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The Spirits as Artists: Spiritualism and the Visual Arts

  • 2015-05-08
  • 2015-05-09
  • Biella, Italy
An ad hoc seminar organized by CESNUR (Center for Studies of New Religions), Circolo Sociale di Biella, Associazione L’Uomo e l’Arte, and ESSWE (European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism)

Biella, Italy, May 8-9, 2015

In the 1880s, Senator Federico Rosazza (1813-­1899), an Italian politician connected with Masonic and spiritualist circles, commissioned the painter and architect Giuseppe Maffei (1821-­1901), to convert a pre-­existing village into a new town with his name, Rosazza. The town, decorated with alchemical, Masonic and Theosophical symbols, raised eyebrows among the Catholic hierarchy, and is now a curiosity often featured in Italian TV shows about esotericism.

Maffei, also a spiritualist, received in fact messages on how to build Rosazza from the spirits, including, or so he claimed, St Augustine. Some of Maffei's paintings and documents, recently rediscovered, will be exhibited in Biella in connection with a seminar exploring how, in the 19th century and beyond, spirits were particularly active in the artistic world, guiding painters as well as sculptors and architects.

Papers will be accepted about spiritualist painters, sculptors, architects (but not authors of literary works or films), with a preference for those claiming that the spirits actually guided them while they produced their artistic works. Projects for papers and sessions, accompanied by a short CV, should be sent to Massimo Introvigne and Marco Pasi before the close of business of February 16, 2015. Papers will be accepted in English only. Participants will be offered a guided tour of Rosazza. Unfortunately, no funding will be available to cover travel and accommodation expenses. Biella is easily reachable by train from Turin or Milan.

Date(s): May 08, 2015 -to- May 09, 2015
Location: Biella, Italy

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