The Smell of Paint: Towards an Olfactory History of 19th-Century Painting

Research Seminar

  • Online event via Zoom and on site (previous registration)
  • Date: Mar 8, 2022
  • Time: 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM
  • Speaker: Érika Wicky
  • Location: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, 00187 Rom
The Smell of Paint: Towards an Olfactory History of 19th-Century Painting
Since the publishing of De Collica pictonum (1757) by the famous physician Tronchin, there have been numerous publications and debates about the medical dangers attributed to the smell of paint. At the turn of the century, while the manufacture of colors was gradually industrialized, this threat played an important role in the material culture by encouraging the development of many odorless paints and varnishes.

Later in the middle of the 19th century, the smell of paint, and more precisely those of turpentine, was still a concern because of the importance given to the links between the nerves and the sense of smell in the medical discourse of the time: many painters had to give up their vocation due to migraines, and women were banned from practicing oil painting. Combining the history of art and the history of medicine, this research seminar will explore the major role of an invisible protagonist in the history of painting: the smell of colors.

Érika Wicky holds a PhD in art history (Université de Montréal, 2011). Her dissertation has been published under the title Les paradoxes du détail : voir, savoir, représenter à l’ère de la photographie (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015). Since 2018, she has devoted her research to the history of olfactory culture (18th-20th century) and has co-edited several collections of essays on the topic such as Mediality of Smells (Peter Lang, 2021). She is currently a visiting fellow at the European University Institute (Florence).


This event will take place on Zoom. The link to join the event will be sent to you in a confirmation email. Please register through the following link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIvf-yprzgoHN3bzxEGs64O8jba55aRmZrO


For on-site participation please contact in advance via email: freiberg@biblhertz.it

Scientific Organization: Sara Vitacca































































































This event will take place on Zoom Webinar. The link to join the event will be sent to you in a confirmation email. Please register through THIS LINK.

For on-site participation please contact in advance via email: freiberg@biblhertz.it

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