Looking at different historical contexts, this section considers the visual staging and the communication of politics and power via art. Images reflect, document and influence politics. As a medium of political, cultural and societal ideas, they create collective visions just as they do new realities. Therefore, contributions to this section will ideally include discourses on history, nation and identity.
At the center of our attention are the centuries-old traditions of artistic stagings of political power in painting, architecture and sculpture. An exploration of the structures within which sovereigns attempted to monopolize the political use of images for themselves ideally ought to be paired with a particular focus on the suggestive power of images, for instance as a form of protest in flyers, caricatures and photomontages. As is evident from manipulated pictures, images hold a potential for falsification. Yet, the image often still enjoys more trust than the word.
Thus, images must not merely be seen as passive representations but also be examined with view to their active function, all while taking into account the artists, contracting bodies, and addressees as actors and participants in a socio-political arena. An extended concept of the image is called for, one which also implicates gestures, rituals, and symbols.
The section Political Iconography, going beyond art historical analysis, also seeks to engage in a fruitful dialogue with neighboring disciplines. Various areas of research currently face the challenges of the pictorial turn. This is the context in which an interdisciplinary image science must be discussed as a possible methodological approach. It is furthermore the section's explicit goal to give room to professionals from museums, archives and other research institutes.
guest editorial: Lutz Hengst, Linda Schaumann