Doctoral research student Philipp Meurer, M.A.

Doctoral research student

Philipp Meurer (Germany, 1973)

M.A. in Art History, German Literature and Philosophy

PhD project
Landscape, Perception and Imagination. Concepts of Identity and Alterity in Dutch Landscape Painting of the 16th and 17th Centuries
The production of early modern paintings marks a turning point in the perception and imagination of landscapes. At the forefront were artists from the various regions in the Netherlands with their development of more natural-looking paintings of the native countryside. Nevertheless, it has been overlooked that there was an important branch of Dutch landscape paintings featuring foreign landscapes as well. Prominent artists ? from Bruegel the Elder to Rembrandt and Jacob van Ruisdael ? created popular images of mountainous regions. The artistic process is characterized by a high degree of imagination. Although some of these artists really traveled through the Alps, their paintings are only inspired by artistic experience. The actual works were composed and invented in the artists’ studios. This project wants to draw light on the neglected mountain landscapers. With an analysis of relevant paintings and prints from 1550 until 1680, we can show that the development of new landscape types also marks a turning point in the notion of `otherness´.

The ‘gap’ between the real environment and the pictorial illusion of reality reveals an inseparable combination of perception and imagination. Secondly, the creation of otherness is mingled with native elements such as Dutch farmsteads. The mountain regions are not only opposites of the native landscape, but also imaginary places to distinguish and sharpen the spectators’ identities.

Bruegel the Elder and others introduce a type of mountain landscape with a new geographic coherence. However, the imaginary aspects, for example the arrangement of hills, valleys, and the directed view, show a distinct aesthetic concept that is bound to certain meanings. Although the respective positions are very different, it can be verified that some layers of meaning are characteristic for the entire period. In contrast to former perceptions of mountains as horrible places, a new interest and fascination appears. As a connection with the divine or just a symbol: mountains have to do with metaphysical or eternal qualities in contrast to the smallness and fugacity of human life. Among other artists, landscapes painted by Rembrandt and Seghers have to be mentioned in this respect.

The motive of travelling is crucial: mountains are real and symbolic challenges, travellers must strive as hard as the spectators in life. This also applies to the pastoral views of Italianate landscapists like Nicholaes Berchem. Heroic views of Scandinavian rocks and waterfalls by Jacob van Ruisdael conclude our survey of Dutch mountain paintings. The characteristic mixture of fear and attraction as well as the attribution of metaphysical questions are forerunners of the aesthetic of the sublime and also of our current notions of landscape, perception and imagination.

Research interests Netherlandish art of the 16th and 17th centuries;
German Romanticism and its legacy in Modernism and Post-Modernism;
art after World War II; contemporary art;
mimetic strategies: the construction of world-views and identities;
landscape painting, land art and environmental art;
phenomena of self-reflectiveness and self-reference;
the history and theory of art history: new interdisciplinary discourses between iconography, historical anthropology, hermeneutics and visual culture.

Since April 2008
Member of the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes” at the Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel.

June 2007
Magister Artium (M.A.) at Kiel University with a comparative analysis of works by the romanticist Caspar David Friedrich and the Swiss artist Franz Gertsch. A revised version was published in March 2012 (see below).

Studies of art history, German literature and philosophy at Kiel University.

Studies of naval architecture at the University of Applied Sciences Kiel.

Studies of German philology, art history, philosophy and Italian philology at the Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität Münster.

Work experience

Team member of Primakunst, gallery for contemporary art at the City Gallery, Kiel.

Assistant curator and editor at the ILLUSTRATIVE 07 art festival, Berlin.

Scientific collaboration at the exhibition project K(l)eine Experimente. Kunst und Design der 50er Jahre in Deutschland (State Museum Schloss Gottorf).

Student trainee at the Kunsthalle Kiel.

Student trainee at the Stadtgalerie Brunsbüttel.

Selected publications

Philipp Meurer: Franz Gertsch, Saintes Maries de la Mer I, in: Christiana Albertina 80 (Mai 2015), S. 6f.

F. Förster, R. Großmann, K. Iwe, H. Kinkel, A. Larsen, U. Lungershausen, C. Matarese, P. Meurer, O. Nelle, V. Robin, M. Teichmann: Towards mutual understanding within interdisciplinary palaeoenvironmental research: An exemplary analysis of the term landscape, in: Quaternary International 312 (2013), S. 4–11.

Philipp Meurer: Representations of Reality – Constructions of Meaning: Netherlandish Winter Landscapes during the Little Ice Age and Olafur Eliasson’s Glacier Series, in: Sigurd Bergmann (Ed.): Aesth/Ethics in Environmental Change: Hiking through the Arts, Ecology, Religion and Ethics of the Environment, Berlin 2013.

Philipp Meurer: Natur im Bewusstsein der Differenz. Franz Gertsch und Caspar David Friedrich , Münster 2012.

Dörte Ahrens, Erlend Hammer, Philipp Meurer, Tyra Teodora Tronstad: Stereo. Not Mono. Blikk på Østlandet og Schleswig-Holstein. Ostnorwegen und Schleswig-Holstein im Blick, Katalog anlässlich der gleichnamigen Ausstellung in der Galleri F 15, Moss vom 15.09. - 18.11.2012 und in der Stadtgalerie im Elbeforum Brunsbüttel vom 26.01 - 10.03.2013, Brunsbüttel 2012.

Philipp Meurer: Dutch Mountains , exhibition project Stereo Not Mono , Gallery F15 in Moss/Norway, 2012 and Stadtgalerie Brunsbüttel, 2013. Print version autumn 2012 (expected).

Philipp Meurer: Epigonen der Klassischen Moderne? Die abstrakte Malerei der 50er Jahre und das Problem ihrer Beurteilung , in: Herwig Guratzsch und Ulrich Kuder (eds.): K(l)eine Experimente. Kunst und Design der 50er Jahre in Deutschland, Kiel 2008.

Pascal Johanssen, Philipp Meurer, Elke Schulze: Illustrative ′07, International Illustration Forum, Berlin 2007.