Philipp Ekardt’s project investigates the emergence and circulation of two highly mobile forms around 1800: the so called Attitudes of Lady Emma Hamilton – performances in which Hamilton adopted poses that reminded her contemporaries of stances and gestures familiar from figures on ancient Greek vases; and neoclassical dress – a type of garment which, while appearing to revive the dress-styles of antiquity, also incorporated non-European formal and material elements, primarily derived from Indian cotton weaves. By studying a range of contemporary sources, practices and artworks (e.g. Bertin, Böttiger, Goethe, Kauffmann, Lemoine, Vigée-LeBrun, Winckelmann) and attending to the role of neoclassicism as a style which, while aiming to re-ground European culture in antiquity, relied on and realized a repertoire of forms streamlined for proto-global circulation, the project also proposes a methodology for the study of forms, inquiring into their production, mediation and wider, at times surprising cultural functions (with the Attitudes, for instance, allowing Emma Hamilton, who was born in poverty and had no education, the agency to formalize her practice as a female artist’s model beyond the confines of the studio, thus buttressing her trans-class trajectory).

Ekardt has recently presented lectures on this subject at the Warburg-Haus in Hamburg and at Konstanz; a forthcoming article analyzes the interplay of movement flows, arrest and formalization in the Attitudes, while also establishing the gestural repertoire Hamilton drew on as the recontextualized compositional practice of a painter’s model.