Swiss Society for Art History
7 June 2023
On 3 June, the 143rd annual meeting of the Swiss Society for Art History (Gesellschaft für Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte (GSK)/Société d’Histoire de l’Art en Suisse (SHAS) took place at the Pfalzkeller, in the heart of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site of St Gallen and its legendary monastery and library.
Given the impressive history of this almost 150-year-old Society, a brief overview of its main activities and publications follows, with a particular focus on its digital and applied publications. The research, publications and application of new media are impressive and give a good picture of the rich cultural history of this country.
SHAS/GSK is a private non-profit organisation. Its primary goals are to record, study and publish Swiss architectural heritage. SHAS/GSK was founded in 1880 under the name Société patriotique pour la conservation des monuments historiques/Vaterländischen Gesellschaft für Erhaltung historischer Denkmäler. It adopted its current name in 1934.
In 1925, SHAS/GSK, in cooperation with the cantons, began publishing the national inventory of Swiss art and historical monuments (Monuments d’art et d’histoire de la Suisse (MAH)/Kunstdenkmäler der Schweiz (KdS). The first volume appeared in 1927. Since then, 145 volumes of this collection have been published. They were supplemented between 1982 and 2004 by the Inventaire suisse d’architecture 1850-1920/ Inventar der neueren Schweizer Architektur 1850-1920.
Since 2012, new volumes in the series have also been available digitally.
The SHAS/GSK also publishes Swiss Guides to Monuments (Schweizerischen Kunstführer /Guides de monuments suisses), a series launched in 1935, regional and cantonal guides and editions on specific topics related to the history of art and architecture,
SHAS/GSK also publishes the quarterly magazine Art+Architecture en Suisse/Kunst+Architektur in der Schweiz
Digital activities and applications
Since 2010, SHAS/GSK has increasingly focused on new media and digital applications. Here is an overview of the most important publications.
Swiss Art To Go
The Swiss Art To Go application is designed as a personal companion for Swiss architecture.
EuropeArt To Go
EuropeArt To Go is an app for discovering the three-border region (France, Germany and Switzerland) on the Upper Rhine. The app summarises information on important buildings in this region, from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Péristyle is thematic documentation application, a simplified publication of articles. It is a virtual library and publishing medium which converts Word files into eBooks with a few clicks and allows one to create and print magazines on demand.
KdS-Online contains de 145 volumes of the Monuments d’art et d’histoire de la Suisse /Kunstdenkmäler der Schweiz and outlines the historical development of buildings in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein between late antiquity and the 20th century.
360° Swiss Heritage
360° Swiss Heritage offers 3D virtual reality tours of Swiss castles.
Swiss Art in Sounds
Swiss Art in Sounds accompanies various publications with audio contributions. The content corresponds to specially adapted texts on elements of the respective building. The texts are available in English, French, German and Italian. Swiss Arts in Sounds can be accessed via a free app. The project has also been developed for visually impaired people through audiobooks.
The interdisciplinary Sciences-Arts portal provides a good overview of scientific disciplines in the fields of art, music and theatre in Switzerland. The portal brings together a range of scientific and cultural activities, from events on cultural and scientific policy to specific information on training and professional careers.
The portal is a project of eight organisations affiliated with the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences. These eight organisations are responsible for the platform as a whole. SHAS/GSK is responsible for managing the site and its content.
(Source and further information: Gesellschaft für Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte/ Société d’histoire de l’art en Suisse)
The Pfalzkeller. Photo: SHAS/GSK
The Pfalzkeller inside. Photos: TES