From antiquity to the present day, the Greek term kairós, which expresses the complex idea of ‘grasping the right moment’, travelled through art and literature. This project explores the artistic reception of this notion in the visual arts by bringing insights from Classical Reception Studies and Iconology to bear on how we can understand processes of visual transformation through time. As such, it is the very first extensive, inter-disciplinary research into kairós afterlife in the history of ideas of the Middle Ages and Early Modernity in Europe, drawing extensively upon literary, archaeological, and iconographical sources. As the figure of kairós has been interpreted variously throughout history, from antiquity to the modern era, this research project not only sheds light on how text and image work together to transform the classical heritage but also problematizes the wide-spread idea that iconographies are essentially stable and static. Stephanie Heremans and Laura Tack are affiliated researchers contributing to this project, which is directed by Barbara Baert and Han Lamers (University of Oslo).

To read “Kairos: The Right Moment or Occasion” by Barbara Baert on the website of the Institute for Advanced Study, click here.