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Caroline van Eck appointed as Slade Professor in Oxford

The Department of History of Art in Oxford has appointed Leiden University professor Caroline van Eck as Slade Professor of Fine Art for the second semester of academic year 2016-2017. As Slade Professor Van Eck will spend a semester in office at Oxford University and deliver eight public lectures and four seminars to students.

Caroline van Eck

Caroline van Eck is a member of the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, her speciality being Art, Rhetoric and Agency. The lectures that Van Eck will give as part of the Slade project are provisionally titled 'The Excessive Object. Eight ways in which art works act like human beings'.

Slade professors

Slade professors usually deliver eight public lectures and four seminars for students in the Department of History of Art in Oxford. Organizing an exhibition together with the Ashmolean Museum is also often part of their tenure. The Slade Professorship of Fine Art has been held by many of the most distinguished historians of art and architecture from around the world, including Ernst Gombrich, Michael Baxandall, Meyer Schapiro and Ernst van de Wetering.

Oxford and the visual arts

Since the nineteenth century, the University of Oxford has played a significant role in the visual arts. Although during this time it was not a subject in its own right, the history of art was promoted in Oxford for its value within the type of general education the University aimed to provide for students. The Slade Lectures, which were founded in pursuance of the will of the art collector Felix Slade in 1869, focused on art historical topics, as they continue to do so today. John Ruskin delivered his first lecture as the Slade Professor of Fine Art in 1870. The Slade Professorship combined with the University’s museums, libraries and college collections helped to foster a wider interest in the history of art.

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