CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


Mirrors as the origin of contemporary art

Session 4 Appreciation and Utility

Arts Faculty of Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado in São Paulo


 The production of flat glass mirrors was improved between the fifteenth and the eighteenth century in Venice and in France, allowing the production of large mirrors. In France, the modifications in the castle of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV expanded the use of mirrors in interior architecture, establishing a new standard. These mirrors were displayed in frames as paintings, and they took the places formerly occupied by historical paintings. The reflected images in these mirrors were described as pictures, and thus they can be analyzed according to the academic standards of history painting. The beholders reflected in mirrors took part of historical pictures, thus establishing an interactive relationship with the flat virtual images which constitutes the first case of contemporary art.


Felipe Soeiro Chaimovich, b. 1968, Santiago, Chile, has a Ph.D. in Philosophy (University of São Paulo, Brazil), and lives in São Paulo. He is professor of art history and art criticism at the Arts Faculty of Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado in São Paulo, and he is the curator of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo since 2007. He is the author of “Objects or reflexion: Brazilian cultural situation”, in Rand et al. (eds.), On cultural influence: collected papers from Apexart International Conferences 1999-2006 (Nova York: Apexart, 2006), “Greenberg after Oiticica: Teaching Art Criticism Today”, in Elkins et al. (eds.), The state of art criticism (New York: Routledge, 2008), “Mirrors of Society: Versailles and the Use of Flat Reflected Images” (Visual Resources, vol. 24, #4, Dec. 2008), “Die brasilianischen Instituitionen der Kunst und das Bild der Natur als etwas, das es zu bewahren gilt”, in Von Barloewen at al. (orgs.), Nachhaltige Entwicklung in einer pluralen Moderne. Latinamerikanische Perspecktiven (Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2013), and “Brazil: Art after 1980”, in Oxford Art Online/Grove Dictionaries of Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). He is member of the Brazilian Committee of Art History (CBHA), ICOM, CIMAM, and AICA.