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PaintOdor SIGNED

“Intoxicated by turpentine”: An Olfactory History of Painting (1750-1939)

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "PaintOdor" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: 86 RUE PASTEUR
city: LYON
postcode: 69365

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country France [FR]
 Total cost 196˙707 €
 EC max contribution 196˙707 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-08-01   to  2021-07-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITE LUMIERE LYON 2 FR (LYON) coordinator 196˙707.00


 Project objective

“Intoxicated by turpentine.” When Marcel Duchamp so described the painters of his time, the avant-garde artist was not only criticizing a traditional way of thinking about the materiality of art, he was also modernizing a commonplace of medical discourse as well as a recurring and significant motif in the French commentary on the arts. Investigating historically the stereotype of “the smell of paint,” this research project seeks to underscore the important role of olfaction in the material history of art and in the historical conceptions of the art of painting in France from the mid-18th century to the first half of 20th. At the crossroads of art history and history of the sciences, this research will describe how medical concerns about the smell of paint significantly influenced the making and the composition of colors as well as the size and organization of the painter’s studio, consequently affecting the social status of the artist and, ultimately, the critical discourse on art, which often used the smell of a painting in metaphors expressing an aesthetical judgment. Thus, from the creation of a painting to its reception, the frequent references to the smell of paint unveil a hidden aspect of the history of art that will be illuminated through this analysis of a variety of historical sources, including, in particular, medical works, technical treatises on painting, industrial archives, art criticism, satirical drawings, etc. Finally, this historical research on the smell of a painting will be applied to the creation of a pedagogical tool aimed at the museum-going public. It will present the historical evolution of the painter’s studio through the smells of the painter’s materials. This sensory experience of the materiality of painting aims to embody art history, providing museum visitors with an alternative to the digital approach to works of art.

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The information about "PAINTODOR" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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