Anita Hosseini


Dr Anita Hosseini
Research Associate
The Warburg Institute
Woburn Square
London WC1H 0AB
Tel: +44 (0) 207 862 8919

Research Project

Mo’en Mosavver: Portrait of Riza-i-Abbasi. 1673. Princeton University. (Image: WikimediaCommons)

Moving ideas, images and aesthetics. Persian Interrelations with Asia and Europe in the late Safavid Era  

The Safavid period is defined as a time of a multitude of political, territorial and religious changes, and furthermore it marks the beginning of lively interchanges between Europe and Persia, prompting an increase of cultural exchange in both directions. 

Based on a Triade composed of actors, ideas and images of exchange, project will explore the transcultural interchange between France (and later England) and Persia during the late Safavid era (ca. 1650-1722). The focus lies on travelogues, the transfer of objects of applied and visual arts as well as on the dynamics of ideas and aesthetics associated with them. 

Hence, two objects become the leitmotifs of the investigations: the clock and the mirror. In their material presence they refer to mechanical knowledge, the handling of different materials as well as artistic craftsmanship; in their metaphorical meaning, however, they allude to time, memory and narrative as well as reflection, self-observation and copying. Since they are occasionally transportable, they are suitable as objects of trade and exchange and thus become Bilderfahrzeuge in the sense of Aby Warburg.

These objects (substitutional for others) as well as the travelogues and images enable to show the interweaving of Persian and European art and art theory. The analysis of the hybrid character of the objects, artworks, art theories and related visual cultures to be examined follows current global perspectives on the migration of images, objects and ideas. Following Aby Warburg’s methodical approach, the project aims to track down those Bilderfahrzeuge that bear witness to the interrelations between Occident and Orient and which furthermore and moreover allow to define the image itself in the context of a global perspective on art theory. Hence, the project tries to expand the current investigations into the dynamics of images and ideas through questions of cultural geography, aesthetic of reception and global art theory with a focus on the early modern period. 


Anita Hosseini studied art history, social psychology/anthropology and gender studies. In July 2015 she successfully defended her art historical dissertation published in 2017 entitled „Die Experimentalkultur in einer Seifenblase. Das epistemische Potenzial in Chardins Malerei“ by Wilhelm Fink Verlag.

2009-11 she worked as academic assistant in the archive of the artist Ulrich Rückriem and as lecturer at the Institute of Art History at the Ruhr-University in Bochum. 2011 she became research assistant and coordinator of the Chair of Art History at Leuphana University in Lüneburg untill she received a PhD Schoolarship by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation(Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, 2011-2014). While working on her PhD thesis she was also associated member of the DFG-graduate school „Sichtbarkeit und Sichtbarmachung. Hybrid Forms of Image Knowledge“ at the University of Potsdam (2012-2015). 2015-2016 Anita had a position as research assistant at the Center for Methods with a focus on a project examining the ubiquitous claim of sustainability in science, art and society and later on, at the Institute for Philosophy and Art Studies at Leuphana University Lüneburg, she coordinated a transdisciplinary project in the context of digital cultures entitled „From Sweet Home to Smart Home“. 2016-2018 she had a postdoctoral position at the Seminar of Art History at the University of Hamburg and she was member of the Humboldt Research Group „Images of Nature“.

Anita’s research is interdisciplinary and cross epochal. Her focus lies on art theory, visual cultures and transcultural interchanges as well as on the history of knowledge and its popularisation.

Publications (selection)


Die Experimentalkultur in einer Seifanblase. Das epistemische Potenzial in Chardins Malerei [The Experimental Culture in a Soap Bubble. The epistemic Potential in Chardin’s Paintings]. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2017.


(forthcoming) Die Magie der Malerei. Licht und Luft als Attribute der Kunst Chardins [The Magic of Painting. Light and Air as Attributes of Chardin’s Art].In: Das achtzehnte Jahrhundert. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für die Erforschung des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts. Jahrgang 43, Heft II. Wolfenbüttel. 

(forthcoming) Künstlerisches Schaffen als metabolistischer Akt. Atelier van Lieshouts ‚SlaveCity‘ zwischen Kontrolle, Kannibalismus und Kot [Artistic Work as metabolic Act. Atelier van Lieshout’s ‘SlaveCity’ between Control, Cannibalism and Faeces].In: Ina Jessen and Isabella Augert (ed.): Metabolismen. Nahrungsmittel in der Kunst. Hamburg.

(forthcoming) Das Fossil als Bild. Dinosaurier und Anthropozän im Spannungsfeld zwischen geologischen Spuren, popkulturellen Setzungen und künstlerischen Aushandlungsprozessen[The Fossil as an Image. Dinosaurs and the Anthropocene in the Field of Tension between geological Traces, pop cultural Determinations and artistic Negotiation Processes]. In: Timo Skrandies and Romina Dümler (ed.): Kunst und Anthropozän. 

Zufall aus Präzision. John Cages Experiment und die Genese von Zufalls-/Präzisionsbildern [Coincidence out of Precision. John Cage’s Experiment and the Genesis of Images.]. In: Matthias Bruhn and Sara Hillnhütter (ed.): Bilder der Präzision. Praktiken der Verfeinerung in Technik, Kunst und Wissenschaft. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2018, pp. 211-222. 

Mirror in the Mirror. An Archive for Memories of Yangji-ri. In: Seoul Museum of Art (ed.): Chan Sook Choi – Re-move. Seoul 2018.

Haptik und Optik. Jean-Siméon Chardins Malerei als ‚Schule des Sehens‘ [Haptic and Optics. Jean-Siméon Chardin’s Paintings as a ‘School for the Eyes’]. In:  Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 79 (2016), 4. Berlin/Munich 2016, pp. 542-563. 

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