Prof. em. Hans Belting

Honorary member of the ZfL, Professor emeritus of Art History and Media Theory at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design


Hans Belting was from 1980 to 1992 Professor of art history at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, after that cofounder and from 1992 to 2002 Professor of art and media history of the Karlsruhe College of Arts and Design, from 2002 to 2003 Chair of the European Department at the Collège de France and, from 2004 to 2007 Director of the International Research Center for Cultural Studies (IFK ) in Vienna. He is a Member of the Academy of Science, Heidelberg, and the Academia Europaea, Wissenschaftskolleg fellow, Berlin, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, member of the Order Pour le Mérite for Sciences and Arts. Hans Belting has been an Honorary Member of the ZfL since 2006.

Hans Belting has contributed significantly to a fundamental revision of art history’s methods and concept of itself as a field. He paved the way for interdisciplinary image studies joining art history and articulated the relevance of image studies issues within cultural studies and more recently in the natural sciences. His prominence in the field is due to his innovative approach that calls for interdisciplinary research networks between art historians, media studies scholars, and image studies scholars. His current work looks at, on the one hand, the roots of image studies in European cultural history and, on the other, the problems associated with new imaging techniques and scientific images, for example, those used in studying the brain. In his book Florence and Baghdad, Belting examines the use of perspective in Renaissance paintings as deriving from a mathematical theory of sight from the Arab world.

In 2015 Professor Belting received the prestigious Balzan Prize. Victor Stoichita spoke to the reasons why Professor Belting deserved this award for scholars working on the history of European art (1300–1700), citing Belting’s vital contributions to the study of the visible and the function of images in the Western world as well as his innovative and original interpretations of artworks between cultures and eras. Stoichita also noted Belting’s deep concern for the language of art and its significance for modern artists. From 2016 to 2019 worked a subproject of the interdisciplinary research project Iconic Presence. Images in Religion headed by Hans Belting and funded through the Balzan Prize at the ZfL.


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