The Centre as Margin: Eccentric Perspectives on Art

Joana Antunes, Maria de Lurdes Craveiro, Carla Alexandra Gonçalves (Eds.)

by Mariano Casas Hernández (University of Salamanca/CUNALIX/IEMYR, Spain), Octavio Páez Granados (University of Geneva, Switzerland), Jessica Schouela (University of York, UK), Carla Alexandra Gonçalves (Group of Multidisciplinary Studies in Art, CEAACP/ Open University, Portugal), Ricardo Seiça Salgado (Centre for Research in Anthropology, University of Minho (CRIA-UMinho), Portugal), Beatriz Loureiro (University of Coimbra, Portugal), Lúcia Rosas (Transdisciplinary Culture, Space and Memory Research Centre (CITCEM), Faculty of Arts of Oporto University, Portugal), Ana Cristina Sousa (Transdisciplinary Culture, Space and Memory Research Centre (CITCEM), Faculty of Arts of Oporto University, Portugal), Maria José Goulão (Group of Multidisciplinary Studies in Art, CEAACP/Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, Portugal), Maria de Lurdes Craveiro (Group of Multidisciplinary Studies in Art, CEAACP/Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, Portugal), Paola Pacifici (Hermann Geiger Cultural Fundation, Italy), Barbara Margarethe Eggert (Danube University Krems, Austria), Jacqueline Witkowski (University of British Columbia, Canada), Nuno Nogueira (Faculty of Architecture of Lisbon/CIAUD, Portugal), Inês Simões (Faculty of Architecture of Lisbon/CIAUD, Portugal), Marta Simões (Group of Multidisciplinary Studies in Art, CEAACP/University of Coimbra, Portugal), Berrin Terim (Clemson Faculty/ViginiaTech Washington Alexandria Architecture Center, USA), Ana Isabel Nistal Freijo (Centre for Classic and Human Studies (CECH)/University of Coimbra, Portugal)

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This fascinating book immerses us into the fertile ground of the ‘margin’ and its fluid and porous relation to the ‘centre’ across history. It cogently explores the seductive and transgressive nature of margins in art, literature, music, philosophy and other disciplines. In highlighting the reciprocal yet paradoxical relationship between norm and deviant, the manuscript reassesses our understanding of periphery. What lies in the margin? How does the centralisation of margins transform aesthetic, cultural and geographic boundaries? Do genius, imagination, innovation and originality impel marginality? The volume’s persuasive analyses of images, musical compositions, ornamental objects and architectural spaces, as well as its consideration of the monstrous and the anomalous, invite reflection and suggest possibilities for new investigations. The edited collection of 17 essays is a provocative and timely study into the historical relevance, the defiance, the power and the sheer wonder of the margin and its limitless potential.

Cristina S. Martinez
International Summer Institute for the Cultural Study of Law, University of Osnabrück, Germany

The Centre as Margin. Eccentric Perspectives on Art is a multi-authored volume of collected essays that answer the challenge of thinking Art History, and the Arts in a broader sense, from a liminal point of view. Its main goal is thus to discuss the margin from the centre - drawing on its concomitance within study themes and subjects, ontological and epistemological positions, or research methodologies themselves. Marginality, eccentricity, liminality, and superfluity are all part of a dynamic relationship between centre and margin(s) that will be approached and discussed, from the point of view of disciplines as different and as close as art history, philosophy, literature and design, from medieval to contemporary art.
Resulting from recent research developed from the privileged viewpoint offered by the margin, this volume brings together the contributions of young researchers along with the work of career scholars. Likewise, it does not obey a traditional or a rigid diachronic structure, being rather organized in three major parts that organically articulate the different essays. Within each of these parts in which the book is divided, papers are sometimes organized according to their timeframes, providing the reader with an encompassing (though not encyclopedic) overview of the common ground over which the various artistic disciplines build their methodological, theoretical, and thematic centers and margins. The intended eccentricity of this volume – and the original essays herein presented – should provide researchers, scholars, students, artists, curators, and the general reader interested in art with a refreshing approach to its various scientific strands.

Introduction: (Re)framing Art History: art beyond boundaries
Joana Antunes (University of Coimbra, Portugal), Maria de Lurdes Craveiro (University of Coimbra, Portugal) and Carla Alexandra Gonçalves (Open University, Portugal)

The Margin at the Centre, or the Centre as Margin

1. A Liminal Vision Between Dream and the Afterworld in a "Boschian" Painting on the Margin of Hieronymus Bosch
Maria José Goulão (University of Porto, Portugal)

2. In the margins of Davidsbündlertänze op. 6 by Robert Schumann
Ana Isabel Nistal Freijo (University of Coimbra, Portugal)

3. Amédée Ozenfant and the peripheries of modernism
Jessica Schouela (University of York, UK)

4. Habeas Corpus. Marginal anatomies at the centre.
Carla Alexandra Gonçalves (Open University, Portugal)

5. Creative marginality as a counter-apparatus, from nonsense to avant-garde
Ricardo Seiça Salgado (CRIA-UMinho, University of Minho, Portugal)

Case Studies on Liminality

6. The center and the margin as enhancers of meaning in Celtic literature and art
Beatriz Loureiro (University of Coimbra, Portugal)

7. Schemes and marginal elements in Romanesque sculpture
Lúcia Rosas (University of Porto, Portugal)

8. An iconographic reading of the tomb of D. Afonso at Braga Cathedral (Portugal)
Ana Cristina Sousa (University of Porto, Portugal)

9. Phoenix, Siren and Sphinx [Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and the poetic portrait]
Octavio Páez Granados (University of Genève, Switzerland)

10. Rethinking the diabolical monster in 18th century salmantine choirstalls
Mariano Casas Hernández (University of Salamanca, Spain)

11. Meanings and Strategies for Displaying Human Marvels: inquiring the iconography of the double
Paola Pacifici (Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation, Italy)

12. Clio at the Cloister. Re-stitching Mnemosyne.
Barbara Margarethe Eggert (Danube University Krems, Austria)

13. Resistance, identity, and modernism unhinged: Lygia Pape’s textile experiments
Jacqueline Witkowski (University of British Columbia, Canada)

14. The margins of patterns, garments and the body
Nuno Nogueira and Inês Simões (University of Lisbon, Portugal)

A Place for the Margin

15. Domestic territories in 15th and 16th century painting
Marta Simões (University of Coimbra, Portugal)

16. Reading Filarete From the Margin
Berrin Terim (Clemson University, USA)

17. The narthex in the architecture of the Portuguese Catholic Reformation, between centrality and liminality.
Maria de Lurdes Craveiro (University of Coimbra, Portugal)


Joana Antunes is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, and an integrated researcher of the Multidisciplinary Art Studies Group (GEMA) at the Research Centre in Archeology, Arts and Heritage Sciences of the University of Coimbra (CEAACP). Specialized in Art History, with a particular focus on late medieval and early modern iconology, liminality and marginalia, her PhD thesis was dedicated to “The Limit of the Margin in Portuguese Art (14th to 16th centuries)”. With several papers presented and published in Portuguese and English, her interests meet the multi-epochal, interartistic dialogue within the broad framework of Art History and Visual Studies.

Maria de Lurdes Craveiro is a Professor in the Art History Institute of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Coimbra (FLUC), Portugal. She is also the principal researcher in the “Group in Multidisciplinary Studies in Art” (GEMA), at the Center for Archeology, Arts and Heritage Sciences, Unit I&D-281, of the Foundation of Science and Technology. In collaboration with multiple organizations, she has had a prominent action in the defense, conservation and dissemination of architectural heritage. In this context, and within the scope of Art History, she was part of diverse safeguarding projects and campaigns of several patrimonial structures. With more than fifty scientific papers published in Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Brazil, her work covers the exercise of conceptual revision in Art History, the heritage sciences, as well as the fields of painting, sculpture and architecture from the late Middle Ages to the neoclassical period.

Carla Alexandra Gonçalves has been a full-time Professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Management at the Open University since 1999. She concluded her PhD at the University of Coimbra in February 2006 with the thesis “Sculptors and sculpture in Coimbra, a journey beyond the Renaissance”. Between 1999 and 2006 she was part of the Center for Interdisciplinary Historical Studies of the Open University. She is a researcher in the Center for Studies in Archeology, Arts and Heritage Sciences at the University of Coimbra, I&D unit no. 281, a member of the Group of Multidisciplinary Studies in Art since 2007, and a member of the Portuguese Association of Art Historians. She is the author of several books, articles and other papers within her areas of interest: sculpture from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; Studies on the Body; Visual Anthropology; Psychology of Art; Phenomenology of Perception; Sociology of Art.

Art, medieval art, renaissance art, baroque art, contemporary art, literature, philosophy, architecture, design, music, theatre, performance, iconography, identity, alterity, liminality, margin, border, marginality, rhizome, parergon, marginalia, hybrid, monstrous, body, textile, afterworld, women, Warburg, Derrida, Csordas, Agamben, Deleuze.

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

The Centre as Margin: Eccentric Perspectives on Art





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


46 B&W

Publication date

April 2019