Art and architectural history and theory of the early modern period, in particular the 18th century; rhetoric and the arts; the anthropology of art.
Caroline van Eck studied Art History at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, and Classics and Philosophy at Leiden University. In 1994 she obtained her PhD in Aesthetics (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam. She has taught at the Universities of Amsterdam, Groningen and Leiden, where she was appointed Professor of Art and Architectural History in 2006. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Warburg Institute and the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art at Yale University, and a Visiting Professor in Ghent, Yale and York. In September 2016 she took up her appointment as Professor of Art History at Cambridge, and in 2017 she will give the Slade Lectures in Oxford.
Her main research interests are art and architectural history and theory of the early modern period; the relations between rhetoric, in particular the sublime, and the arts; the anthropological and psychological aspects of the impact art works exercise on those involved with them; and processes of stylistic and cultural transfer considered from the perspective of the agency of artefacts.
Recent publications include Classical Rhetoric and the Arts in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Art, Agency and Living Presence. From the Animated Image to the Excessive Object (Munich and Leiden: Walter De Gruyter/Leiden University Press, 2015); 'Art Works that Refuse to Behave: Agency, Excess and Material Presence in Canova and Manet', New Literary History, 46 (2015), pp. 409-34; 'The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris: Egypt, Rome, and the dynamics of cultural transformation', in: K. von Stackelberg and E. Macaulay-Lewis (eds.), Housing the Romans (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); and the Wiley/Blackwell Companion to Eighteenth-Century Architecture (Boston/Oxford: Wiley, 2016).
In 2014 she received the Prix Descartes-Huygens, awarded by the Académie des Sciences, the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres in France and the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences; in 2015 she was made a Chevalier of the Ordre National du Mérite, and in the same year she received the Grand Prix du Rayonnement de la Littérature et Culture Françaises, awarded by the Académie Française. In 2016 she received a honorary doctorate from the University of Neuchâtel.