CfP – Embedded: The Military as a Patron of the Arts

Workshop in Vienna, June 14-15: Call for papers

Organiser: Dr Mischa Gabowitsch, Research Center for the History of Transformations (RECET), University of Vienna

This workshop is organised jointly with the Museum of Military History – Military History Institute and will take place at the Museum's premises.

All over the world, militaries have long acted as patrons of the arts. Individual generals have struck up friendships with painters, sculptors, and architects. Sketch artists and photographers have accompanied soldiers as embedded visual artists. Armies have created artistic programs and institutions such as the Grekov Studio in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia, the Wehrmacht’s Squadron of Visual Artists, or the U.S. Army Combat Artists Program. Military patronage of the arts has resulted in a wide array of artistic products, ranging from drawings and paintings via small war memorials and soldiers‘ cemeteries to battlefield panoramas, equestrian statues, and military cathedrals.

This workshop aims to explore the structure and effects of military patronage of the arts across all times and places. It seeks to go beyond the time-honored theme of “the artist in uniform” to ask how relationships between militaries and artists are formed and how they influence artistic styles, themes, and tastes. What kind of art do militaries like? What modes of valuation are applied to military art? What are its audiences? And how is art commissioned by militaries viewed by the art world at large and the general public? These are some of the questions this workshop seeks to address, combining perspectives from history, sociology, and the history of art and resulting in an edited volume.

The workshop will take place in Vienna, Austria, on June 14-15, 2024. The working language is English. Funding is available to cover travel and accommodation for up to 10 participants.


In order to participate, please submit an abstract of up to 400 words, along with a CV and list of publications, to mischa.gabowitsch(at)

Abstract submission deadline: April 8, 2024.

Participants will be notified by April 15.

Workshop dates: June 14-15.

Deadline for submitting revised papers for the volume: November 15.

This event will take place in the framework of Mischa Gabowitsch’s research project “Soviet war memorials and global networks” funded by FWF (Austrian Science Fund) grant M-3377.