Seminar with Steven Jacobs

April 8

On April 8 2022, Steven Jacobs (Univ. Ghent) will join us for the seminar “Noir Art: Painted Portraits in Noir Thrillers and Gothic Melodramas of the 1940s and 1950s”. The event will take place at 4:30 PM, in room A322-DEPER at FLUP.



Painted portraits pervade in noir crime thrillers, gothic melodramas, and ghost stories of the 1940s and 1950s. Most of these portraits are marked by a mediocre, bourgeois-realist style of painting while others are executed in modernist styles (Symbolism, Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, Magical Realism). Whatever their style, most of these portraits are connected to specific narratives and plot devices such as the haunting powers of the portraits on their beholders, the confusion between the painted image and its referent, the portrait as a token of crime and death, the artist as a frustrated Pygmalion, et cetera. In the dynamic medium of film, the portrait, which is usually seen as a still image related to a process of mortification or petrification, is now mobilized again.


Steven Jacobs is full professor of Art History at the University of Ghent. His research is dedicated to the relationship between cinema and other arts. He has published, among others, the books The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock (2007) and Framing Pictures: Film and the Visual Arts (2011). He has been involved in the organization of the collections The Dark Galleries: A Museum Guide to Painted Portraits in Film Noir (2013) and Screening Statues: Sculpture and Cinema (2019).

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