Contemporary Art Issues


— To identify philosophical questions raised by contemporary artistic creation and their articulation with the legacy of the aesthetic and philosophical tradition.
— To develop the capacity of relating the 'art world' with theoretical and extra-artistic problems.
— To develop oral and written articulation of the aesthetic experience of works of art and their relation with philosophical questions.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria João Mayer Branco


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language





ARISTOTE, L’homme de génie et la mélancholie. Problème XXX, 1 (traduction, présentation et notes de J. Pigeaud), Éditions Payot et Rivages, Paris, 2006
BAUDELAIRE, Charles, Oeuvres complètes, Robert Laffont, Paris, 1980
BENJAMIN, Walter, A modernidade, Assírio e Alvim, Lisboa, 2006
BENJAMIN, Walter, A origem do drama trágico alemão, Assírio e Alvim, Lisboa, 2004
FREUD, Sigmund, « Deuil et mélancholie » in : Métapsychologie, Gallimard, Paris, 2016, pp. 145-171
FREUD, Sigmund, O mal-estar na civilização, Relógio d’água editores, Lisboa, 2008
KLIBANSKY, R./ PANOFSKY, E./ SAXL, F., Saturne et la mélancholie. Études historiques et philosophiques: nature, religion, médecine et art, Gallimard, Paris, 1989
NIETZSCHE, Friedrich, A gaia ciência, vol. II Círculo de Leitores, Lisboa, 1996
NIETZSCHE, Friedrich, Humano, demasiado humano I, vol. II, Círculo de Leitores, Lisboa, 1996

Teaching method

Given the dimension of the class (c. 30 students) and given the exceptional circumstances that determine online work, the sessions will be rather expositive  and will include textual analysis.

Evaluation method

Attendance and Participation(15%), Written essay (max. 12 pages)(85%)

Subject matter

The seminar will explore the notion and the experience of melancholy and its relation with art in Western culture that has inspired some recent filmography. By articulating the readings of texts by Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud and Baudelaire with historical, aesthetic and medical perspectives on melancholy, the seminar seeks to clarify in what measure melancholy constitutes a problem that resists a specific knowledge, determining Western culture and persisting in what we call the 'contemporary', including contemporary art.