Hans Maes (Kent): Portraits of Philosophers and the Philosophy of Portraits

Hans Maes (Kent): Portraits of Philosophers and the Philosophy of Portraits

6th April 2017 - 4:00 pm, Edinburgh


This paper presents a close analysis of Steve Pyke’s famous series of portraits of philosophers. By comparing his photographs to other well-known series of portraits and to other portraits of philosophers we will seek a better understanding of the distinctiveness and fittingness of Pyke’s project. With brief nods to Barthes, Baudrillard, Berger, Hegel, and Schopenhauer and an extensive critical investigation of Cynthia Freeland’s ideas on portraiture in general and her reading of Steve Pyke’s portraits in particular this paper will also aim to make a contribution to the philosophical debate on portraiture.

About the speaker

Hans Maes studied at the University of Leuven, Belgium, and graduated there with a PhD in Philosophy. His dissertation, focusing on problems in ethics and moral psychology, was published as a book in Belgium and The Netherlands. He has since made aesthetics and the philosophy of art the main focus of his postdoctoral activities. He worked at the Department of Aesthetics of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and the University of Maryland, USA, before moving to Kent where he is currently Senior Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Art. He has authored papers on a variety of topics in aesthetics, including the role of intention in the interpretation of art, the notion of free beauty, the art of portraiture, and the relation between art and pornography. The latter is the subject of two essay collections: Art and Pornography (co-edited with Jerrold Levinson, OUP, 2012); and Pornographic Art and The Aesthetics of Pornography (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). Hans Maes is Co-Director of the Aesthetics Research Centre at Kent and from 2010 until 2013 was President of the Dutch Association of Aesthetics. For more information about Hans Maes’ work please visit: https://kent.academia.edu/HansMaes

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