2019 Season's Greeting by President
December 24, 2018
On the arrival of 2019, wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
One year has passed, the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA) has experienced ups and downs with challenges and problems yet also harvest and innovation. May our heart be enriched and let the world bathe in the sun of the New Year.
We have faced the challenge of the greatest fire in recent history that destroyed the National Museum of Brazil. The next World Congress of Art History was supposed to be held in Brazil, and the National Museum of Brazil is the place to conserve the key evidence and materials. The loss is irreparable to the discipline of history of art. Although such loss cannot be compared with the loss of human life and dignity, it was a major destruction and massacre of the spiritual fruition of countless people from the view of the human race as a whole. With the solidarity and understanding among the CIHA members, we will endeavour to build the shared database of image storage that was decided last year in Rome. If we could document the art histories of various countries and share them with all member countries of the CIHA using the block chain technology, the traces and images of the world art history could be stored and preserved. Then, when such catastrophe happens again, though we wish it will never happen – there will still be enough information left. As long as there are still humans on the earth, our civilization can be retained.
In addition, we also have hope and expectations. The 35th World Congress of Art History will be held in Florence, the heart of art history, in 2019 as one part, and in São Paulo 2020 as the other. Our Italian and Brazilian colleagues have been well prepared and are sending out the Call for Papers and Call for Chairs respectively.
In the coming New Year, the CIHA journal will be edited and published again. The CIHA journal was initially published in German in 1873, while for this time, it will be published as an e-journal on the CIHA official website (ciha.org). We will explore new concepts for art history publication. Unlike sciences such as biology or medicine, the publishing of art history studies is an ever growing progression of communication and participation, rather than merely a publication of single research findings. The moment when certain findings are published, they have already been within the scope of global images on the Internet, gradually gathering and gaining new developments through the process of self-clarification and construction. When the initial essay is opened again, there will be the result of a series of automatic retrieval and verification of the online database. The intellectual contribution of each scholar is a seed, and the e-journal is the breeding ground for all the seeds with infinite possibilities.
Another project we will strive to do in 2019 is the online course called “Best for Everyone” proposed by Tristan Weddigen. When every colleague from each country has the access to introduce one artwork to the world via the Internet, various understanding and methods of art will be gathered and appreciated. The CIHA is no longer merely a platform for academic exchanges and discussions, but, more importantly, a place to show the valuable resources and to share the research results we have. Art history is essentially a gaze at all differences among people, a path towards mutual understanding and world peace, and the dawn of hope.
With all the best wishes for the New Year!
LaoZhu (Zhu Qingsheng)
President of the CIHA