Schol’Art : The early modern theories of arts and letters in the light of scholasticism (France-Italie, 1500-1700)


The objective of this collective project, situated at the crossroad between three disciplines (History of Arts – French Literature – Neo-Latin Studies), is to draw all the consequences, in the field of the history of arts and letters, of an evidence made already several decades ago by the historians of philosophy : the permanence, and even the omnipresence of scholasticism (traditionally associated with medieval culture) as the basis of the philosophical and theological curriculum in all European universities in the Early Modern times (a phenomenon called “second scholasticism”). This pervasive intellectual background probably had an influence on the other fields of knowledge and on the arts and letters; but those interactions remain largely unexplored.


The project focuses on a corpus which is well known by our research team: the theoretical texts about arts and letters produced in the 16th and 17th centuries, in France and Italy. Our goal is to shed a new light on those treatises, by studying the ways in which the scholastic culture of their authors might have influenced their redaction, regarding both their substance (questions and debates which resonate with contemporary scholastic writings) and their form (use of concepts, of terms with a scholastic connotation or whose definition gets richer when their scholastic sense is taken into account). See the Research Hypotheses

The project began on the 1st October 2017 and will last for five years. It is directed by a group of three principal investigators assisted by three doctoral students; a post-doctoral researcher will be engaged later on. See the persons. Many scientific activities are planned, including a launching seminar, two international congresses, a summer school and several invitations of international experts. See the activities. The foreseen outputs consist in three doctoral theses, several articles, two collective books, see the publications as well as an interactive online database in free access See the database. The activities will be integrated in the program of the research center GEMCA, whose research orientations are in perfect line with the Schol’Art project.

The acronym

The acronym « Schol’Art » refers to three fields at whose intersection our project is situated: scholastic philosophy, arts and letters, and the academic world (“scholars”).

The logo


Our logo, conceived by Alexis Bruslé, combines symbolic motifs referring to philosophy (the owl) and to the belles-lettres (laurel crown), while taking inspiration from hand-written and typographical practices from the medieval and early modern times (dropped/historiated initial).

The logo also remotely resonates with the frontispiece of the great Aristotle commentary published by the Coimbran Jesuits (Collegium Conimbricense s.j., Commentaria in octo libros Physicorum Aristotelis, first part, Cologne edition, 1602)