My research aims to understand the image of the dragon in art; from ancient Egyptian, and Greco-Roman art, to Italian Renaissance art, and to Modern and contemporary fantastic art (imaginary realism). I am particularly interested in the motif of "the woman and the dragon" throughout time.
פסל רומי, ניכוס המזרח: הליאונטספלין מוילה אלבני
מרס 11, 2021
ההרצאה תינתן במפגש השלישי של חממת חיפה לחקר דתות.
FANTASTIC ART MASTER
April 12, 2025
The digital project “Fantastic Art Master” was conceived to be able to accumulate and analyze the enormous amount of fantastic artworks and visual data in the internet Arena. In the last two and a half decades a new exiting on-line culture has started to form, that is the Fantastic-Art and Science Fiction culture (FASF). This culture is mostly studies as related to literature of those genres and also in relation to on- and off-line gaming scene, such as Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), miniature warcraft games, computer gams and on-line internet virtual worlds games. Another aspect of this phenomena are festive gatherings, such as Comicon, and on-line websites of fens, such as Fandom. Because of the global exponential growth of this fan-culture, it is more than peculiar that the fandom’s artistic genre and scene did not so far receive proper attention from the art history discipline. Moreover, the Fantastic art visual artistic genre was labeled with many stereotypes by art historians and curators, and has suffered from exclusion from both academic investigations and the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries and Museums) institutions, as it is claimed to be infantile, popular art, and titillated. Therefore, the incredible amount of knowledge regarding a global culture that has been developing in an on-line global arena was overlooked by the traditional fine-art discipline, and an understanding of the depth and fascinating artistic phenomena, actually ruling the artistic discourse on-line today, is essential for the understanding of today’s on-line global cultural arena. This project is a first step in analyzing this artistic genre wile aiming to explain its dimensions, alongside exploring for a method in which such untouched land can be approached.
The first challenge that was confronted using the funds of this grant was the enormous amount of fantastic artworks on-line, for example, just the word “dragon” has 4.5 Million results on the fandom website deviantart, With the aid of Mutlaq Hijazi, Obaida Jabareen, and Einat Kovalyo, the website “Fantastic Art Master” for which over 52,000 images were collected to the google cloud and uploaded, alongside crowd sourcing tagging scheme was formed. This scheme was delicately conceived as an ontology, while juxtaposing two semiotic languages: the one is the art history dictionary - linked with the Getty’s Art & Architecture Thesaurus Online database, the other is the semiotic fantastic dictionary, inspired by the 5th edition of D&D rules manual – while the absent of an on-line ontology for this cultural language was detected. This tagging ontology also arose the interest of high-tech company tasq.ai, which decided to adopt a portion of the ontology into their tagging system and use their crowd sourcing resources to develop this project toward its next face of machine learning visual recognition.
FANTASTIC ART MASTER - PROJECT PRESENTATION
October 13, 2021
The project “Fantastic Art Master” is a study of “Fantastic Art”, an extremely salient artistic genre on the internet and by far the most popular among the younger crowd. Although Fantastic Art is in high demand on the web and in the gaming, literature, and tattooing industries, it suffers from a lack attention from art historians. It is neither studied in any art history department nor represented in GLAM (Galleries, Libraries and Museums) institutions. This is in stark contrast to literature, film, and new media academic departments where it is fully explored. That is what makes studying it digitally both fascinating and challenging.
DRAGONS IN ART
I am an art historian that specializes in Italian Renaissance art, ancient Greco-Roma and Egyptian art, alongside the uprising scholarly interest in Modern and Contemporary visual Fantastic art.
I have studied the image of the dragon for the last 13 years, and my dissertation focused in ancient and early modern images of women with dragons.
My research aims to understand the image and transformation of the dragon in art; from ancient Egyptian, and Greco-Roman art, to Italian Renaissance art, and to Modern and contemporary fantastic art (imaginary realism). I am particularly interested in the motif of "the woman and the dragon" throughout time.
CFP: RECEPTION OF THE FANTASTIC IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY VISUAL ART
Special issue: for Vol. 4:
Imagining the Impossible:
International Journal for the Fantastic in Contemporary Media
The journal Imagining the Impossible is an international, peer-reviewed journal that is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the fantastic in today’s entertainment media. The aim is to offer new and cutting-edge theories in response to the field of the fantastic. The fantastic is widely understood as stories and genres that break with natural laws. We use the fantastic as a supergenre and an umbrella term for all genres that use fantastic elements - science fiction, horror, fantasy, supernatural and more. The focus is on fantastic fiction in entertainment media, including film, television, games, comic books, internet and social media, and animated films. Media forms such as haunted houses, theme parks, and online forums also fall within this scope. The journal aims to offer a forum for multiple theoretical approaches to the fantastic that respond to their diverse media forms.
The special issue “Reception of the Fantastic in Modern and Contemporary Visual Art” focuses on approaches to the fantastic in the visual arts. Visual art is presented in many mediums, such as paintings (physical and digital), sculptures, games (on- and off-line), television and cinema, memes and more will be considered here as visual art. Fantasy is hard to define, particularly in a historical perspective, thus this special issue aims to contribute with new analyses and theoretical approaches to the fantastic in visual art. We are looking for studies that are address aspects of visualization, and are especially looking for aspects of reception; the transformation of the fantastic in visual art as well as its reception by audiences/users.
This special issue will discuss themes such as: mythological elements, fantastic creatures, human figures with hybrid elements or fantastic attributes, fantastic geographies, and architecture, as well as other elements manifested in modern and contemporary art testifying on the endurance of these visual concepts.
Manifestations of the fantastic appeared in diverse eras and cultures, for example, ancient fantasy is usually classified today as mythology and as connotated to religious and apocrypha. However, one must wonder about content and meaning of this classification. Moreover, in the contemporary world, fantasy is classified as a literary genre, in which a rich academic debate exists, and has also been integrated into new-media studies. It is therefore necessary to develop research in the meaning of the fantastic in visual art in a contemporary era, which aims to understand changes of the fantastic over time and its reception. The identification of fantastic images that have survived or vanished has the potential to further new understandings of the social aspects of contemporary cultures.
Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to:
The cyclical nature of myths in art
Images of fantastic creatures
Fantastic geography in art
Fantasy as a distorted mirror
Gender issues in fantastic images
Fantastic images in religious context
We kindly invite you to contribute to this special issue. If you would like to do so, please send an abstract of about 250 words to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org by 1.2.2022. Deadline for first draft articles will be 1.8.2022.
Dr. Sharon Khalifa-Gueta Guest editor
Prof. Rikke Schubart Editor
Februar 1, 2022
Accomplishments and Milestones
February - December 2021
Dataset Collection Grant for the project Fantastic Art Master. Together with Dr. Tomer Sagi, Prof. Tsvi Kuflik, and Dr. Moshe Lavee, from the department of computer science.
POST-DOCTORAL SPINOZA FELLOW
October 2020 - October 2021
The prestige Spinoza Scholarship of The School of History – The Department of Art History, University of Haifa.
Advisor: Prof. Adi Erlich.
“Leonardo’s Dragons – The “Rider Fighting a Dragon” Sketch as an Allegory of Leonardo’s Concept of Knowledge,” Explorations in Renaissance Culture, 44.1 (Spring., 2018) 104-139.
“The Rising of the Soul in the Fresco from the Sleeping Chambers in a Villa from Boscotrecase of Pompeii,” Historia, 41 (July., 2018) 115-135. (in Hebrew).
“The Evolution of the Western Dragon,” Athens Journal of Mediterranean Studies, 4.4 (October 2018) 265-290.
“Medusa Must Die! The Virgin and the Defiled in Greco-Roman Medusa and Andromeda Myths.” Athens Journal of Mediterranean Studies (forthcoming).
Blog - Women with Dragons: Sacred and Dangerous. In Imagining the Impossible (Non-academic): https://www.imaginingtheimpossible.com/post/women-with-dragons-sacred-and-dangerous
February - December 2024
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* project collaboration with the high-tech company tasq.ai.
* Co-edit in Imagining the Impossible: International Journal for the Fantastic in Contemporary Media, special volume “Reception of the Fantastic in Modern and Contemporary Visual Art”.
Feel free to contact me for more information regarding my research and career experiences.