historian and winner of the Peace Prize of the German Booksellers' Association, Fritz Stern (2000), the leading representative of evolutionary biology and pioneer of sociobiology, Bert Hölldobler (2001), the former German Minister for Foreign Affairs Hans-Dietrich Genscher (2002), the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Wolfgang Frühwald (2003), former executive director of the environmental program of the United Nations (UNEP), Klaus Töpfer (2004), composer and conductor, Peter Ruzicka (2005), experimental physicist from Vienna, Anton Zeilinger (2006), immunologist, Fritz Melchers (2007), literary scholar and social scientist, Jan Philipp Reemtsma (2008), Karl Kardinal Lehmann (2009), and neuropsychologist and cognitive scientist, Angela D. Friederici (2010).

Friends of Mainz University

The association Friends of Mainz University was founded in 195 and currently has almost 1,000 members and alumni from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz as well as figures in public life, culture, business and politics. The Friends promote research and teaching, and are open to all citizens.