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The John Rylands Research Institute

Visionary Artists, Visionary Objects (1800-now)

This international network centres on the work of visionary artists, and on the nature of visionary art.

Detail from: William Blake, The Angels Appearing to the Shepherds (1809). The Whitworth, University of Manchester
Detail from: William Blake, The Angels Appearing to the Shepherds (1809). The Whitworth, University of Manchester

This international network centres on the work of visionary artists, and on the nature of visionary art. The focus is on artists from 1800 onwards – the period during which institutional religions began to see dramatic transformations and in which art became elevated to a religious sphere of its own - and will consider the work of artists such as William Blake, Leonora Carrington, Wassily Kandinsky, Hilma af Klint, Piet Mondrian and George Frederick Watts. 

The network investigates questions such as: does the visionary see the future, re-envision the present, or transcend temporal perception; how does vision become material in art, and are there distinctive features that characterise the visionary artist and visionary art; and what are the roles of academic and cultural institutions in defining and mediating the status of visionary art?

The inaugural meeting will be held in Manchester in February 2018, funded by the SALC Networking Fund. The second pilot meeting is planned at the University of Groningen in early 2019. These are closed events for network members. Please contact artistvisionaries@gmail.com if you are interested in joining the network.

The network is jointly convened by Dr Naomi Billingsley (JRRI) and Dr Lieke Wijnia (Center for Religion and Heritage, University of Groningen).