the gesamtkunstwerk a concept for all times and places

arte numa perspetiva global

pt | en

about the project

The project The Gesamtkunstwerk. A concept for all times and places is integrated in the programme Art from a Global Perspective, which began in 2011 at the Artistic Studies Research Centre (CIEBA) of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon (FBAUL).

This programme, common to all the sections of CIEBA/FBAUL, aims at exploring specificities of the artistic creation, of emerging aesthetic formulations in cultural contexts all over the world. It also aims at exploring processes of artistic confluence and interaction which resulted from intercultural dialogue over time. The main goal of the programme Art in a Global Perspective is to establish a network of relationships between art histories, supported by universal concepts of artistic creation, together with identity singularities of artistic expression in several cultures, and to analyze the importance that globalization has had in contemporary art and culture.

The project The Gesamtkunstwerk. A concept for all times and places seeks to rethink the concept of the total work of art through an expanded analysis in time and place. Its aim is to go beyond the aesthetic definitions sketched by Richard Wagner and other philosophers of European Post-romanticism.

The frontier between the theoretical notion and the practical process of artistic creation characterized by the combination of several artistic forms was defined by the use of the concept Gesamtkunstwerk by German philosopher Karl Friedrich Trahndorff (1782–1863), in his work titled Ästhetik oder Lehre von der Weltanschauung und Kunst (published in 1827). There, Trahndorff stated that «the four arts, (...) the art of the sound of the word, of music, of mimicry [theatre] and dance, reunite the possibility of coalescence to become one single [artistic] production».

Later, in his essay Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (The Artwork of the Future), published in 1849, Richard Wagner took the concept of «total work of art» to a different level, presenting Opera as the greatest example of union of all the arts, relating music, drama, writing and painting as a new means to dissolve frontiers between artistic genres, which is consummated, simultaneously, with the affirmation of collaborative art.

The aim of this project is to analyze and observe the way artists have worked models of synthesis and coalescence globally, not as a concept rooted in the context of European Romanticism but as a praxis of artistic creation common to all times and places. Thus, we seek to study the «totalizing» nature of the work of art in a double meaning: 1; The coalescence of the arts in the process of creation of a singular work of art; 2; And the process of artistic reformulation, where a work of art is created from another work of art.

indicators of scientific production

phase 1 (october 2013 – march 2014)

Phase 1 of project deals with the organization of a conference that seeks to gather researchers and artists in order for them to present their recent and theme-related research and creative works. Our goal is to build a working team that will continue the project.

phase 2 (march 2014 – october 2015)

Phase 2 will consist in the preparation of an edited volume in English of a selection of presented papers as well as a selection of essays from other invited researchers. This edited volume may be published by CIEBA/FBAUL in the Global Art Monograph Series, which already includes two volumes on the construction of Chinese artistic identity from the contacts with other cultures. Alternatively, if the project research team finds it adequate, the edited volume may be submitted for publication by an internationally renowned publishing house.

Each member of the research team will produce an essay that is theme-related to submit to highly relevant academic journals.


Artistic Studies Research Centre (CIEBA)

Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon (FBAUL)

project co-ordination

Rui Oliveira Lopes, PhD (CIEBA/FBAUL)

Fernando António Baptista Pereira, PhD (CIEBA/FBAUL)

Maria João Ortigão (CIEBA/FBAUL)

Fernando Rosa Dias (CIEBA/FBAUL)

conference assistant

Pedro Reisinho (CIEBA/FBAUL)


International Conference

project co-funded by

Largo da Academia Nacional de Belas-Artes

1249 – 058, Lisboa – PORTUGAL

( (+351) 21 325 252 113



academic and artistic activities in the context of the programme art in a global perspective

research areas

the programme is organized in seven research areas and three areas for artistic production


art in a global perspective is an initiative of the artistic studies research centre, faculty of fine arts, university of lisbon