Mårten Snickare

Mårten Snickare


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Works at Department of Culture and Aesthetics
Telephone 08-16 18 16
Visiting address Frescativägen 22B-26
Room B 235
Postal address Institutionen för kultur och estetik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am professor of art history and coordinator of research and postgraduate studies. I have been teaching and doing research at Stockholm University since 2006. Before that, I worked as a curator of old master drawings at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, an experience that led to a lasting interest in museums, exhibitions, objects and materiality. The baroque has always been at the centre of my research and teaching, understood as a historical epoch but also as an undercurrent throughout art history. In 2014, I took part in the exhibition Barockt at Kulturhuset, Stockholm, conceived as a dialogue between 17th-century art from Nationalmuseum and contemporary Swedish and international art. Currently, I work on Swedish colonial history as it has been visualized and materialized in art, collecting and museums.

As a teacher, I have developed the ”International Master’s Programme in Art History”, running since 2017. I teach courses on performativity and on postcolonial theory to Swedish and international master students. 


My research is centred on the baroque, as a style, a historical epoch, and a transhistorical category. In a research project on baroque performativity, I explored the ways in which people in 17th-century Europe negotiated their identities and worldviews in interplay with art and architecture. The results have been published in Performativity and Performance in Baroque Rome, Ashgate 2012, and in a number of articles. I have also written about the topicality of baroque in our time, the ways in which baroque has come to form an increasingly important reference in art, critique and popular culture of the last decades.

Currently, I explore the visual and material traces of Sweden’s colonial history from the 17th century until today. In particular, I study objects that were acquired by Swedish colonizers and incorporated in museums and other collections. What happens when objects become colonized? How can we deal with the fact that Swedish museum collections to a high degree are built on colonialism? I am about to finish a monograph on colonial objects, their histories, presences, and possible futures.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Mårten Snickare. Architectures of Festival in Early Modern Europe, 11-25
  • Book (ed) Performativitet
    2017. Malin Hedlin Hayden, Mårten Snickare.

    Vad betyder performativitet? Och vad innebär det att tala om något som performativt? Den här läroboken vill klargöra och kritiskt belysa ett viktigt men ibland svårfångat begrepp.

    Bokens bidrag tar upp konkreta tolkningssituationer och visar på direkta tillämpningar av begreppet. Genom att lyfta fram konstverk och andra bilder från olika historiska perioder och sammanhang visar vi hur performativitet är ett mångsidigt och användbart begrepp vid bildtolkning. Syftet är att förmedla den kritiska potential ett begrepp har när det aktiveras i relation till olika studieobjekt.

    Boken riktar sig i första hand till studenter i konstvetenskap och andra ämnen där frågor om visualitet och visuella praktiker är centrala. Utgångspunkten är att boken inte bara ska ge en teoretisk förståelse av begreppet utan framförallt peka ut vägar och möjligheter till praktisk tillämpning.

  • 2015. Mårten Snickare. Hedvig Eleonora, 75-85
  • 2014. Mårten Snickare. Barockt, 10-21
  • 2014. Mårten Snickare. RIG 97 (2), 65-77

    Discipline, Desire, and Knowledge. The Colonial fight over Goavddis

    This article deals with goavddis (ceremonial Sami drums) as objects at the centre of colonial struggle between Swedish officials and the Sami in the decades around 1700. For the Sami, goavddis were a matter of cultural and religious identity, and of the relation between the profane and the sacred; they were aesthetic objects whose meaning and power was actualized in ritual and musical performances. For the colonizers, the goavddis were caught up in ambivalent acts of discipline and desire. As instruments for heathen practice they were confiscated by Swedish officials and clergy in a systematic, often brutal, effort to discipline the Sami population and conform it to the Orthodox Lutheran State church. At the very same time, however, they became desirable collectibles among the Swedish and European elites. The need to destroy and the desire to possess – so this article claims – were two sides of the same coin. It was about taking control of the goavddis, subordinating them to the gaze of the colonizer, and ranging them under a colonial system of knowledge.

  • 2012. Mårten Snickare, Peter Gillgren.
  • 2012. Mårten Snickare. Performativity and Performance in Baroque Rome, 65-83

    Taking the Piazza San Pietro as a point of departure, this article explores the possible relationship between performativity and Baroque architecture. Can the concept of performativity serve as a useful tool for the interpretation of Baroque space? Can it contribute to our understanding of the architectural discourse in the seventeenth century? A hypothesis is that the interpretative strategies enabled by the concept of performativity bear some affinity to the ways in which architecture was experienced, conceived of, and theorized in the seventeenth century.

  • 2012. Mårten Snickare. Show time, 60-69
  • 2012. Mårten Snickare. Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 81 (1), 31-49

    The affinity between contemporary aesthetics and the historical baroque has been pointed out by a number of scholars and theorists during the last few decades; some theorists have even proposed "neo-baroque" as a more apposite and productive catchall term than "postmodernism" when it comes to defining and naming contemporary aesthetics. In this article I claim that the concept of "neo-baroque", as theorized by e.g. Omar Calabrese and Gilles Deleuze, not only is of relevance for the contemporary aesthetical discourse, but that it also might shed new light on baroque art in general, and the art of Bernini in particular. I further suggest a direction for a historical understanding of the affinity between baroque and contemporary aesthetics.

  • 2012. Mårten Snickare. Les funérailles princières en Europe XVIe-XVIIIe siècle, 335-353
  • 2011. Mårten Snickare. Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 80 (2), 124-135

    In a showcase at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm a tomahawk is displayed, made in eastern North America and dated back to the seventeenth century. Besides being a precious and unusually well-preserved example from its time, of the material culture of Native Americans, it is also incorporated in a narrative on cultural encounters and transactions, and on Sweden's colonial past. Already in the 1680's the tomahawk was on display in the Royal armory in Stockholm. It thus suggests that the young nation shaped its self-image not only in relation to other European nations, but also to the world outside of Europe. Taking possession of the world, materially as well as mentally, was an important part of the construction of a national identity. In this article I approach the tomahawk from two interrelated angles. An outline of the specific historical circumstances in which meaning and value was attached to the tomahawk will be followed by a discussion of the rhetoric of display, and of the concrete display situations in which the tomahawk has been involved, from the seventeenth-century until today.

  • 2011. Mårten Snickare. Sveriges historia: 1600-1721, 77-83

    I texten visas hur konst och arkitektur i stormaktstidens Sverige producerades och brukades i ett nära samspel med politiska skeden och en hierarisk samhällsstruktur. I synnerhet framhålls hovmålaren David Klöcker Ehrenstrahls verksamhet, Nicodemus Tessin d.y:s arbete med Stockholms slott och det stora planschverket Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna, tillkommet på initiativ av Erik Dahlbergh.

Show all publications by Mårten Snickare at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 25, 2019

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